Taking Your Four-Legged Sidekick On An Amazing Adventure

Hiking invigorates the body, clears the mind and refreshes the soul. Even if you’re not particularly adventuresome, after hiking once, something in the experience just makes you want to do it again. Whether you’re alone or with friends, seeing nature at its finest always feels so wonderful and refreshing. But your best hiking companion is at home, patiently waiting by your door every time you leave! Your dog. Now the question is, where and what’s the best way for me to go hiking with dogs?

Living The Southwest Dream

The Southwest is known for its arid deserts, crimson landscapes, unique mountains and other natural wonders. When it comes to hiking with dogs, this region surely has some of the best places to offer. Read through to find out some bucketlist-worthy hiking spots!

1. Grand Canyon

I know, I know. Most national parks are not super pet-friendly, and the Grand Canyon National Park is not an exception. They allow pets, but only on the paved areas and trails. However, the South Rim of this majestic Wonder of the World welcomes dogs as long as they are leashed. There are miles of paved trails along the rim with the most amazing views you could imagine. Plus you have access to all the essential services nearby that you might take advantage of during your hike, like restrooms, restaurants, post office, and of course the ice cream parlor!

patrick hendry dog adventure in little grand canyon
Dog Adventure at the Grand Canyon
Photo by Patrick Hendry

The South Rim is open year-round, 24 hours a day. There are many trails and viewpoints to explore, with different levels of difficulty! But aside from hiking, there are  heaps of other activities you can enjoy with your dog, such as seeing the sunrise from the Desert View or the sunset from Hopi, Yaki or Mather’s Points. Even after dark, you can’t miss out on stargazing or joining one of their evening ranger programs.

2. Kodachrome Basin

From the name itself, the Kodachrome Basin State Park is known for its multi-colored and red-tinged rock cliffs and formations. This pet-friendly park allows dogs on no more than a 6-foot leash. Apart from its naturally colorful aesthetics, the Kodachrome Basin boasts 67 monolithic stone spires, popularly known as the sand pipes.

A day in this park is not enough to cover all the wonderful landmarks that it offers, from the jaw-dropping Chimney Rock, the amazing Shakespeare Arc, and campground, to the different trails that you and your dog will enjoy. They have five trails to choose from: Nature Trail, Angel’s Palace Trail, Panorama Trail, Grand Parade Trail and Eagle’s Landing Trailhead. For your convenience, they have basic facilities that you may need such as parking area, comfort rooms, restrooms, telephone access, picnic tables and more. This year, they have added camper-style bunkhouses and a full-service laundromat for tourists who wish to stay longer.

3. Bryce & Zion

luca-bravo-bryce-canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park, United States
Photo by Luca Bravo

Did you know that it is possible to visit both of these parks in one day? YES! Bryce and Zion National Parks are just an hour and a half drive away from each other. As Utah’s first national park, Zion has definitely preserved its natural beauty along with its rich history. They allow dogs in the Pa’rus Trail, which runs for 1.5 miles from the South Campground to the Canyon Junction. Then you may proceed to Bryce Canyon, a sprawling reserve famously known for its crimson-colored rock formations shaped like spires. Pets are allowed on the paved trail between Sunrise Point and Sunset Point as well as all paved viewpoint areas.

sapan-patel-zion-national-park
Zion National Park, United States
Photo by Sapan Patel

Ready for an adventure of a lifetime?

After the successful launch of our tours in Charlotte NC, Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours has expanded into the Southwest with our Coyote 8 Day tour and we are ready to take you and your canine best friend on an amazing adventure. Beyond the happy memories, this once in a lifetime experience will transform your life and your dog’s! The Grand Canyon, Kodachrome Basin, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are just few of the places we will visit on The Coyote – A Southwest USA 8 Day Tour. If you want you and your dog to be a part of this wonderful experience, join our waitlist at: HappyTailsTours.com/Coyote.

 

 

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

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How would you like to go on exciting adventures without having to leave your dog at home?

