Fall Bucket List: 15 Dog-Friendly Fall Activities
Does cooler weather inspire you to go on adventures and enjoy dog-friendly fall activities? Maybe you’re even thinking about creating an entire fall bucket list of fun things to do with your dog.
But where do you start?
That’s where Chloe, my red Goldendoodle sidekick, and I can help. We’re so glad you’re here! Grab your pumpkin spice latte, snuggle up with your pup, and get inspired with our list of 15 dog-friendly fall activities. We did our furry best to create ideas that not only you and your dog will love, but also that have fun twists and special names to make each dog-friendly activity as festive as fall should be!
15 fun dog-friendly fall activities for your bucket list
1. Take your dog on a sniffari.
If plans for faraway adventures have been dashed due to these crazy times, plan your own adventure with your dog—a sniffari. You and your dog don’t need anything but time, a good sense of adventure…and your dog’s sense of smell. You can take a sniffari in your own backyard, neighborhood, or park.
What’s a sniffari? Since you’re a dog lover, you probably know that our dogs have a sense of smell that puts our hooman olfactory senses to shame. But here’s the really fascinating piece: results from a study found that dogs who were allowed “foraging” time were actually happier! (You can find detailed results of the study at ScienceDirect.com.)
A sniffari is an outing where your dog gets to gloriously sniff the surroundings and explore the world based on scents. Essentially, it is intentionally giving your dog a chance to stop and smell the roses or fall leaves or all the scents in the air.
So rather than walking with the purpose of going somewhere or hustling around the block, why not walk your dog with a sense of adventure! Allow your dog to stop to investigate that fall leaf on the ground or butterfly that landed on the bush or the scent of a rabbit who must have crossed the path ahead of you. Your dog will love you for planning a sniffing sniffari and adding it to your fall bucket list.
2. Visit a dog-friendly pumpkin patch. (And pick the cutest pumpkin from it!)
Many pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and fall outdoor businesses are open this autumn. Plus, many are pet-friendly. (However, it’s probably worth a Google search or phone call to confirm hours, pet-friendly guidelines, or special instructions.)
So if you and your dog love getting outside, why not add picking out the cutest pumpkin from the patch to your fall bucket list. To give your visit to a pumpkin patch a dog-friendly twist, let your dog be the one to pick out the pumpkin.
Here’s how: Which ever pumpkin your dog sniffs is the one you choose. Of course, while your furry friend is picking the pumpkin, you can remind your dog of your love by saying…
“Out of all the pumpkins in the patch, I’d pick you!”
3. Plan a fur baby photoshoot.
There’s something about the crisp fall air, the sun’s angle in the sky, and the way the falling leaves catch the light that makes for the perfect photo op for your dog. If a fall photoshoot with your fur baby is on your bucket list, here are a few tips:
- Plan your “fur baby photoshoot” in the morning or early evening when the sun is “just right.” Professional photographers refer to the time just before sunset or just after sunrise as the “golden hour.” It’s the time of day when the sun casts a beautiful light that gives everything a golden glow.
- For better composition and to capture your dog’s natural expressions, get down on your dog’s level. (Hint: If the ground is wet with morning dew or frost, grab a yoga mat so you can lie on it while taking pictures. Your dog won’t mind the dew, but you might.)
- Keep the session positive, short, and fun for your dog. Candid photos of your dog doing what comes naturally will capture your dog’s personality just as much as posed photos.
4. Take the scenic route.
Fall weather means fall leaves changing in spectacular hues of crimson, gold, and ochre. If your dog loves car rides, why not take the scenic route? Your dog will enjoy just being part of the pack and sniffing new smells along any new route you take.
5. Watch a football game with your dog and play a little backyard pick-up game at halftime.
If fall signals the beginning of football games and cheering on your favorite players, why not make your dog part of the team? You can dress your dog as your favorite player and then take plenty of pics. If you’re searching for team gear for your dog, Amazon has a great selection. Plus, Amazon prime days are coming up October 13 and 14, so there may be some great deals.
As part of the furry football game fun, remember to toss your dog’s own favorite ball around in the backyard at halftime. While Chloe’s dressed out in Mahome’s gear, she’s actually our number one wide receiver on our team. As a ball dog through and through, she is always up for catching some passes thrown her way.
6. Enjoy the fall colors by taking a hike.
Hiking or taking a walk in a park is another great opportunity for your dog to explore and be part of your family’s pack. Many state parks are dog-friendly, have walking trails, and are open again this fall.
