Trails and Tails
If your dog is the outdoorsy type and can withstand long bouts of exercise, she might be your perfect hiking buddy. Start with an easier trail and work your way up to more difficult hikes.
San Diego County boasts about two dozen designated dog parks and beaches and lots of hiking trails where you and your four-legged friend can get some fresh air and exercise. There are some safety and etiquette rules you should be aware of, though, before venturing into the great outdoors.
Dog parks are a great place for pups who are cooped up all day to get some exercise and interact with their peers. But you need to do your part, too. Keep an eye on your dog (not your phone), make sure she’s playing nice and promptly clean up any messes she makes. Some dogs get overwhelmed upon arrival; hang out for a minute or two in the gated entry area until the other parkgoers have lost interest in the newbie.
Sometimes you have to face facts and accept that your dog just might not be cut out for this kind of interaction. If yours is reactive, fearful or aggressive, a dog park isn’t the best place to desensitize her.
Dogs are allowed at most San Diego County parks. (Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, Mission Trails Regional Park, Sunset Cliffs and Tecolote Canyon Natural Park are especially popular with pet parents.) Plan out your hike in detail ahead of time and be realistic about your skill and endurance level.
Check the forecast—dogs are more prone to heat exhaustion and their paws burn easily. Leave Fido at home if the temperature is expected to rise above 70 degrees. Pack plenty of water and respect leash laws, even if there’s no one else around.
Published: June 17, 2020