Owning a dog is not only a privilege but a responsibility that we have to take seriously. Just like having kids, they are dependent on us and we need to make time for them as often as we possibly can. That’s why for dog owners, it can seem difficult to go on long vacations, or even just to take a weekend break away from home. You can always hire a pet sitter, but admit it, you can’t go a day without worrying about your canine pal. Here’s the thing! Now you can have your much needed vacation without leaving them behind. Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours’ The Coyote – A Southwest 8 Day Tour lets you have amazing adventures with dogs and see the highlights of the Southwest all in one journey!

From the 271-mile long Grand Canyon, to the Alice-In-Wonderland-like lunar landscape of Bryce Canyon, to breathtaking Monument Valley, nothing is more memorable than eight days in the Southwest. We’ll take you and your dog hiking, rafting, kayaking, on jeep tours, and other amazing and unforgettable experiences.

Make fun memories with your best canine buddy. Join The Coyote – A Southwest 8 Day Tour waitlist at: happytailstours.com/Coyote

patrick hendry dog adventure in little grand canyon
Dog Adventure in little Grand Canyon.
Photo by Patrick Hendry

 

Explore the Southwest in eight days!

We start our amazing tour in Las Vegas, where you will be checked in at one of the most dog-friendly casino resort hotels. Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours owners, David Blank and Claudia Fabrega, will brief you on the next eight days’ itinerary. Then you can spend the rest of the evening exploring the Entertainment Capitol of the World with your dog.

On Day 2, we depart Las Vegas and proceed to the Grand Canyon. Along the way we’ll cross over the Hoover Dam, visit Seligman, Arizona (inspiration for the movie Cars), and dine at the wonderful and historic Snow Cap Drive-In with your four-legged pal. After lunch, we depart historic Route 66 and head to the awe inspiring Grand Canyon National Park, where we’ll spend the afternoon taking in one of the earth’s most famous and well-known geologic wonders.

 

It will be one of the best adventures you’ll ever have.

On Day 3 we depart the Grand Canyon with a stop at the Desert View area and the historic Cameron Trading Post. Here, you will find authentic Indian jewelry, blankets, pottery, rugs and sand paintings, all produced by the local Native Americans. Next, comes the unique beauty of  Lake Powell National Recreation Area. After having lunch at the Antelope Point Marina, we’ll enjoy a scenic hike with our dogs to the Horseshoe Bend.

On day 4, you and your canine companion are in for a wonderful treat as we navigate through the slot canyons of Lake Powell on our Private Power Boat Tour. We’ll take you to a nice sandy beach to enjoy play time in and out of the water and have a picnic lunch with our fellow adventurers. After nature comes culture. We will then immerse ourselves in the rich cultural heritage of the Dineh people in Monument Valley. A Navajo guide will take us on an amazing scenic tour within the Valley to a variety of famous filming locations.

Lake Powell, United-States Photo by Rainer Krienke
Lake Powell, United-States
Photo by Rainer Krienke

Explore nature and culture on The Coyote – A Southwest 8 Day Tour. Join our waitlist now at: happytailstours.com/Coyote

 

We’re just halfway through what the Southwest has to offer!

On day 5, we visit Dead Horse Point State Park where we’ll have another picnic lunch with our dogs and see some of the most spectacular views of the region. Next is the nearby Arches National Park, which serves as a home to 2,000 named arches. We finish the amazing day with an afternoon Jet Boat Ride on the mighty Colorado River through spectacular red rock canyons followed by a BBQ dinner on the banks of the Colorado River.

You have an option to go on a hike at the Grandstaff Canyon on the sixth day of our tour, which is one of the best trails for your dog. You are also free to enjoy the rest of the day exploring Moab and experience pet-friendly outdoor activities such as rafting and canoeing.

 


More sites to explore on our Southwest tour’s last two days.

On day 7, our first stop will be the Goblin Valley State Park, where wind and water have carved amazing goblin-like sculptures, creating a unique landscape that plays with the imagination. Plenty of rocks and coves are also available for exploration. Next, we’ll proceed to the Capitol Reef National Park for a delicious picnic lunch under the shade of towering cottonwood trees. Then we’ll enjoy a drive at Scenic Highway 12, the crown jewel of the Scenic Byways System. The rest of the afternoon will be spent exploring the beauty of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park.

