We <3 our canine companions. They give us their unconditional love day in and day out.
Of course, our lives are much busier than theirs so they don’t always get the attention they deserve. That’s why it’s important to dedicate time just for them.
What better way to show your dog you care than a getaway to the doggy paradise that is Whistler!?
Here are 8 ways to give them an unforgettable vacation:
Vacations don’t mean the same to dogs as they do to most humans. They’re not looking to get away from it all because they spend most of their time relaxing at home waiting for you. So when vacation planning for you and your dog make sure you go somewhere packed full of adventures and activities.
In the spring and summer, Whistler is buzzing with people and their dogs going on bike rides, hikes, walks, even paddleboarding and kayaking.
Imagine you’re taking a child on holiday: they would much rather spend their days exploring, trying new things and being active with you, than sitting on a beach watching you read a book. That’s how your dog feels.
2. Plan play dates with new friends
Like us, dogs are social animals. Some breeds are also cognitively very active and get a lot of enjoyment from making new friendships, exploring new group dynamics, solving problems or having a ‘job’ to do.
Whistler has 4 designated dog parks, 3 dog beaches with swimming docks, thousands of kilometers of dog-friendly trails and a very dog-friendly village full of stores just waiting to welcome your friend with treats and cuddles. Most restaurants and cafes will also let your dog sit on the patio with you.
The best times to visit Whistler’s dog parks for socialising: First thing in the morning (7.30am – 8.45am), lunchtime (12pm – 1.30pm) and early evening (3.30pm – 5pm) – this is when most locals walk their dogs.
3. Let them be a dog
As wonderful and rewarding as it is to spend quality time with your dog, there are just some things they love to do that humans will never enjoy – like chewing sticks, wrestling in the dirt, chasing squirrels and sniffing butts – but this is the stuff that they enjoy the most.
You can quite easily find yourself out in the middle of nowhere with no one to annoy if they bark or run around off leash. Dogs can be dogs.
Sure, most major cities have dog parks too, but take just a 30 min walk from the village out on to our hiking and biking trails and you’ll soon see your dog chasing, sniffing, chewing and barking in a whorl of unrestrained fun!
Photo taken on a camping trip on Lillooet River, just north of Whistler.
4. Set aside time to wander. Discover new places together
Discovering new things together can help strengthen the bond of trust between you and your dog. Pick one our our trails, one that you’ve never done before, pack-up some food, water and supplies and off you go. Venture in to the unknown. Two best friends off on a real adventure.
One of our favourite trails to recommend: The Crate Rim trail at Loggers Lake, Whistler.
5. Explore beyond your comfort zone and learn new things together
Dogs really enjoy learning new things and, in Whistler, learning expands far beyond tricks and commands – this winter we started ski touring with our dog so he could learn a new activity in a new environment.
From teaching them how to run alongside your bike on our network of green mountain bike trails, to swimming out to a dock in the middle of the lake, or just exploring new hiking trails. In the spring and summer, Whistler is the perfect place for you and your dog to learn new things together.
This summer we’ll be learning: How to padddleboard with our dog.
Photo taken on a weekend ski tour to Wendy Thompson Hut, near Whistler.
6. Put down your phone and be present
Dogs only live for around 10 – 15 years and, for an average dog, a lot of that time is spent alone while you’re at work, out with friends or on vacation. Dogs love play time, but they also really enjoy just being with you. So if you do need some relaxation time, try taking them along…but make sure you don’t just sit there looking at your phone. Dogs are wonderful at clearing stress and negative energy if you let them.
Dogs also can exhibit envy, and we have known dogs to paw phones out of the hands of their owners to get their attention!
Our favourite place to relax together: Brandywine Falls, south of Whistler, were we come to just admire the view of Daisy Lake.
7. Listen and talk to each other
Dogs are great listeners, but not to the language you speak. Dogs listen intently to emotions in body language and tone of voice. Although they do not directly understand the words you say they are in tune with the spirit with which you’re saying them. Have you heard the saying: “it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it”?
Love is an important emotion for social species like humans and dogs and, because it’s impossible for a dog to understand the words “I love you”, it’s important that your body language and tone say it instead. Talking is one of the most overlooked ways to engage with your dog.
One of our favourite place hang out and talk: On the dock at Lost Lake, in Whistler Village.
8. Be thankful for the little things
There is a saying: “those who are thankful are happy; not those who are happy are thankful”.
Hopefully if you follow even some of the seven steps above you’ll love every moment of your vacation together, no matter where you are.