1. Host a Virtual Friendsgiving with Your (and Your Dog’s) Best Friends
By now, we’re all Zoom pros, so why not take advantage of the software by planning a virtual, pet-centric Friendsgiving? It’s a great way to safely see friends on the holiday and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines—while cooing over everyone’s fur babies, of course!
2. Play One of These Fall-Themed Games
There are so many fun games to play with your dog, so we talked to two pet trainers for their suggestions on the best ones to try for the fall.
Take advantage of the cool weather and fall leaves with a seasonal spin on the classic game of hide and seek.
“Dogs have truly incredible noses and love to use them,” says Nicole Lorenzetti Yuhas, CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer with Heavenly Hounds Training in Lawrence Township, New Jersey.
Yuhas suggests heading outside and tossing treats in the grass, then letting your dog sniff them out. After they get the hang of it, grab some of those fall leaves lying around and cover each treat. The leaves make it a little more challenging (but fun!) for your pup—and it’s perfectly themed to the season!
“Once that’s easy for your dog, make the piles a little larger and spread them out around your yard,” she suggests. “Finally, if your dog is having a great time and finding the treats easily, try hiding treats in only half of the piles and watch as your dog uses their amazing sense of smell to locate the piles with goodies.”
Trail of Treats
Alli Bennett, a trainer with Collective Canine Training Co. in Lawrenceville, Georgia, says a great game to play with your dog while also teaching them to “stay” is something she calls “Trail of Treats.”
First, grab some treats that feature the flavors of the season like these Blue Dog Bakery Harvest Bites Pumpkin Flavor Dog Treats, then tell your dog to “stay.” Place the first treat on the ground 10-15 feet away, then drop another treat every 2-3 feet. When you give the OK, watch your dog have a blast following the trail of treats you’ve made!
“(It’s) a great game to keep your dog focused on finding the next treat,” says Bennett.
If your pup needs a bit of refresher course on the “stay” command.
3. Enjoy a Hike and Pup-Friendly Picnic
Winter is still a few weeks away, so why not take advantage of the not-yet-frigid weather and enjoy the great outdoors with your dog by going for a hike.
To make the day extra special, end your day outdoors with a picnic. Make it pet-friendly with foods that both you and your pup can enjoy.
4. Create Your Own Found-Objects Fall Wreath
Homespun holiday is a huge thing this season and the easiest way to get the look is a DIY wreath you make from stuff you forage while out walking the dog. Don’t go stripping pinecones or branches—look for what’s on the ground (your dog will be a huge help here). If making a wreath seems complicated, trust us, it’s not.
5. Snuggle Up Next to Your Home-built Fire Pit
Depending on where you live, a thick blanket may keep away the chill, but in colder climes, it’s time to think about adding a firepit to the backyard in time for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. Doesn’t a Thanksgiving night spent star-gazing with your dog sound lovely?
There are countless options available for purchase online ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, but if you’re feeling adventurous, This Old House has a step-by-step tutorial on building your very own (plus all the safety tips you need to know). You’ll need a few supplies like blocks, a shovel and safety equipment, but we think the effort will be well worth it and a long weekend is the perfect time to tackle the project.