For our eighth and final day, we’ll take you to Zion National Park, where 2000-foot temples can be found. Mischievous spirits are said to live in these towers, adding to the thrill of our Southwest tour. Then we can enjoy a walk along the Pa’rus Trail, a wonderful, dog-friendly trail with a distance of 3.5 miles (round trip). In the late afternoon, we’ll travel back to Las Vegas for a final chance to experience its glitz and glamour.

Adventure in Horseshoe Bend, United-States Photo by Drif Riadh
Adventure in Horseshoe Bend, United-States
Photo by Drif Riadh

 

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSIONS
  • ARCHES NP
  • BRYCE CANYON NP
  • CAPITAL REEF NP
  • GRAND CANYON NP
  • HOOVER DAM
  • KODACHROME BASIN STATE PARK
  • MONUMENT VALLEY TRIBAL PARK
  • VALLEY OF THE GODS
  • ZION NP
  • LAS VEGAS
  • ALL PARK ENTRANCES
  • LODGING
  • TRANSPORTATION
  • TOUR GUIDE AND DRIVER
  • MOST MEALS

 

If an eight-day tour with your furry pal appeals to you, join the waitlist now for Happy Tails Tours’ The Coyote – A Southwest 8 Day Tour! Subscribe here: happytailstours.com/Coyote

 

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

happytailstours.com/youtube


Looking for Halloween events near Charlotte? Come join us in this exciting tour.

We have just entered the first week of October, and for a lot of us, this month means Halloween. We love to dress-up as different spooky characters and prepare goodies for the kids’ trick-or-treat. For this Halloween, though, isn’t it nice to give your dog a treat too by taking them on an horrifyingly fun adventure? Because we love your dog, Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours, in partnership with PetWants Charlotte, takes Halloween to the next level with our Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine Tasting Tour and Costume Contest.

cute dog in a halloween costume
This cute lil guy is excited to join the Dog Halloween Costume Contest

We’ll start the day with a “hair-ofying” hike at the “spooktacular” Pilot Mountain State Park, where we can you can enjoy the amazing views from above the winery rich Yadkin Valley, the vast Sauratown Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the northwest, and the skyline of Downtown Winston Salem to the South. Rising abruptly 2,400 feet from the valley floor, Pilot Mountain has long been a navigational and recreational landmark, offering miles of trails of different difficulty levels from super easy to challenging.

Are you and your dog up for this challenge? Tickets are limited! Book our Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine Tasting Tour and Costume Contest now: happytailstours.com/tours/halloween/

 

Dog Halloween Event
Put on your dog’s scariest costume. Prizes at stake!

Happy Tails wants to make this Halloween a memorable one for your dog and you!

Hike “survivors” (spooky halloween laugh here) will then proceed to RagApple Lassie, one of Yadkin Valley’s most dog-friendly and award-winning wineries, for a picnic lunch and wine-tasting. Experience local culture and savor the richness of their award-winning wines. We also make sure to give the best treats that your four-legged monsters may devour.

Then comes the main event: the HOWL-O-WIN Costume Competition, where both dogs and humans can showcase their scariest costumes. Prizes will be awarded to the:

  • Best Dog Costume
  • Best Human Costume
  • Best Human/Dog Combo Costumes
  • Best Homemade Costumes

Of course, you can’t go to Yadkin Valley just to visit one winery. After the costume contest, we’ll take you to the super dog friendly Misty Creek Winery to cap the day off with dessert and more fine wines, to be followed by the announcement of the winners and awarding of the prizes.

Dress up your dog on our Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine Tasting Tour and Costume Contest. Limited slots only! Book now: happytailstours.com/tours/halloween/

 

Happy Tails Tours dog costume contest
Celebrate this year’s Halloween with your best canine buddy. Happy Tails Tours has got you covered.

Your participation will go a long way.

Ten percent of the proceeds from all tickets sold will go to either PetWants Give Match Feed Program to help feed the animals still impacted by Hurricane Florence, or to the Humane Society of Charlotte. Not only are you going to make your dog happy; you’ll be able to help other animals as well.

Humane society of charlotte logopet wants charlotte logo

 

The Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine Tasting Tour and Costume Contest will be on October 21, 2018, at 8am-7pm.

Celebrate Halloween for a cause with Happy Tails Tours and PetWants Charlotte on our Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine Tasting Tour and Costume Contest. Book a slot HERE.

