• Jessica Stough

Running With Dogs - Things to Do In California (Between Dog Races)

“A dog is one of the few things in life that is exactly what it seems.” – Unknown


It’s been another exciting few weeks – we’ve planned and executed a birthday party (successfully, I believe), had trips to the zoo and science center, made countless arts and crafts, and played out in the yard sprinkler a few times too. We have gotten into a routine with our new kiddo just in time for school to start and shake up that routine all over again.


Even the dogs have found a new routine – especially Buzz. His new bedtime routine consists of going to bed with the kiddo until she falls asleep. Then, he will get back up to come hang out with Zac and me while we watch TV and wind down for bed. He will sleep with us through the night, eat his breakfast, then go back to bed with the kiddo until she wakes up in the morning. Rascal has even slept with her a few times, and when this happens, she makes sure to let me know in the morning that, “I’ve not only got one buddy now, but I’ve got two. See? Rascal is sleeping with me too. Two buddies.”

 

By now, for those that have read nearly any of my posts, it is probably obvious that – next to my husband – my dog is my favorite travel companion. I’ve already shared it all before, so I’m not going to get into the story about why just one of our dogs gets to go on trips with us while the others stay back. People can either read back into older posts or just accept that Buzz is much better equipped for travel than all of the others.


That being said, he’s not only my second favorite travel companion, but he is also my very favorite running buddy (sorry to any and all of my running friends that maybe thought they held that title – especially to my BRFF, Mischa – I hope you understand!).


Those that have run with him know – he has a smile that is absolutely contagious and makes running seem like such an amazingly fun thing to do, even on days when it feels so difficult. Around this time last year, I learned all about canicross (read my post here or learn more from Canicross USA here). I had been running with him for quite some time, but had never known that there was a term and an entire community out there that also loved the sport.

With canicross season coming back soon, but the weather still hot and humid right now, I thought it would be a fun time to talk through a few things around canicross and some places to go for events.


Dogs can be really susceptible to extreme heat or extreme cold. I’ve already talked through some about the cold weather in my Kansas City post, but haven’t talked much through the heat. I’ve had multiple people ask me when I will run with Buzz and when I will leave him at home, so I thought what better place to put that information than on the blog.


In short, I have always watched more closely when temperatures creep above 70 or 75. Usually, here in Iowa, if the temperatures are above 75, the humidity is also high, so I’ll steer clear of running with him. However, when I started getting asked the question more frequently, I scoured the internet to find more information (so I can share actual facts instead of just my “Uh, well, I usually watch more closely around 75 degrees”).


I found an awesome reference guide that looks at both temperatures and humidity, from Australian Sleddog Sports Association Inc. (ASSA) here. It’s an awesome chart and shares a lot of good information on when to slow down, shorten runs, or avoid runs – but is all in Celsius, of course. With that, I decided to make my own chart for easy reference in Fahrenheit:


Ultimately, though, I am not a vet and will never pretend to be. For anyone interested in running with their dog, I would strongly encourage to always speak with the vet before starting any running plans. I have been sure to consistently keep our vet in the loop and to check in about Buzz’s running at every visit.


Once the vet gives the okay, though, its time to find a race. A lot of races are not dog-friendly, but there are great resources out there to find those that are. One website I’ve found is RunThatMutt.com, in which all dog-friendly races submitted to the site are listed by location. Another good site is called Canicross USA. Yet another place to visit is NA Canicross.

If someone is really willing to travel, there are numerous canicross events in the UK, as the sport is a lot more common there. The dog-friendly races through the United States are sporadic, but there are a lot of them in both the Wisconsin and California areas. Without further ado, because of that, the travel side of this post will dive into some ideas of things to do in California – I mean, what is a travel blog without some travel?!

 

Top Things to Do in California – Between Dog Races


National ParksJust remember, The National Parks Hate Dogs, so there are a lot of limitations for Fido at the National Parks



Museums and Other Tour Activities



Things to Do with Kids


 

Here’s the thing. We’ve already been to California, but we only stayed for roughly a week. We definitely didn’t have time to visit all of the cool places there are to see. I would be more than happy to visit again, with Buzz (and, of course, Zac), for a race and some fun things to do. The best part is that there are numerous things to do above and beyond what I listed – the things above are just a few starting points. There are wineries galore, breweries to see, and so many more cool state parks and other adventures to go on. My list just barely scratched the surface.

Either way, coming up with this list – no matter how minimal it may have been – has really gotten me in the mood to search for some new races for Buzz and me. After all, according to Success Consciousness, “[h]aving goals is like having a map. You know where you are heading, and this gives you zest, motivation, more energy and a reason to get up in the morning. You become more alive.” Even if that goal, for me, is running with my dog, it still gives me some added motivation.

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