I used to go into hibernation mode with my dogs when the weather turned cold, but now I look forward to several dog friendly activities unique to the fall season.
At a certain point in the fall, I can just tell that things have changed.
The mornings are crisp again, I get to break out my sweater collection, and the dogs start to wear their coats.
It also means I get to hike some of our favorite trails and get a different perspective – one with golden fall colors – I get to start drinking hot Starbucks mocha’s on the way to the trailhead.
To help keep you and your dog active in the fall, I thought I would share what I look forward to for some inspiration.
UPDATED: Originally published on September 1, 2016
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19 Dog Friendly Fall Activities
While it may feel like the options to entertain and exercise your dog are more limited in fall, there are still plenty of things to do if you get creative and change your perspective.
1) Hit the trails in search of fall colors
Deciduous trees turn all shades of yellow and red in the fall. My favorite in fall are golden larch tree hikes.
You don’t have to hike in the mountains to catch fall colors though. Many city parks and nature trails also have trees that like to show off in the fall.
2) Go on a waterfall hike
Many of the easier waterfall hikes are super popular in summer but the crowds die down when the weather turns cold.
Too bad for them because I think fall is the best time for waterfall viewing with your dog.
Since the fall is rainy, many waterfalls are the most spectacular in this season.
Just be sure to watch your dog around any swift-moving or cold water.
3) Visit a dog friendly pumpkin patch
Many pumpkin patches allow dogs, so you can bring your furry friend along to pick out the perfect pumpkin.
Just be sure to follow these dog friendly pumpkin patch etiquette tips.
4) Take a walk through a corn maze
Many pumpkin patches also have a corn maze and some are dog friendly (be sure to call ahead to verify first).
Bring your furry friend along to explore the twists and turns.
It might even be fun to let your dog use their nose to lead the way and see if they can find the way out on their own.
Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash and follow any maze rules.
5) Go on a scenic drive to enjoy the fall foliage
If the weather is too cold or rainy, one of my favorite things to do is take a mini-road trip along one of these dog friendly road trip routes in Washington State.
Be sure to take breaks to let your dog stretch their legs and don’t forget these dog road trip essentials.
6) Have a campfire and roast marshmallows
In many places in the US, burns bans have been lifted by fall so campfires are allowed again.
Visit a campground near you if any are open, or use something like a Solo campfire stove in your back yard, to build a cozy fire you and your dog can snuggle by.
If there are still burn restrictions in your area, or you don’t like the smell of campfire smoke like me, consider a portable propane fire pit instead.
Just be sure to keep a close eye on your dog and follow any fire safety guidelines.
7) Play in the crunchy leaves
When the leaves start to fall, why not have some fun with your dog by playing fetch in a leaf-covered park or yard or letting your dog chase leaves on a blustery day?
A lot of dogs enjoy the crunching of leaves, whether under their feet or when pouncing on them.
8) Take a trip to the beach
Some beaches that are off limits do dogs in summer because of public swimming, lift the no-dog restrictions in the fall.
Some beaches that are strictly on-leash in the summer become off-leash in the fall (like Richmond Beach in Shoreline, WA).
Also, very few people visit ocean beaches, where there are miles of sand to run, in the fall and winter so this is my favorite time to go.
Most of the time, my dogs and I practically have the whole coastline to ourselves.
Just be sure to follow these dog beach safety rules,and pick up after your dog.
9) Go to a dog park and let your dog run around with other dogs
I largely avoid dog parks in the summer when the weather is good because they can be very crowded.
Too many dogs in an enclosed space can be dangerous for small dogs.
I find dog parks much more enjoyable in fall when most people are hunkering down indoors.
If you go, make sure to follow the dog park rules and keep an eye on your dog at all times.
10) Visit a farmers market and try some new fall produce
Many farmers markets are dog-friendly, so you can bring your dog while you pick out fresh fruits and vegetables that are at their best in the fall.
11) Visit a dog-friendly Halloween event or parade
Many cities and towns have Halloween-themed runs or parades and some of the events allow dogs.
12) Have a dog-friendly Halloween costume party
Whether you just get a few friends together at your house, or attend a local Halloween party for dogs, it can be fun to watch cute dogs run around dressed like teddy bears, cowboys, etc.
Many public pet costume contests also hand out prizes for most original costume, best owner-dog costume pair, etc.
13) Go trick-or-treating with your dog
If your dog is friendly around kids, and doesn’t mind being around people in costumes, bring your dog along when you take the family out trick-or-treating.
Many people enjoy also seeing dogs at their door and some even hand out special canine treats.
14) Have a dog-friendly photo shoot
The fall season is a great time for beautiful outdoor photos.
You can schedule a photo shoot with a professional pet photographer or use these tips for capturing great smartphone photos of your dog.
15) Play the bob for apples game
Since apples float, and trying to grab them out of the water can be fun for your dog.
Fill a shallow bowl or bucket with water and place some apple slices, or pieces, on top (be sure there are no apple seeds) for your dog.
Besides providing a tasty, healthy snack, bobbing for apples also provides mental stimulation for your dog as they try to figure out how to catch the pieces.
16) Take a dog friendly cooking class
Sign up for a virtual dog friendly cooking class, like the Puppy Pops and Canine Cookies class, and learn to whip up some tasty, homemade treats for your furry friend.
For extra fun, invite a few friends over to do it with you.
If you live near a big city, and you’re lucky, you might even find an in-person dog friendly cooking class.
17) Have a dog-friendly movie night
If you do want to stay warm and cozy inside, you can still create a fun atmosphere for yourself and your dog.
18) Go to a dog friendly brewery or winery
While visiting one of these can be fun in any season, I prefer to soak up the sun and fresh air when I can.
But when the weather turns dreary and I still want to get out to socialize with my dog, I often opt to visit a dog friendly brewery.
While most dog friendly restaurants only allow dogs outside on the patio, which can be uncomfortable in fall, if sitting on the deck is even an option then, dog friendly breweries can usually let dogs inside since they don’t serve food.
19) Have a dog-friendly game night
Invite some friends over and have a dog-friendly game night with some fall-themed games and treats.
Your dog can have fun playing with their canine pals while you catch up with what your friends have been up to.
Take it to the next level by giving your dog some food puzzles to solve while you and your friends play your own games.
Just because the weather turns cold, fall doesn’t have to mean the end of having fun with, and being active with, your dog.
There are several activities that can only be enjoyed in fall like peeping fall colors and visiting a pumpkin patch.
There are also creative ways you can have fun in the comfort of your own home.
Whatever you choose, keeping your dog active and mentally stimulated year-round will help keep your dog healthy and happy.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.