The fleeting months of autumn are full of opportunities for outdoor excursions with your pup. At last, you can go places without worrying about overheating. The changing fall foliage and the cooler weather makes every rain-free day a perfect one for a hike. You get to breathe in the fresh air and fill your senses with fall’s sounds, sights, and smells.
Here’s a quick dooloop PSA: Fall is also the season for hide-n-seek with dog poop under the leaves! Make sure you stay close to your pup when ‘the time’ comes. Who hasn’t wasted way too much time on a treasure hunt for the poop your dog dumped while your back was turned? There is nothing worse than happily kicking through the crunch of leaves…then tromping on something unexpectedly squishy. Digging the outdoors is great. Digging poop of your shoe treads? Not so much.
But – back to happier autumn thoughts! No matter where you live, you'll find an event calendar full of fall activities. Phone or drop a DM to verify it’s okay for your dog to come along. At the dooloop, "Be Prepared" is our unofficial mantra.
Here are a few autumn events you and your dog should try before you flip that calendar to December!
7 autumn adventures to look for right now
You know who loves dogs? Wineries, breweries and outdoor cafes. Doesn’t get better than that! Here in Maine, it’s an embarrassment of riches with an abundant choice of excellent food and micro-breweries. If COVID had a silver lining, it's that it did expand outdoor dining. Many restaurants also have dog-friendly areas. As summer winds down, lots of businesses with outdoor patios are looking to ramp up their sales before winter weather moves in, and many hold special events that cater to pets. Check the events section of your local free weekly paper – usually found at grocery stores – for fall events happening near you. A simple web search for “dog friendly events in (your city or state)" will likely yield a treasure-trove of options.
Find an outdoor concert, a patch of grass, and make it a date. Even a bad concert outside is better than being a bored lump indoors. If your puppy is content to lounge near you for hours, loves people, and it's a laid-back musical experience, you’ve hit pay dirt. If it’s a more intense musical experience that leans on heavy drums or screaming guitars, choose a spot well back from the stage so your doggo’s ear can enjoy the music rather than be startled by throbbing speakers and whirling concert goers. Remember to pack a dog-and-people friendly picnic lunch for a fully relaxing experience. Swooning yet at the thought of this outing? I’m having a moment, to be honest.
Visit the funky food trucks you’ve been meaning to sample. When the winter winds whip up or foot traffic lessens, some food trucks hit the garage for winter. Autumn is the season to check one or more of these rolling gourmet treasure troves off your list each week. Bonus: You’re supporting small business! There are even some gourmet dog treat trucks out there. One caveat: Decadent food truck fare likely contains ingredients – like grilled onions -- that aren’t safe for pets. Be sure to pack some tasty treats your dog can enjoy.
Look up! Go star or moon gazing with a friend. Get away from the city lights, pack some munchies, unroll a blanket, and lay out under the stars on a clear crisp night with another dog-loving friend. The best time to pinpoint stars and constellations is when there is less moonlight. However, if bathing in moonbeams is what you love best about the night, enjoy those full-moon evenings, too. To head off any “oh sh*t, where’d they go!” moments in the dark, invest in a reflective collar or battery-operated light for your dog’s collar, and always keep your pup safely leashed on night excursion. My Bella wears a pink glow collar in the dark and Angie wore green. I call them "disco collars." Night-time walks together are always a slow-moving night-light show. We're always amused and know exactly who is where.
The fall is pet parade time, and it’s all about the accessories. These are a fall favorite for people-loving pups and kids. There are all sorts of pet parades at fall or Halloween festivals, and this is a fun way for your kids to bond with your dog on a bright autumn afternoon. Reserve this type of event for dogs who are truly laid-back and who enjoy kid chatter, costumes, and other dogs. Your children can still enjoy watching the event even if their own crowd-phobic dog is happily snoozing at home. If your dog finds Halloween a bit spooky, we’ve got some tips to help.
Pinpoint parks that have free admission after Labor Day. State and municipal parks need those admission fees to keep maintain their roads, campsites, trails, and other facilities, but holy shit -- it can get really pricey to visit them regularly for summer hikes with your dog. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day, many parks drop or reduce their admission fees. Make a list of the parks you just couldn’t budget for this summer and explore them now during the glorious days of autumn – and winter, too, if snow doesn’t close the trails in your region.
Go apple picking or stroll through a pumpkin patch. You probably won’t get a lot of fruit picking done with a dog in tow, but there’s nothing like the sweet smell and gentle hustle-bustle of an orchard, a pumpkin farm, or dog-friendly cider mill to complete your autumn experience. Enjoy a mug of warm cider and a fresh-made donut at a picnic table (bring a blanket just in case there’s no seating). As with all food-centered fall outings, bring your dog’s favorite treats so they can reward their own taste buds while all the wonderful food smells waft over them. You can give your dog a few bites of apple if you avoid the core and seeds.
Load your pack with adventure essentials and don’t forget your dooloop!
So, make sure you’ve got your dooloop clipped to your dog’s leash and are stocked up on poop bags, dog treats, a water bottle and bowl. If you’ve misplaced your dooloop, consider replacing it while purchasing your holiday stocking stuffers at the same time. Or get a couple as autumn gifts for your friends who haven’t figured out yet that they no longer have to hand-hold their pup's poop. As anyone who has a dooloop knows, having one on each leash or backpack means you are always able to "let shit go" when you’re out and about.
These few crisp, bright autumn months go by far too quickly, so scroll on up to your online search window right now. Use these ideas to find autumn events nearby that you and your dog can enjoy together. Spread peace, not poop, starting this very weekend! We’d love for you to tag us on IG or FB @dooloopdogs and share your fall adventure!