 

Canine dog halloween costume contest
Help an animal in need. Book the Canine Halloween Hiking & Wine-Tasting Tour and Costume Contest now.

 

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSIONS
  • Traveling with your dog!
  • Hiking in pilot mountain state park
  • Incredible mountain views
  • Wine tastings
  • Transportation to/from Charlotte
  • Wine tastings in 2 wineries
  • Picnic lunch, snacks, drinks, & dog treats
  • Tour guide
  • Prizes

 

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:
happytailstours.com/youtube


If you’re looking for Asheville tours, or just planning for the next adventure with your dog, then you have come to the right place!

After the successful launching of Howl At The Moon and The Fox adventure tours, Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours yet again kicks off an amazing tour that your four-legged canine pal will surely love. Two days of pure fun and relaxation with just you, your dog and like-minded adventurers on The Hound – Asheville 2 Day Tour.

From Charlotte, we will head westward and upward, into the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chimney Rock State Park. Admire the amazing 75-mile vista overlooking the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Following an invigorating morning hike, have a picnic lunch with your canine buddy and relax in the presence of nature. Then we will proceed to Asheville, where more adventures await.

Let’s hike at the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chimney Rock State Park on The Hound – Asheville 2 Day Tour! Book now before slots run out: happytailstours.com/Asheville2

Hiking with Dog
Living the life! Our canine buddy is on top of the world – literally and figuratively.

Why Asheville?

You’ll never have to worry about the welfare of your dog – Asheville ranks second in the USA’s most pet-friendly towns. With its great climate, fine dining, wineries, breweries, and wide variety of outdoor adventures to choose from, your dog and you will definitely be living the dream.

Discover public art and shop to your heart’s content in Asheville’s walkable downtown. Happy Tails Tours will also take you to the finest, dog-friendly pubs and breweries, where you can spend a laid-back time with your canine pal. Then for dinner, you can pick any location you want. This growing city never runs out of delicious and unique restaurants to try, for tourists and locals alike. Dogs are welcome too!

After an exciting day of hiking and exploring Asheville, rest your tired feet and spend the night at one of Asheville’s most pet-friendly hotels. Happy Tails Tours got you all covered.

What’s a dog-friendly city like? Book our The Hound – Asheville 2 Day Tour to find out:
happytailstours.com/Asheville2

Asheville Tours
Having a blast in the snow. The cold never bothered Margie and Dozer.

The second day will be just as fun as the first one! A variety of activities are in store for your dog and you.

David, the owner of Happy Tails Tours himself, will take you on a guided walking tour around historic parts of Asheville. You can also explore downtown or paddleboard with your dog on the French Broad River. Then we’ll take you on a leisurely trip back to Charlotte after lunch. Depending on the season, we can finish off this amazing tour with apple-picking or wine-tasting at one of North Carolina’s award-winning, most dog-friendly wineries.

Top Dog Tours
“Row faster, dad.” Margie and Dozer having the time of their lives with David.
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSIONS
  • WINE AND BEER TASTING
  • CHIMNEY ROCK STATE PARK
  • DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE
  • BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS
  • LODGING
  • TRANSPORTATION FOR YOU AND 1 PUP
  • STATE PARK ENTRANCE FEES
  • TOUR GUIDE

Sounds good? We only have TWO SCHEDULES LEFT FOR THIS YEAR (Oct. 3 & Nov. 7)!
What are you waiting for? Book now: happytailstours.com/Asheville2

 

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

happytailstours.com/youtube


This will be one of the best dog adventures you’ll ever experience!

Imagine hiking on the Pilot Mountain, taking in the greenery and the spectacular views of nature. After this hike, you are to proceed to the finest wineries in Yadkin Valley, where some of the best wines are produced. Now, imagine experiencing this whole adventure with your canine pal. Sounds wonderful, right? We have a great news for you! Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours brings this idea to reality with our The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting tour.

The adventure starts with a morning hike at Pilot Mountain state park, where you can enjoy the amazing views from above the winery rich Yadkin Valley, the vast Sauratown Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the northwest, and the skyline of Downtown Winston Salem to the South. Rising abruptly 2,400 feet from the valley floor, Pilot Mountain has long been a navigational and recreational landmark, offering miles of trails of different difficulty levels and camping areas. Because we care for your dog, we organize hikes that are guaranteed dog-friendly.

