Okanagan Summer Bucket List

25 must do’s for you and your best bud in the Okanagan

With temperatures cracking the 30 degree mark these past weeks, its easy to see why those in the Okanagan Valley would already be thinking about summer time! The Okanagan is the place to be for summer exploration, with hiking, golfing, wineries, patios, markets, and so much more there is never a shortage of things to see and do!

Now more than ever, new canine and human partnerships are connecting, so who better to adventure with this summer than your new four legged bestie?

We here at Paws it Forward couldn’t think of anyone better to go adventuring with, so we created an Okanagan Summer Bucket List, doggie style, with 25 must do’s for you and your best bud to hit the town, get social, and really connect this summer! Connecting with and socializing your dog is not only fun, it can actually benefit their overall health. Curious how?

Keep reading for some socialization and summer safety tips to set you and your team up for the best summer yet!

Socialization of a new adoptee or puppy, after they have taken the time to settle into their new surroundings, is a key factor in creating a well adjusted and balanced dog. The more your dog encounters in a positive, curious, and exploratory way, the more confident in life they will be! As humans, we tend to think of socialization in terms relatable to us, like visiting, talking, playing with, and generally being around other humans, but socializing a dog is not just about having your pup meet other dog friends! So how can we define socialization for dogs?

Dog socialization can be defined as the positive introduction to the sights, sounds, touches, people, places, and other animals of the human world, setting them up for success to handle all they will encounter throughout their life. Dogs typically know how to ‘dog’ well, what they need to learn is how to human with us through our days to create a balanced flow!

Some examples of socialization factors would be experiencing car rides (short and long), body handling (paws, tail, mouth, ears), grooming (brushing, nail trimming, teeth brushing etc.), loud sounds such as lawn mowers, construction work, or fireworks, varying humans (babies, toddlers, children, vets, post men, people with umbrellas, hats, or sunglasses etc.), farm animals, cyclists and wheelchairs, visiting playgrounds, patios, dog friendly stores etc., and the list can go on and on!

The more variety your dog is able to experience early on from a calm and joyful place with your safety, the more well rounded they will become and the less overall stress they will feel throughout their life!

Science shows for both humans and dogs, less stress = more overall well-being! Now, I can tell you’re already loving the idea of creating fun socialization adventures with your dog this summer. Who doesn’t want to adventure and improve their dogs overall well-being while connecting and exploring all the great things the Okanagan has to offer?! So next question is, how do you ensure an uplifting experience for both you and your dog while you two head out on the town?

The most important thing to keep in mind when before heading out with your pup for some socialization on our bucket list is to set your team up for success!

If you aren’t enjoying your time with them, they aren’t going to have fun either.

What success feels like will look different for everyone, but our first recommendation would be to arm yourself with some yummy treats for you and your pup, no one wants to connect on an empty belly!

If treats aren’t your dogs thing, perhaps a toy to bring them back to their happiness centre should they begin to feel overwhelmed at any point. Remember to meet your dog where they are at, they may not love a new experience initially and that’s ok, whether it’s a brand new experience or not, this will be their first time experiencing it with YOU, and you have a brand new opportunity to help them experience a more safe and loving life!

Make sure you can both stay hydrated and cool, always check the pavement/path with the back of your hand to ensure walkability in the heat for your pups paws, and make sure there will be no need to leave your pup in the car! And with that, you and your pooch are ready to make the most of your summer!

Okanagan Summer Bucket List:

 1) Go golfing!

A very Okanagan experience to check off your bucket list for both you and your pup, Predator Ridge offers dog friendly on leash tee times after 4pm every Sunday!


2) Visit the Penticton Farmers Market!

While the Kelowna Farmer’s and Crafter’s market is not dog friendly, the Penticton Farmer’s Market welcomes pups on leash to explore the sights, sounds, and smells of an outdoor market! Join them every Saturday morning until October 30th 2021.


