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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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

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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


Dog parks are a great and necessary concept, especially as more and more apartment dwellers that don’t have a yard become dog owners. Dogs need a place to run and get exercise and its great for them to socialize with other dogs as long as its in a structured environment. But, over my years as a dog owner and dog trainer I’ve had more knowledge and experience than I would like of the negative side of dog parks. That’s yet another reason that the subject of last week’s blog, “Dog Communication; Calming signals and Dog Body Language” is so important. It’s essential if you are going to take your dog to a dog park to be able to understand what’s going on with them and the other dogs.

Another must if you are going to visit dog parks with your dog is that a dog park is a place for people to go with their dog and enjoy time with them off leash. It’s not a place to take a dog and sit on the phone or chat up friends and ignore their dog, which way too many people do. As a result, dogs can get hurt or traumatized and that trauma can be permanent. We experienced it with our own dog Margie. She was always sweet, friendly and passive, excited to see and meet other dogs, both known and unknown, welcoming and introducing herself in proper dog speak. She’d had a few scuffles with other dogs, but none that were severe or traumatic.

girl and dog at the dog parkThen a woman came with her very ball aggressive dog to play fetch. No one realized the issue and the woman was completely irresponsible about it. A responsible owner should and would never bring a ball or toy with a dog with a ball aggressive issue like that. When Margie approached the dog to say hello, a white Lab at least twice here size, the dog exploded with no warning and attacked her. I was there in an instant and she wasn’t physically injured, but there was a very clear shift in her personality after that. She’s still sweet, and gentle, but she’s a bit more standoffish now and doesn’t tolerate any inappropriate behavior from other dogs.

 

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

 

Seeing a trauma based shift like that in my own dog was really heartbreaking. It’s something no dog should ever experience and so while dog parks are great and a relatively safe way to spend off-leash time with your dog on a daily basis, make sure to pay attention, have a good recall and voice control over your dog, learn dog communication, and error on the side of caution. I always encourage dog owners that if they feel or sense any issue at the park, keep your dog close and if you can’t be sure, leaving is a good option.


I spent time working and attending private sessions with Matt from The Zen Dog in LA who works with people whose dogs often have pretty serious behavioral issues. One principle that he stresses is the importance of mental exercise and that “mental exhaustion trumps physical exhaustion every time”. While physical exercise is undeniably important, mental exercise and stimulation result in a dog with more mental and thus emotional self-control and discipline. Dogs that have substantial physical but limited or no mental exercise are like pro athletes…  but that is insane.

There are a number of ways to keep dogs mentally stimulated. There are great puzzle games available where you place treats inside and the dog has to figure out how to open the various compartments. Teaching dog tricks can be another great way to challenge them mentally, especially if you use a technique called shaping. Shaping can be challenging at first because you essentially are waiting for the dog to perform certain actions and then marking or rewarding little steps towards the behavior that you want. For example, if you want your dog to open the fridge and get you a soda, you might tie a towel to the door so the dog can pull the door open. Then when the dog makes any movement towards the refrigerator you would mark that behavior with a word, like “good”, or a sound, like a clicker, and then follow the mark with a treat. It’s like a game and every move by the dog that takes it closer to the towel is rewarded with a marker and a treat. Dogs will generally learn after doing shaping a few times that they can just start offering movements, actions and behaviors until they hit on the right one, and then they continue to perform it and adding other behaviors.

Many dogs have been bred to perform specific tasks. If you can get them to use those traits in a mental as well as physical way, you will be way ahead of the game. For example, if you have a retriever, rather than playing fetch you can also add in games of hide and seek where you hide treats or toys and have them find and retrieve them. Just remember to keep it under control so that they don’t get obsessive about the game. If that is an issue, keep switching it up. Remember that you are in charge. Games are another form of reward and should be played when they are behaving.

 

Basic obedience training is another great form of mental exercise and has the added benefit of shaping a dog that is a pleasure to be with and easy to travel with. There are a number of different methods of training obedience that are effective. The main thing is to find one that works for you and your dog to create a common language so that you are able to communicate and keep them safe and happy. One trainer told me a quote by George Bernard Shaw that is amazingly relevant – “The single greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Obedience training is not only about teaching your dog discipline but also about creating a common language to better communicate and avoid confusion and the accompanying stress. It’s important to remember that we humans really need to find and teach our dogs a common language in order to communicate, just as we would teach a child oral and then written language.

Training also requires spending time one on one with your dog and is a powerful way to build and strengthen your bond.  They are very intuitive and perceptive beings and are often very vigilant to our behavior, mood, and actions and looking to us to see what is next and if everything is ok. By creating that common language combined with strengthening our bond, they are able to relax much more and that makes life a lot more fun for everyone.