Hike with us and see the world in a different perspective on The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting tour. Book now before slots run out: https://www.happytailstours.com/Fox

Best dog
This is the life! This furball and his dad makes it to the Pilot Mountain.

Happy Tails makes sure that you and your dog are given an experience of a lifetime!

After the hike, we’ll have a picnic lunch at one of the award winning wineries on the days itinerary. We pack treats for your four-legged buddy as well. These are all part of the The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting tour package, making sure that every experience is not only dog-friendly, but also dog-focused.

The fun doesn’t end there. As a highlight of the afternoon, we are taking you to two of the finest wineries in Yadkin Valley. Experience local culture like you’ve never had before and savor the richness of their award-winning wines. Whether you are with a group or just traveling with your furry companion, this is surely an experience you would never want to miss.

Discover the best local dog-friendly wineries in Yadkin Valley on The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting tour. Book now before slots run out: https://www.happytailstours.com/Fox

Pet Friendly
Time for wine. Our fur parents enjoy a laid-back afternoon in one of the best and most pet-friendly wineries in Yadkin Valley.

Happy Tails proudly specializes in unique small-group tours with a highly specialized service and great attention to detail.

We are meticulous in terms of tour preparations. We commit to providing the best adventure tour service and at the same time transforming the lives of each client through a shared meaningful experience with their dogs. Our passion for dogs and adventures makes The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting a tour with a heart and purpose.

For this year, we have seven tours left on our schedule for The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting. These are on September 3, October 7, 14, & 21. Book now before it’s too late!

Hiking With Dog
It’s a day of pure bliss for these dogs and their humans. Adventure + dogs made possible by Happy Tails Tours.
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUSIONS
  • Traveling with your dog!
  • Hiking in Pilot Mountain State Park
  • Incredible mountain views
  • Wine tastings
  • Transportation from Charlotte
  • Wine tastings in two wineries
  • Picnic lunch and dog treats
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide with 20+ years experience

Take your adventures to a whole new level on The Fox – Yadkin Valley Hiking & Wine Tasting tour. Book now before slots run out: https://www.happytailstours.com/Fox

 

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/

Subscribe to our YouTube channel:

happytailstours.com/youtube


Happy Tails Tours is about having fun while building a deeper relationship between dogs and their humans.

It is every dog owner’s responsibility to take their canine pals out on a regular basis, for exercise as well as for their necessary functions. And while we love our dogs very much, we can’t deny that sometimes it can feel a bit tedious and routine to have to walk them. If dogs could talk, they would tell you that it bores them as much as it does us. But what if I were to tell you that there is a fun way to get their furry legs moving? If you’re living in or around Charlotte, we’ve got you covered! Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours can bring your dog and you on a night full of adventures and amazing experiences. This blog about our Charlotte Tours will give you insight on what to expect and how you can take part in this fantastic and life-changing experience.

 

Charlotte Tours: Howl At The Moon - Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure
Two of our friends, with their canine pal, explore the river under the full moon.

 

LAST CHANCE TO JOIN The Howl At The Moon – Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure tour for this year!
Sept 21 & 22, 2018  Book Now: happytailstours.com/howl

 

We offer a variety of wonderful tours, and one of them is the Howl At The Moon – Full Moon Kayak & Stand Up Paddleboard Adventure. Yes, you’ve read that right. Happy Tails is taking you to the Catawba River to enjoy different water activities while bathing under the full moon. Kayaking and SUP are no longer just for humans; dogs can now enjoy them too.

Charlotte Tours: Howl At The Moon - Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure
These furballs are having a wonderful, relaxing time on their mom’s lap.

As a tour guide for 20 plus years who bring my dogs on every tour, our co-founder David and his wife Claudia always see to it that the safety of my tour companions is given the utmost importance. Hence, for this Howl At The Moon – Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure tour, which begins at Tailrace Marina at 7:00 in the evening, we start off with a dog and human meet and greet and snacks for all. Next, we have a safety briefing and then get everyone set up in their kayaks or on their SUPs, with all the needed equipment, and then get going. The real fun begins after this, as we paddle and explore the river with our canine best friends.

