I am always reminded of the importance of taking a break from life and returning to nature, whether it's taking a walk through the park or a hike in the mountains. This statement is particularly true for our canine friends and is obvious the minute I see my own dogs put one paw on the trail. To them, it's like coming home.

My wife and I have lived in Gilroy for over 8 years with our pack of pups and I ventured out for the first time to a local hiking spot that I have been hearing about for years. Needless to say, when I took our three dogs for a hike at Uvas Canyon County Park, just 20 minutes from downtown Morgan Hill, I couldn't have had a better hiking experience. We were surrounded by beautiful moss covered rocks and fallen trees and free-flowing mini waterfalls. The dogs were sniffing, adventuring and in their element – they were dogs just being dogs out in the wild.

Not only are these kinds of outings great for the human soul and an opportunity to fulfill a dog's natural instincts, they are an excellent opportunity to get some physical exercise for both humans and canines.

After our hike, we took a quick 20 minute drive to downtown Morgan Hill where we enjoyed lunch on the patio with all the dogs at Rosy's at the Beach, where well-behaved dogs are treated like family.

Notice I used the term well-behaved. This distinction not only applies to outdoor dining but to hikes as well. Depending on the leash laws and rules in certain parks, beaches or restaurants, we want to be in accordance with the law as well as make sure our dogs are polite so these privileges continue to exist. That's where attending regular training classes with Rover and incorporating training and socialization exercises as a part of everyday life is so important. These are all things that we, humans, want in order to incorporate our dogs into our lives. In return, let's not forget the importance of fulfilling our dog's needs like returning to nature for an hour in the wilderness, when the wild comes calling every now and again.

-Chad Culp, Certified Dog Trainer and Canine Behavior Consultant

© Thriving Canine 2013