7. Share some doggy gratitude.
Fall is the season of giving thanks and counting blessings. If you’re searching for another dog-friendly activity to add to your fall bucket list, why not create a doggy gratitude day? For example, you could plan a day or afternoon of showing all the people who care for your dog some appreciation.
How to plan a doggy gratitude day:
- Make a list of people who care for or love your dog. This could include your veterinarian, vet techs, dog walkers, pet sitters, professional groomers, family members, neighbors, or even delivery people.
- Show each person how grateful you and your dog are for them by sharing a note, thank-you card, goodies, or even a gift basket.
- Here is just one example of a doggy gratitude activity:
Show the vet techs and veterinarians who provide extraordinary care for your pooch some grratitude with a special surprise. It could be as simple as a thank-you card signed with your dog’s pawprint or name. Or you could make a more elaborate gift basket. A gratitude basket could be filled with fall-themed goodies like pumpkin spice donuts, pet-themed stickers, magnets, or even something for the staff’s own dogs such as dog bandanas. Plus, you could plan your doggy gratitude activity around National Vet Technician Week, which this year is October 11 through 17.
8. Go “twin or treating” with your dog this Halloween.
If your trick or treating plans have changed this year, why not plan an evening of “twin or treating” at home with your dog!
- Come up with a twins-themed Halloween costume for you and your doggo to wear. To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few dog Halloween costume ideas: Dorothy and Toto, squirrel and acorn, Chewbacca and Hans Solo, Jane Jetson and her dog Astro.
- Take a few selfies of the two of you in your twinning costumes. Add a cute caption like “Twinning and Grinning,” “Twin or Treat,” or “Happy Howl-o-ween” and post to Instagram or social media.
- Now for the treats! Play some of your dog’s favorite brain games and reward with a special doggy treat. If you need some ideas for dog-friendly games, check out my article: 14 Games to Play With Your Dog.
9. Play a game of corn hole.
If you’re searching for a family activity where your dog can be your cheerleader or just observe, have you tried corn hole? It’s a bean bag tossing game for four players. Our dogs love to watch and sometimes join in on the game by picking up the bean bags. If you decide to play a game of corn hole with your family including furry family members, I’m giving you bonus points if you can teach your dog to drop the bag in the corn hole!
10. Play extra games of fetch.
No fall bucket list for dog lovers would be complete without including dog fetch games. Cooler weather is a perfect time for extra games of fetch, especially for ball-loving dogs. Fetch is Chloe’s absolute favorite game to play in the fall, spring, summer, and winter.
11. Plan a pet-friendly cabin or camping getaway.
Lately, many dog lovers are choosing to trade in the weekend hotel getaway for tent camping or even adventuring in an RV. If you can’t get away for tenting or RVing, why not try glamping (glamour + camping) in the backyard with your dog!
12. Book your dog’s grooming appointment.
While making a grooming appointment isn’t exactly a fun-filled activity, professional groomers book up fast during the winter holidays. The first days of fall are the perfect time to go ahead and get your holiday grooming appointment booked. Or, if you’re ready to learn how to groom your dog at home, now is the perfect time. For DIY grooming tips, check out our articles on using cornstarch to remove a dog mat, how to trim a Goldendoodle’s face, and Goldendoodle grooming 101.
13. Plan a fall play date with your dog’s best furiend.
If you have a fenced in backyard or another space where your dog can safely romp and play, why not plan a doggie play date? Invite one of your dog’s best furry friends over for an hour or even afternoon to play, romp, and have fun together. (Plus, puppy play dates are a great energy burn for many social dogs.)
14. Make a list of even more ideas for your dog-friendly fall bucket list.
Still need more ideas? Here’s are even more fun fall bucket list ideas:
- Go apple picking with your dog
- Buy your dog a new fall outfit
- Start planning your holiday shopping list together
- Go through a drive-thru for a latte and a puppucino
15. Have a snugglefest!
Finally, after a fun day of dog-friendly fall activities, snuggle up with your furry bestie. What a blessing it is to have your faithful dog by your side to do the best thing of all—just be in each other’s company and enjoy doing nothing in particular together. Any time spent with your beloved dog is time well spent.
Inspired? Please join our happy pack!
What would you add to your fall bucket list dog-friendly activities?
Please comment below!