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Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park, MD

Patapsco Valley State Park (Ellicott City, MD) runs along 32 miles of the Patapsco River and features many amenities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, camping, canoeing and more. Hikers will love choosing from a huge variety of trails (70 miles of 200 miles are well maintained) that run along or near the river, some with waterfalls and Indian ruins.

This is a beautiful area that would take anyone years to explore fully. The park consists of several areas, each with their own set of hiking trails. Park maps of all the areas are available for download online as a .pdf file. We picked out a few trails to get your started. To find the actual trail map, go to the park website and download the map for the specific area.

Avalon/Glen Artney/Orange Grove Areas:

  • Avalon Loop Trail (GPS Coordinates 39.22742, -76.72596 Map)
  • Cascade Trail (GPS Coordinates 39.240909, -76.750015 Map)
  • Soapstone Trail (GPS Coordinates 39.244713, -76.719053 Map)
  • Hilltop Area Trail / Hilltop Trail to Sawmill Branch Trail to Grist Mill Trail Loop (GPS Coordinates 39.2527717, -76.7602354 Map).
  • Grist Mill is a paved trail that can be used for biking, cross-country skiing, wheelchairs, and strollers. (GPS Coordinates 39.249213, -76.764768 Map)

Daniels Area:

  • Granite Woodstock Trail / Thru Trail (GPS Coordinates 39.332566, -76.869151 Map) This trail is not well maintained, but still a great option if you want to really explore the area.

 

Before you go, make sure you know what the park’s policies are on pets. In general, pets must be leashed except when swimming or hunting with permit. Pets are not allowed in the Patapsco – Pikall area. A full list of where pets are allowed by general area, not by specific trail, can be found here.

Online camping reservations are available through Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources website or by calling 1-888-432-2267. Each booking is $6.25 – make sure you choose a ‘pet-friendly’ designated campsite. Pets are allowed at the Patapsco Valley – Hollofield campgrounds. Pet loops are provided. A camp guide is also available here.

Take a photo of your dog at Patapsco Valley State Park! What area and trail did you go to? What did you like most about the trail? Do you have GPS coordinates for your favorite spots?


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Elliott City, MD | Howard County | Maryland
GPS Coordinates: GPS Coordinates: 39.29585, -76.79084  Map
Activities: Camping, Backpacking, Biking, Fishing, Hiking, Walking, Kayaking, Horseback Riding, Swimming, Hunting, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Bikejoring, Skijoring

Go Tubing or Rafting With Your Dog

How To Take Your Dog River Tubing 

Take your dog river tubing or rafting on a float trip down a calm, shallow river with your family and friends!

The best time to do this is on a hot sunny day. Your dog should love the water or can tolerate being on a moving boat. They should also have basic obedience and good recall so that you can call them to you in a dangerous situation away from any strong water currents or wild animals.

If you are interested in going whitewater rafting or whitewater tubing, please contact the company you will be renting or going with for information.

Related Pawtivities: River Tubing


HOW TO GO TUBING

 

The best way to go tubing or rafting is with a big group and at least two cars. Park one car at the start of the river drop-off and another at your pick-up point. Shuttle and tube rental services are also available, but check out their policies on dogs before you go. Pick an area known for tubing – check local conditions for shallow water and cleared land or debris along your route. It is generally not a good idea to go tubing in deep water with strong currents or during a thunderstorm.

The best trips come with a little planning and an idea of picnic spots, rest areas, and bathroom spots downstream. Don’t forget to give everyone plenty of time to go ashore to go to the bathroom and to rest.

Depending on conditions, you may find yourself having to get out into the water. It’s common to get stuck in water that is too shallow. You could also get stuck within branches or rocks in the river.

Tubing is easy! Kick back and enjoy nature!


WHAT TO BRING

 

Before you go, find out if the area you are going to has specific rules on leashes on dogs. It’s a good idea to bring one just in case. A long one is idea so that your dog has more freedom to sunbathe on the raft or swim. You really don’t want him to go ashore without you because it may be difficult to backtrack while you are downstream.

The tubes and rafts that you use for a float trip are much thicker and can hold air longer than a pool tube. Some tubes and rafts have two air chambers making them safer to use in case the outer shell gets punctured. Leave the pool tubes at home. You’ll also want something that is puncture-proof to dog nails, branches, rocks, or other objects that may be in the water.

We do not recommend wearing flip-flops in the water. Water shoes with a thick rubber sole is best to get a secure footing, especially where rocks are covered with a bit of algae.