 

Charlotte Tours: Howl At The Moon - Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure
Not scared at all! This brave soul is ready to conquer the river.

 

Whether kayaking and SUP is your thing or not, there is nothing to worry about. We can teach you how to get on your boats and paddleboards. Or you can explore the beauty of nature with your dog under the full moon’s natural light. This is a rare opportunity for your furry buddy and you to marvel at the nocturnal beauties around the river. You can also have a picnic with your four-legged buddy while basking in the incredible view of nature.

Charlotte Tours: Howl At The Moon - Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure
David (red kayak), guides and bonds with the group and their four-legged buddies.

While it is a dog and human-focused tour, you do not need to bring a dog in order to participate.

We understand that you might just want to hang out with like-minded adventurers and their canine pals. We could even offer you a dog-for-the-day if you would like!

Our dogs are special, and they deserve to be treated and pampered at least every once in a while. So, join our next Happy Tails Howl At The Moon – Full Moon Kayak and SUP Adventure this September 21 & 22, 2018.

You can book it here happytailstours.com/howl

Don’t miss out because these are the LAST HOWL TOURS OF THE YEAR!

Charlotte Tours: Howl At The Moon - Full Moon Kayak & SUP Adventure
This dog surely loves the river.

 

Book the tour now to explore the light of the full moon kayaking & SUP with your dog 🐕 this coming Sept 21 & 22, 2018  happytailstours.com/howl

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/


Traveling is always a great idea. It gives us a whole new perspective that can never be found within the four corners of the office, or even at home. It allows us to start new friendships and renew bonds among old friends. Most importantly, it helps us reconnect with nature and transform our lives for the better. However, for some fur parents who can never leave their beloved dogs alone, traveling seems to be a far-fetched dream.  But hey, news flash: Traveling is not just for humans anymore! We at Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours offer you fun things to do in Charlotte NC and a chance to spend time with your four-legged buddies in nature, rather than having to leave them at home. Not only are we dog-friendly; we are dog-focused. We want them to get as much out of the experience as you are!

Demetria Mosley of the Gaston Gazette writes about fun things to do in Charlotte, NC, and in her article about our Howl At The Moon Tour, writes about our humble beginnings and the common love for dogs and adventures that made Happy Tails Tours what it is. It’s an honor to share how our three cherished canine family members transformed our lives and helped us reconnect with nature. We want you to experience the same too, and for that we are organizing a Howl At The Moon tour by North Carolina’s Catawba River. This event will be on September 21 & 22, 2018.

 

To read more about the article: happytailstours.com/Gaston-Gazette

To find out more about our tours: happytailstours.com/tours/

Don’t forget to share this article with your dog lover friends and like us on our  Facebook page:
facebook.com/HappyTailsTours

Follow us on Instagram here:
instagram.com/happytailstours/


There are many things that have shaped who I am and how I interact in the world, but none more so than travel, at least not until I started traveling with dogs.

In 1993, Trek America changed my life. I was 24 years old when after a few weeks of training they handed me the keys to a van, 13 young people from all over the world, and $4000 and essentially said “Drive safe, have fun, and bring everyone back in one piece!” I did, and I was hooked, both on guiding and on travel. In 2000, when I loaded my dog Max on the back of my motorcycle, my life took its next big turn! That’s when I began traveling with dogs and really experienced the transformational power of combining travel and animals, and, once we got into the Canadian wilderness a week later, the trifecta was complete! The power of traveling with dogs in nature, and the connection that resulted, was unparalleled in my experience.

Trek America 2018 Reunion Group Picture
Trek America 2018 Reunion Group Picture

Last week I spent 4 days in the Redwoods of Northern California at a reunion of some of the most wonderful people that I’ve been privileged to share my life with. It was reunion where everyone was family, yet almost no one was related. The reunion was of Trek America tour leaders. There were guides from the early 70’s all the way up to folks who have only been with the company a few years now. Everyone there agreed that Trek and travel had had an amazing, undeniable positive impact on their lives and on the lives of the passengers who it had been their privilege to guide for the past 46 years.

