If you’re anything like us, your dog is your best friend! You’ll take them anywhere and everywhere, and you wouldn’t leave them at home for the world. Our dog adds joy and excitement to every adventure or trip. They are relentlessly happy and optimistic, and they love to explore. That’s what makes your dog the perfect companion on a countryside trip. As regular readers will know, this site is all about rural living. And, what better way to enjoy the country, than with a dog by your side.
Unfortunately, taking your dog into the country isn’t quite as simple as it might seem. When we moved from the city, we noticed the difference immediately. Not all animals are suited to the bumpy terrain, rocky outcrops and unpredictable weather. This is particularly true if your dog is used to a cosy, urban apartment or walks in the park. Heading into the Great Outdoors is quite a different matter entirely. Today we’re going to give you a little introduction to bringing your dog into the rural lifestyle.
We’ll cover the restrictions and limitations you often find when out walking with your pup. We’ll also explain the hazards and perils of rough surfaces. More importantly, we’ll implore the importance of good training and obedience. Finally, we’ll finish with some specific activities that you dog will love when you make it out to the country. Ready to take a trip with your four-legged friend? Let’s go.
Know your dog rules
City dwelling dog owners won’t be always familiar with the countryside ways. There are plenty of restrictions and limitations in place when it comes to taking your dog into the open. Of course, every national park and county vary in its regulations. In some places, dogs are not allowed on campsites, for example. In others, certain trails and paths may be off limits to dogs. When they are allowed, it is essential that you pick up after your dog. Follow the countryside code! This practice is for the courtesy of other hikers, cyclists and path users.
Keep them on a leash
It’s tempting for dog owners to let their pups run wild in the wide open environment. However, even the best-trained dogs in the world can get distracted and injured here. Your dog can quickly find itself lost or stuck. If other dogs arrive on the scene, the new environment can stimulate them and cause them to act dangerously. When hiking or moving to the country, it’s just best to keep them close and on a leash.
Before you head out into the countryside, your dog must be well trained and obedient. Never venture out onto trails unless the basic commands can be completed. Simple commands like ‘sit’, ‘come’ and ‘stay’ are your best friend in this environment. Remember there are lots of stimuli around. There are new smells, acres of space and lots of other dogs. This is a big test for the training and obedience of your furry critter. Make sure they’re prepared and well trained.
Protect against fleas
The countryside is a much more dangerous place when it comes to pests. Fleas, ticks and other creeps thrive in the country environment. Remember, it is wet, moist and warm; perfect growing conditions for these pests. We recommend speaking to your vet before you venture into the country. Your dog may need an updated set of vaccinations or shots. We also suggest using a preventative medicine like Frontline for dogs to keep fleas at bay. Try to ensure they are well-groomed and washed if possible too.
Ease them into it
Your dog will be leaping and bounding as soon as you open the car door. The fresh air and open space is like a huge playground for them. However, remember that this is new for your dog, and they’re not used to the terrain! It can be quite easy for a pup to injure their legs on the rocky ground. If you’re planning a country trip, try to ease them into it with less-extreme off-road ventures first. Take them into the local woods or off the paths in the park. Ease them into the process.
Pack them a bag
If you’re heading off into the wilderness, you’ve probably got your own rucksack or backpack. Well, your dog needs one too! Fill it full of essential doggy items like treats and food. You’ll also want your grooming tools to help keep their fur clean and tidy. A little emergency first aid kit is a good idea and bedding if you’re planning an overnight stay. Finally, take additional leashes and ID tags, just in case. We often find that dogs love to carry their own pack, so pick up a dog-friendly rucksack. It will reach around their bodies and keep it securely fastened. Our four-legged friends enjoy responsibility and love having a job to do.
We often get asked what activities you can do with your dog outdoors. So, here are some of our favourite options when it comes to keeping the furry one entertained.
Cycling – Cycling is perfect if your dog has tons of energy. You’ll need a special attachment that will stop your dog running too close to the bike and hurting themselves. It’s also very important to make sure you don’t overexert your pup. They will do everything they can to keep up with you! Don’t go too fast or too hard; regularly stop so they can catch their breath.
Camping – It is perfectly okay to camp with your pets. As we mentioned before, make sure the campsite is dog-friendly, and keep them on a leash. But otherwise, they make excellent campsite companions. They’ll curl up by the campfire and snooze after a long day’s running around!
Swimming – Most dogs are strong swimmers and will frolic in lakes and streams. You can even jump in with them! If there’s an outdoor swimming pool in the campsite, let them use that too. Of course, check to make sure there are no restrictions. Be sure to understand your dog’s limitations and don’t let them in rivers with a strong current. If you’re near the sea, we wouldn’t advise letting your dog into the ocean.
We hope you’ve found plenty of useful information in this quick guide! The countryside is a fantastic place for you and your dog. Just heed this advice and make sure they stay safe. Good luck!