Pack a cooler with some tasty beverages and food. Please carry your own trash and do not bring glass bottles. Alcohol is not permitted on National Park Service land. Most equipment or service providers will not let you bring alcohol. Remember to tie everything you have to the raft!

Other items you could bring include: Swimming gear, polyester or nylon shirt, hat, towels, dry clothes, water shoes, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, life-jackets, short leash, long leash, poop bags, fresh water, food, first aid kit, puncture resistant tube or raft, backup tube or tube repair kit, emergency poncho, map of river including drop-off and pick-up locations, waterproof bag / dry bag, cooler, rope, plastic trash bags, and other appropriate gear.


SAFETY

 

Unless you are on a hosted float trip, it’s best to have at least 2 adults with you. You’ll need 2 cars anyway and a buddy to get you out of jam if necessary.

Dogs should have their own tube / raft unless they are small enough to sit on top of you or fit in your raft.  If your dog loves swimming, make sure to give him some forced breaks. You don’t want to get into any situation where your dog has over-exerted himself.  It’s a good idea to have a safety jacket, harness or life jacket on your dog even if they are a good swimmer. The jacket may end up saving his life and make it easier for you to grab hold of your dog.

Dogs should only drink fresh water. River and lake water are not considered safe drinking water sources as they may contain harmful bacteria and other pollutants. Avoid any animals or standing water that you may encounter. Before you head home, wash your dog off (and inside his ears) with fresh water. Don’t forget to check the paws and look out for ticks or other injuries your dog may have.

As with all things, use good judgement and have fun!


Take a photo and share your experience with the Pawtivity community!

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

 


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Beach Dog C

Oak Island, NC

Oak Island (Map) has 10 miles of dog friendly beach with calm waters that’s perfect for swim. Dogs may romp off leash during off season. Many go to Oak Island to swim, fish, boat, kayak, paddle board, look for clams or participate in other water activities.

Dogs are allowed off leash on Oak Island’s beaches from October 15 – March 15 as long as they are controllable by voice and non-aggressive. Otherwise, dogs must be on leash at all times. Please pick up after your dog and fill in holes left by your dog. Beach rules are published by the Town of Oak Island. Dogs and humans must stay off sand dunes.

If you want to go kayaking or paddle boarding, there are a few launch points. The Point (6642-6957 Kings Lynn Dr, Oak Island, NC 28465-7949 Map) is one area to go kayaking or paddle boarding. It’s also a great place to go shelling. Other areas include SE 31st street and 39th Place West. You’ll want to avoid kayaking at these launch points during low tide.

Nearby, Caswell Beach (Map) is another dog friendly beach. Dogs may be off leash from October to April after 3:00pm. They must be leashed during peak season except between dawn and 9:00am.

If your dog needs an off-leash dog park to run around, stop by Salty Dog Park inside William S. “Bill” Smith Park on the island.  You’ll need to drive across a bridge to get to this island. Read more about visiting Oak Island (http://www.oakislandnc.com/visitor-info/). GPS Coordinates: 33.9039237, -78.0818626 Map

 


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Oak Island, NC | North Carolina
Activities: Beach, Dog Park, Swimming, SUP, Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Off Leash Park, Fishing, Shelling, Clamming

Beach Marsh

False Cape State Park, VA

False Cape State Park (Virginia Beach, VA) historically was Native American land and features hiking and biking trails, 6 miles of beach access, camping, and kayaking.

Popular hiking trails include the Barbour Hill trail. This is one of the last, completely undeveloped areas along the coast. You can really see beaches, dunes, wooded swamps, marshes, and the bay on your hike in it’s most primitive state.

Getting here with your dog may be more of a challenge since there is no vehicular access. Dogs are allowed to come in by boat or by beach trail from November to March. During the rest of the year, they can only come in by boat.

Dogs are not permitted inside Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and must be kept on leash.

GPS Coordinates: 36.593813, -75.886521 Map

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Virginia Beach, VA | Chesapeake Bay | Virginia
Activities: Beach, Biking, Boating, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Walking

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

Sure, running comes naturally to a dog. The importance to training, however, is that your dog actually learns to run at your pace and so you don’t have a “runaway” dog dragging you along on your run. Here are the basic steps to learning to run with your dog. 