And everyone was supportive and thrilled with the idea of Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours. Because we are all intensely passionate about travel and sharing that experience to transform people’s lives for the better, everyone felt instinctively that traveling with dogs was definitely the next step in the genesis of travel and its power of transforming lives.

David Blank of Happy Tails Tours in the Trek America Reunion at Redwoods California

I could go on about what a great experience it was connecting with old friends as well as making many new friends. Or about how Jack, who hired and trained me in 1992 and put the whole reunion together is an amazing person, role model and inspiration for me and many of us who were there. Both of those things are true and I’m incredibly grateful to Jack and everyone for their love, support and energy!

dog hammock adventure tours

But what I really left the reunion with was clarity about the incredible transformative power of traveling with dogs in nature and an inspiring certainty that Happy Tails Tours is the most revolutionary, most appropriate and most important project I have ever worked on. Happy Tails is a culmination of my years of international travel, adventure guiding, studying dog training and learning about people and nature. It’s continued growth and success is a result of not only hard work but also trusting that the roads life has taken me down have been the right ones.

As a guide I have been blessed. I’ve gotten to experience so many amazing new and wonderful things, from cities like New York, San Francisco & Vancouver, to Bison in Yellowstone, to hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, to spending time on a small uninhabited Panamanian island in the Caribbean watching the Pleiades meteor shower, to the northern lights in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Even better, I often get to experience those things more than once. And better still, by sharing those incredible things and places with clients, I get to re-experience everything again as if for the first time because I am experiencing it through their eyes. I get to experience the wonder and amazement and excitement, and sometimes even fear, all over again, and it just keeps feeding my soul!

Trek america 2018 reunion with all the tour leaders

Now, with Happy Tails, I get to go deeper! Not only do I get to share the world with people, but also with their dogs. Not only will I be able to experience things again through the human eyes, but also through the pure eyes of man’s best friend. And most importantly, not only have I been so deeply blessed as to have a relationship with my dogs that has transformed my life and who I am, but I’ll be doubly blessed to be of service by helping other dogs and their humans live a fuller life, together, as they have that same intense transformational bonding experience that makes life so much richer. Guiding people traveling with dogs – what more could any one person hope for?

Simply book one of our amazing tours at happytailstours.com/tours and show up with your dog. Nature, your dog, and Happy Tails will take care of the rest!

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Today Margie, Dozer & I spent the morning Stand Up Paddleboarding with my friend Jamie and his awesome canine sidekick Keystone at the US National Whitewater Center. Jamie and I have a lot of interests in common, especially dogs and adventure activities, even though we come from pretty different backgrounds. The important thing is that we both have learned that any adventure activity, including traveling with your dog or canine sidekick, can be intimidating if not downright scary at first. Some of us start off slower and some dive in head first. There’s no right way.

dog water adventure tour
Jamie and his awesome canine sidekick Keystone at the US National Whitewater Center.

Jamie has turned into a very active backpacker and outdoor adventurer even though he didn’t grow up doing it. I grew up on a farm, rode my first runaway horse at 5 years old, and spent most of my college career road tripping around the southwest camping in any open space, and eventually ending up backpacking and hitchhiking through east & South Africa before becoming a professional guide.

Traveling with your dogJamie and I both agreed that the key to being comfortable with any adventure activity, whether traveling with your dog or not, is to start off only as far out of your comfort zone as you can handle without making it an entirely unpleasant or traumatic experience for you, or your canine sidekick. Each of us has our own boundaries and we have to be able to take care of ourselves. Sometimes that means getting some help.

Traveling with your dog

For example, when I was 20 I planned a 3 month backpacking trip to Europe with a college friend. At the last minute he had to cancel, and no way I was going alone. Luckily my mother suggested a tour. It was a brilliant suggestion. I spent 2 weeks with a group doing a kamikaze 7 countries in 14 days. After that I was much more comfortable and confident and spent the next 3 months on my own, having an amazing time. Sometimes we just need an opportunity to get our feet wet before we dive in.

