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5 outdoor activities for first time dog owners in Vancouver

Dogs are loveable furballs. We treat them like our kids, and what's not to like about that? They come in different breeds - some are naturally active and adventurous, while others just want nothing more than to spend the day snuggling indoors.


If you're an avid outdoorsman who recently adopted a furry buddy, then chances are that your dog is like you in many ways. Whether it's the breed, the type of exercise he prefers, or just your personal preference, sometimes you want to make sure that your four-legged friend is getting everything out of his relationship with you (besides the obvious cuddles and food). If not, then where's the fun?


Over time, you'll learn what your dog is like and will get better at finding suitable activities for both of you to enjoy. So get outside with your pup while you still can - you may find that he loves hiking, camping, or going to the park just as much as you do.


If you live in Vancouver, you're in luck because the city is one of the friendliest places for dogs. Here's what's waiting for you out there:


1. Stanley Park

Covering a thousand acres of forest and an ideal terrain, this is Vancouver's most popular destination for dog owners. The park has everything from short, paved trails to difficult rock scrambles. But arguably, the most enjoyable area is the seawall park - where you meet other dog owners, walkers, and cyclists from early morning to late evening.


This is the perfect place for your dog to get used to other dogs and people, which you can then take advantage of by going on longer trips.



2. Hadden Park Dog Beach

It's called a "dog beach" for some good measure; with a wide field of sand and a few trees for shade, this is far from the secluded shores that you might be used to. However, it's still worth coming by and letting your dog explore some new territory.


It's an off-leash area with plenty of other dogs for him to play with, but watch your pup around the shoreline because it's still a beach. Be on the lookout when your furry buddy takes a dip.


3. Lynn Canyon Park

Dogs won't complain if they walk all day, especially when they're off the leash. But that's not the only fun outdoor activity out there. For example, Lynn Canyon Park offers one of the best dog-friendly hikes in all of Vancouver.


It has something for everyone - both experienced hikers and casual walkers alike will enjoy this place. The winding trails are well-maintained, and you'll get a good workout as well as stunning views of the canyon. As for your dog, the challenging terrain will make him pant and tire out faster, but all that fresh air will help him get a good night's sleep later.


Note: Dogs can get injured, too. Bring with you some basic first aid supplies in case he gets hurt.



4. Neighbourhood Walks

One of the perks of being a dog owner in Vancouver is that many establishments within the city limits are pet-friendly. Not many places allow you to bring Fido on a guided tour or local shopping, but this city begs to differ. So, if you're in no mood for a hike or long walk, take your dog to Granville Island for shopping. Put him on a leash as you shop for local produce and groceries at the Mainstreet Farmer's Market. For short walks in the city, go for the Forbidden Vancouver or the Historic Gastown tour.


Note: You must be considerate of other people, though. Not everyone likes dogs, so put your pup on a leash and not let him approach others.



5. North Shore Mountains

Dogs love the snow so much, and yours is no exception. There are plenty of good reasons to take your dog out into the cold, and it's not just because you want somebody to keep your feet warm. So, don't let the winter ruin your outdoor adventure plans by staying inside all season long.

The North Shore Mountains offer amazing views for everyone - and your dog will have a blast at Mount Seymour's Dog Mountain Trail. Another option is the Hollyburn Trail, situated in Cypress Provincial Park.


Be reminded though no matter how much your pup enjoys winter, he'll need some time to get used to it. Start slowly by bringing him out on short play dates or walks before committing yourself to a long hike.


Note: But be sure to bring his leash since most of these trails don't have patrols. So, it's your responsibility to keep your dog close. No one will step in to help with an off-leash dog running amok.


COVID-19 Restrictions

Be sure to check this link to know which places are open to the public. Although most parks and recreation centres in Vancouver have reopened in the past couple of months, some facilities remain closed until further notice.


Final Words

No matter what outdoor activity you and your dog will do together, always remember that safety comes first. So, make sure he's not too tired and bring water, too. Bring essential gear if you're hiking or camping.


And because some places remain closed until further notice, check this list before heading out so you won't get disappointed when arriving at the entrance gate only to find it closed.


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