How To Train Your Dog To Run With You

  1. Walk the Walk – Teach your dog to walk at your side. 
  2. Build it Up – Take it slow and teach your dog to run at your side.
  3. Now Go! – Get some practice in going faster and at longer distances. 
  4. Try Canicross / Bikejoring – Your dog can also pull you along! Pave the way for more “-joring” fun.

There are essentially two different ways that you can run with your dog – by your side or up ahead a few feet in front of you. We recommend training your dog to run by your side first since this is most similar to walking with your dog. Once your dog learns to pace your run, you can switch to having your dog run in front.

You want to train your dog so he doesn’t cross your running path. Lastly, like humans, dogs need to build up their stamina and endurance slowly to prevent injury.

Mastery of basic commands such as heel, sit, and stay will help with training. We highly recommend consulting your vet to determine when it is ok to run with your dog, especially if they are only a puppy with an immature skeletal system.

Interested in biking with your dog? Once your dog has mastery of running by your side, try taking your dog on your next biking outing. Learn more by reading: How To Bike With Your Dog


LET’S GET STARTED – WALK THE WALK

 

Make sure your dog really knows how to walk the walk.

Walk with your dog at your side and then stop. Your dog should stop and look at you. Reward him with praise or a treat when he does.If your dog doesn’t stop, bring him around to sit next to you and give him a treat when he looks at you and then start walking again.

Your dog should match your speed. If your dog pulls forward, try using a short leash as this helps to control pulling immediately. Stop walking altogether until your dog stops and looks at you. Again, praise him when he does and continue walking again. Practice walking and stopping with your dog. Be consistent and reward immediately after good behavior.

If your dog tries to cross your path, you can use a treat to lure him to stay on one side. It is very important that your dog learns to walk in a straight line at one side. Practice walking with your dog in different directions (left, right, left).

Gradually increase your walking speed until your dog has a good mastery of walking at your side in a straight path that matches yours.


READY? SET? – WAIT… BUILD IT UP

 

Before you actually go off running with your dog, try easing up with a run-walk plan. Start walking with your dog at normal pace, then speed up into a jog, and then back to a walk. This will teach your dog to pay attention to your speed and to follow your lead.

Keep your walking and jogging paces the same so that your dog can learn the difference. With more outings, your dog will adapt to your pace and be able to run longer.

Keep beginning practices to no more than 15 minutes or 1 mile of a run / walk or jog routine.


NOW GO!

 

After your dog understands the difference between walking and jogging, start running faster and faster. Then, you can remove walking altogether and run!

Make sure that as you train with your dog, you get a good idea of when your dog needs to use the bathroom or when enough is enough. Your dog needs periodic water breaks – the more frequent in small doses is better than one large gulp (the same goes for humans). Drinking too much at a time may cause your dog to vomit (or give you cramps). Pay close attention to your dog’s breathing and paws at all times. If your dog starts to pant or slow down, it’s a good indication to stop for a water break or that it’s time to head home. You should be able to sense how long your dog can run over time, then build up slowly from there.

There are many more health and safety tips for your dog, especially when it comes running in the winter or summer.


CANICROSS / BIKEJORING

 

Once you and your dog become better at running together, you could have your dog start running in front of you.  This often involves getting a special harness, or hands-free leash. If you and your dog love running together, try joining a running, canicross, or trail running where you can run in a real pack or in races with other humans and their dogs. Want something more adventurous and be the talk of the town? Try bikejoring or skijoring!

Paws and feet ahead! Have fun.

 

Take a photo and share your experience with the Pawtivity community!

Related Pawtivities: Running, Trail Running, Beach Running, Canicross Race

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


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Go Running With Your Dog

Running With Your Dog

Dogs are the best motivator and running partner you will ever have. They simply love to run! Get in a great workout for yourself and release some of that pent up energy in your dog. All it really takes is at least 15 minutes a day!

Before you hit the pavement, here are some tips that will help you run with your dog.

What Dogs Can Run

Running should only be recommended for adult dogs that have a mature skeletal system. For small dogs this may be at 9-12 months, however, larger dogs’ bones don’t mature until about 12-20 months. Consult your vet for more information or learn more about your dog’s breed running capabilities.

Many dogs love running, but some are bred to be longer distance runners who can tolerate more heat and have more stamina.  Some of the best running dog breeds include the Vizsla, Weimaraner, Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Pit Bull, and German Shepherd. Short-faced dogs, senior dogs, and very large breeds may overheat more quickly, need more frequent breaks, or run a shorter distance than other dogs.

