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6 outdoor activities to do with your dog before it’s bitterly cold

Temperatures are fall-ing (pun intended), and winter weather is right around the corner. Soon, we’ll be trading crisp fall days for cold winter days by the fireplace and watching the daylight fade faster. But this isn’t an article about impending winter weather, rather a reminder to savor the season while it lasts.

Hiking, camping, football, and yard work are calling. Even if you and your pup are looking forward to colder weather, there are still a few things you might want to check off your list before the snow begins to fall. Take a look at these fun outdoor activities to do with your dog before winter sets in.

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Go someplace really smelly

And by smelly, we mean a new walking route where the scents will be new and exciting for your dog. Just in case you didn’t know, a dog’s sense of smell is highly developed. They learn about their surroundings from the information they collect by sniffing, just as humans learn about their environment by reading the news. Every time a dog encounters a new scent, he learns about the animal that made it. All of this processing is highly mentally stimulating for your dog, which, as new research shows, also makes him deeply happy.

kid and puppy playing football

Play football with your dog and his team

Who’s your favorite home team? Does your dog like to play ball? Have a little fun during this football season by planning a big game of your own with your pup’s best canine friends and their humans. Plan to play a massive game of dog vs. human football (or keep-away) in the backyard and encourage everyone to come dressed in their favorite team’s colors. Make sure everyone invited plays well together. Have plenty of water bowls and bottles ready on the sideline. And ask team members to bring two treats — one made for humans and the other made for dogs — to share once the last quarter has been played. For fun, award prizes for the MVP on both teams.

Explore the fall colors together

Depending on where you live, Mother Nature puts on quite a show this time of year. Find a dog-friendly area with the best displays and head on out to appreciate the views. Whether you decide to load up the backpacks to explore new trails or opt to take a more leisurely stroll along paved walkways, there are sure to be several options not far from your home base.

Take one last camping trip

If there are still a few campgrounds on your bucket list, now is the time to reserve your spot. Lower temperatures make for cozier bonfires, great sleeping weather, and more comfortable weather for exploring. Before you head out, make sure the campground allows dogs and, if they do, familiarize yourself with their pet policies. Most require dogs to be kept on leashes and not left in the campground unattended for long periods.

two dogs in a pile of leaves

Do some yard work together

Those who live in a place where leaves fall this time of year can turn those dull raking duties into playtime with the pup. Rake up a big pile and play chase through the middle, or throw one of his favorite toys into the center and watch him dive in to retrieve it.

For gardeners, now is a great time to create a special place in the yard that your dog can call his own next spring. Plan a space to plant dog-friendly herbs and vegetables you can add to his diet as well as a sand-covered spot where he can dig to his heart’s content. Include your pup in the preparations, knowing that your efforts this fall will enhance playtime once the weather warms up next spring.

Pose for holiday card photos

Finally, don’t forget to bring a camera so you can take photos of all the fun. Whenever you think about it, set up the tripod and take a few timed photos of you and your favorite furry family member or ask someone to snap posed or candid shots for you.

Before you know it, you’ll have a good selection from which to choose the perfect holiday card photo. At the very least, they’ll be fun to look back on when it’s bitterly cold outside, and you’ll be glad you made the extra effort to create the memories.

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