It reminds me of my days teaching skiing in Taos, New Mexico. Taos is steep and deep. Its one of the toughest mountains in the US. One day I watched a lady in her 50’s arguing with her husband about going down a very advanced intermediate run. She was still at the top with the option of taking the easy run to the left. He was about 30 feet down, yelling to her: “Come on baby! You can do it!” She kept responding that she wasn’t comfortable. I skied over to her and with my back to him asked if it was her husband. “Yes, it is.” I asked, “Do you love him?” to which she replied yes again. “Do you want to stay married to him?” i asked, to which she said yes, yet again. “Ignore him and go the other way. The runs come together again half way down.” And I skied away back to my friends.

Her husband kept encouraging her even though she was obviously terrified. She kept looking from him to me, and finally turned her back on him and skied away, ignoring his calls. A few hours later at lunch, she found me on the deck and came up and thanked me. “That was the best advice I’ve ever listened to. Thank you!” Like I said, sometimes we just need a little help. She was already pushing her boundaries pretty hard just skiing at Taos. She didn’t need to prove anything and certainly didn’t need to push so much that she’d quit skiing altogether.

That’s a big part of what we want to provide to people, a place to start. We created Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours because we have seen the incredible benefits that result from experiencing travel, adventure, and especially traveling with your dog. We want to share that and help others. Whether you are a novice who wants to gain the skills and knowledge to travel with your dog on your own, or if you just want to bring your awesome canine sidekick on a series of fantastic Happy Tails Tours adventures, you will know how and that you can. Our goal is to help create that relationship between you and your dog so that they trust you, you trust them, and you both have the confidence to explore that relationship and the world in depth, together.

 

Full moon kayak adventure tour
Join us on an outstanding full moon adventure on the Catawba River at Tailrace Marina.

 


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My experience is that many of us get a dog because we desire that sidekick that accompanies us everywhere, sitting patiently outside of shops or work or school for us to come out for another chance to be with us. My dog Max was that way. It came relatively easy, not because I’m some sort of dog whisperer or expert at dog obedience training, but because Max and I spent a year traveling right after I got him, and we were constantly together.

In order to be able to really have that kind of relationship with your dog, you have to invest a lot of time and energy. Even after a lot of dog obedience training they will likely be far from perfect but will be surprisingly easy to deal with, whether you are traveling on your own or with us at Happy Tails Canine Adventure Tours. Whether staying at pet friendly hotels, flying with your dog, or exploring amazing new places like the U.S. National Whitewater Center or Dog Friendly Asheville, or simply having them relax calmly next to us while we eat at a great dog friendly restaurant, dog obedience training is the most rewarding and most important gift that you could give to your dog, and to yourself.

 

Full moon kayak adventure tour
Join us on an outstanding full moon adventure on the Catawba River at Tailrace Marina.

 

Traveling with your dog is a great way to deepen that relationship including your communication, and that’s a big part of why we created Happy Tails Tours. But for most people with a limited amount of vacation time, they will have to start at home before hitting the road. There are different modalities or schools of thought in dog training, and again, you do not have to be a dog whisperer! Any good dog trainer that you work with will be able to give you a “set of tools” or techniques that require little to no expertise as long as you use the tools correctly and consistently. So whether you are a proponent of positive reinforcement training (such as clicker training), a follower of the dog whisperer, or any other method or combination of techniques, the key is to commit 100% and follow through.

The most important thing is consistency. Dogs are going to constantly test you both during dog obedience training and throughout their life. As hard as it can be, our rules have to be non-negotiable in order to achieve success. If you don’t want them to beg at the table, you can never break the rule of not feeding them at the table. You could enforce it 9 times out of ten, but that tenth will let them know that there’s always a chance that this time could be that one time when begging and bad behavior pays off. The same goes for any other rule. If you tell them to sit, they need to sit. If you don’t follow through, then they will think to themselves, “It’s ok, she isn’t serious. I’ll do it next time.” And if you have to tell them twice, or as some people do, five times, then they learn that “I don’t have to sit until the 5th time.” Or “…until he gets that loud voice.” Sound familiar? I know enough from my own experience with our three dogs that I could probably write more on dog obedience training don’ts and mistakes than on what to do.

So the question is how do we get consistency. It starts with the simple basics and in my next blog, I’ll go into detail, such as the importance of setting your dog and thus yourself up for success!


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