Before A Run

  • Feed your dog more than an hour before running.
  • Choose the coolest part of the day to run. Dogs don’t sweat and heat up much faster than humans do. You should also choose routes that have ample shade and trash cans.
  • Don’t forget the poop bags! No one would want to run over a wet one!
  • Give your dog some water and an opportunity to go to the bathroom before running.  Repeat this routine before going out on every run.
  • Grab a 3-6 foot non-retractable leash to run with your dog. You can also use a hands free leash, which we really prefer as it allows you to run more naturally and allow your dog to respond better to your pace.
  • Consider proper equipment and attire for you and your dog In the winter and summer months. Pay extra attention to your dog’s paws. We love to use Musher’s Secret to protect paws against snow, ice, and hot surfaces.

 

After A Run

  • Reward your dog and give him a treat for being such a good running partner!
  • Make sure your dog gets another water and bathroom break.
  • Check your dog for ticks.
  • Inspect your dog’s paws for sharp objects, cuts, and irritants. If your dog needs medical attention, here are some tips to consider to help care for your dog’s paws.

 

Do you have a favorite running route?

Going out into wet weather? Look also at our list additional first aid items to prevent and treat blisters, read: Tips for Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care.


Related Pawtivities: Running, Trail Running, Beach Running, Canicross Race

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


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Fenwick Island State Park, DE

Fenwick Island State Park (Fenwick Isle, DE) between Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island or Ocean City to the south.

White sand and a large ocean swimming area make this a popular place to go. Dogs are allowed on the beach from October 1 – April 30. Dogs are not permitted on Deleware beaches from May 1 to September 30. You can find detailed specifics and maps on where dogs are allowed here.

If you go to Delaware State Parks often, consider purchasing an annual pass.

GPS Coordinates: 38.473410, -75.050816 Map

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Fenwick Isle, DE | Sussex County | Delaware
Activities: Beach, Boating, Hiking, Walking, Kayaking, Surfing, Swimming

.Go Hiking With Your Dog

The Beginner’s Guide To Hiking With Dogs

Hiking is an easy activity to do with your dog – all you really need is a place to walk, a leash, and a good pair of athletic shoes. It is important to choose the right place to walk. Some trails demand more preparation, athletic ability, equipment and training to make it more enjoyable for you and your dog.

 

Pick a trail, pace, and distance that works for both you and your dog. The best trails always have some body of water or scenic destination. Dogs love to sniff and explore so give your dog a chance to do this on the trail. Always keep an eye out on your dog and make sure he has good recall! Trails are shared and sometimes narrow so it’s best if your dog knows basic obedience and is well socialized with other dogs and humans (including runners and bikers). If your dog needs work on recall and socialization, it’s best to keep your dog on leash at all times.

 

Breeds Best Suited for Hiking

Your dog will let you know if he likes hiking! These breeds, however, are known for being able to keep up on long hikes: Bernese Mountain Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Australian Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Vizsla, Labrador Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, Border Collie, Chesapeake, German Shorthaired Pointer, Jack Russell Terrier.  The best dog for hiking is one who is obedient, able to follow basic commands and has a good temperament.

 

Health

The best thing you can do as a dog owner is to be prepared when going outside with your dog.  If you want to go hiking with your dog, or even participate in most outdoor activities, you should start by visiting your vet for an okay regarding health, physical ability, and required vaccinations. Your dog should be healthy and at least a year old.  Dogs by this age are stronger and have better developed muscles, joints, and bones necessary for longer walks on a variety of terrain.  Vaccinations can include those for fleas, ticks, rabies, heartworm, bordatella (“kennel cough”), standard DHLPP (distemper, canine hepatitis, two strains of leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus).  Depending on where you will be hiking, there are also snake vaccines available. Your vet will know the ones your dog will need.  It is also a good idea to have an updated copy of your dog’s vaccination history in case there is ever a time when you encounter a situation where you need to prove to others that your dog has been vaccinated.

 

Identification

The main reason for dog identification is in case your dog gets lost.  Your dog probably already has a collar with an identification tag labeled with your name and a way to contact you. However, this should not be the only source of identification for your dog since collars can be broken and ID tags lost.  Keep an eye on the condition of your dog’s collar and ID tag.  Repair and replace as needed.  Other ways to ID your dog include licensing and microchipping your dog.  You should keep your license and microchip information updated. It is also a good idea to keep a current picture of your dog on you – which you probably have on your phone already : ) – in case you lose your dog on the trail and need to ask for help from other hikers.

 

Obedience

One of the key factors in hiking successfully with your dog is how obedient your dog is. People enjoy hiking with their dog when they are able to enjoy their surroundings without having to constantly stop to see where their dog has gone or what their dog has gotten into.  There will be others on the same trail as you who do not like dogs or are scared by them.  There might be situations when it is important for you to calmly call your dog and hold him by the collar.  Dogs need to be non-reactive and able to remain calm when approaching or being approached by other people and animals. Work on communicating with your dog and mastering basic commands such as stay, come, and leave it.  You can start by working with your dog in the backyard, or any enclosed area free of distractions.  If you choose to start with a dog park, make sure the dog park is not too crowded.  If you would rather get some help by a professional you can simply sign up for basic obedience classes.

 

Trail & Leash Etiquette

If you plan to hike in a park or public space, you should always check the regulations regarding dogs.   When hiking, the general rule is to always keep your dog on a leash – even if your dog is obedient.  Other hikers, bikers, children, or other animals may feel more at ease if your dog is leashed. You never know how others may react to an dog off-leash, even if your dog is the perfect angel. Dogs should always be kept on leash in slippery terrain or trails with a steep overlook. It’s good etiquette to announce your approach and call your dog to you when others are nearby or when heading towards a more populated area, such as a trailhead or parking lot. Above all, use common sense. You are ultimately responsible for your dog’s safety.
It is generally good etiquette to let those without dogs to pass first while your dog sits and waits behind you. If you see an unleashed dog, put your dog on leash and walk past in a friendly manner with our without a brief introduction. If a dog is unattended, walk by very casually with your dog on leash and ignore the other dog. If the other dog charges up to you, block your dog and give the other dog a firm “no” or “stay” command. This usually stops most dogs but you may also choose to use dog spray instead. Above all, stay safe on the trails and have fun!

 

Go on an Adventure!

Now that you know some of the basics to hiking with your dog, find a trail in your area or simply start by walking around the neighborhood. Slowly increase the length of the hike and the difficulty of the terrain to challenge yourself and your dog. Above all, enjoy the outing and don’t forget to stay hydrated and check your dog’s paws periodically.

 

Going out into wet weather? Look also at our list additional first aid items to prevent and treat blisters, read: Tips for Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care.


Do you have a favorite hiking spot? Suggest one to the Pawtivity community or just email us.


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Go Tubing or Rafting With Your Dog

River Tubing

Take your dog tubing or rafting down a calm, shallow river on a hot sunny day with your family and friends. Your dog should love the water or can tolerate being on a moving “boat” and/or balance on an unstable surface.

The best way to go tubing or rafting is with a big group and at least two cars. Park one car at the start of the river drop-off and another at your pick-up point. Shuttle and tube rental services are also available from many companies but you will have to check for specific policies regarding dogs and other arrangements. Pick an area known for tubing – check local conditions for shallow water, cleared land along the river to stop and rest, and policies regarding dogs.

It’s a great idea to stop midway for a picnic. Store all of your food in a cooler on your raft or float it down river with you. Kick back and enjoy nature made easy! Don’t forget to give everyone plenty of time to go ashore to go to the bathroom and to rest. Please do not bring any glass bottles or styrofoam with you. Of course, pick up your own trash so others can enjoy the river!

Submit a photo or video of our dog tubing or rafting with you. Where did you go? Do you have any tips for others?

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Tubing, Rafting, Swimming

Go Desert Camping With Your Dog

Desert Camping

The desert is a beautiful place to go camping with your dog. Many go for some great hiking or to see a majestic desert sunset. Others go to see unusual wildflowers or to visit cliff formations and old cliff dwellings. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent some ATVs and dirt bikes, go rockhounding for geodes and minerals, go rock climbing, or gallop around the desert on a horse or jeep tour.

Winter is a great time to go desert camping as temperatures feel like a mild summer instead of in the triple digits. Along with the beauty of desert camping comes the extra preparation involved. You will need plenty of fresh water and some type of shade to protect against daytime heat. Chances are your dog is not used to the unusual and sometimes poisonous wildlife and plants in the desert. Make sure your dog is on leash and obedient to your commands – it’s best not to let your dog roam around freely or poke around in any dark crevices. Let him snuggle next to you at night! Don’t forget to set up camp on high ground away from water sources.

Did you see anything interesting in the desert? Take a picture of the sunset or sunrise with your dog!

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Camping, Biking, Hiking, Walking, Sightseeing