3) Check out some on leash parks and off leash parks!

From Cedar Creek beach to Knox mountain park, from North Glenmore Dog park to Ben Lee Park, there are a total of 18 off leash parks and beaches and hundreds of on leash parks and trails to explore in the Okanagan area! Each location will carry its own specific set of scents, sights, and sounds, so this bucket list number can be tried over and over again all over town! A list of dog parks can be found here: https://www.kelowna.ca/parks-recreation/parks-beaches/dog-parks

5) Take a sip at a winery!

The Okanagan is recognized world wide for their phenomenal wine, so why not check out a few wineries with your pup on leash and taste what the valley has to offer?! A Okanagan Bucket list must – For a full list of dog friendly wineries you can click here: https://www.tourismkelowna.com/blog/post/dog-friendly-wineries-wesla-wong-duane-english/

6) Hit the trails and go hiking!

Surrounded by hills and mountains, its easy to spot hiking trails all over the Okanagan Valley. There is a trail for everyone, from moderate to difficult! For tips on hiking with your pet click here: https://www.kelownanow.com/watercooler/news/news/Pets_First/Tips_for_hiking_with_your_pet_in_the_Okanagan_1/

7) Create an art piece together!

A memory to last a lifetime! Creating art together is a fun way to connect with your dog. Whether you fill a ziplock with some paper and paint while slapping a little dog friendly peanut butter on the outside so they lick their way to becoming Picasso, stamp their paw and nose prints, or you practice your ‘sit stays’ while drawing some silhouette art, there are so many ways to get creative with your dog.

8) Create matching outfits together!

Reduce, reuse, and recycle is the way to go! Dig back in that closet or hit up a thrift store and create your team signature look!

9) Take or get photos done and document your Okanagan Summer Bucket List!

Taking photos is not only fun, its great way to remember the fun times, get creative, and to practice some sit stays! Not great at capturing moments? Hire a pet photographer to capture some awesome shots of you and your pup for some keepsakes. Start an Instagram for your dog or even scrapbook your memories! 

10) Have a race or start running together!

Dogs LOVE to zoom, so why not try it out with them sometime? Even just a lap around the yard, through the sprinkler, or around the driveway will light up their day!

11) Chill out at a dog friendly patio for dinner!

For a full list of dog friendly patios for you and your pup to explore, check out this link: https://www.kelownanow.com/news/news/Lifestyle/Pup_friendly_patios_in_downtown_Kelowna/

12) Have a home spa day together!

In the dog world, grooming time together is all about connection and love! Take some time to pamper each other, put on that relaxing music, light some candles, have some massages, do your nails, and kick back for some quality time!

13) Watch a movie together!

Netflix and chill? Dogs often enjoy watching things on tv! Have you ever noticed your dog interacting with the tv?? Dogs commonly enjoy watching other animals and dogs on tv, but I once knew a dog who loved watching crime shows like C.S.I. with me!

14) Throw a slumber party!

Kick is like its 1999 and show your pup what a great slumber party is all about! Bonus, you never have to ask your parents permission or wait for the weekend with your dog 😉

15) Learn a new trick together!

Whether you check out some tutorials on YouTube, find an educational Facebook group or Instagram account, or partake in a local dog class, learning a new trick together is one of the most common and easiest ways to connect with your dog.

Okanagan Trick Dogs: http://www.okanagantrickdogs.com/ is a great local place to learn a fun new trick together!

16) Get wet and try team paddle boarding!

For the water lovers this adventure is sure to be a blast! Great for building core strength, enjoying the sun and the views, and staying cool…for both of you! Paddle boards can be rented at Kelowna Paddle Centre: https://www.kelownapaddlecentre.ca/sup-rentals/ as well as https://www.okanaganbeachrentals.com/!

17) Have a picnic!

A great activity to pair with bucket list item #3, taking your dog on different types of outdoor outings like relaxing on a blanket with some snacks and tunes keeps things both interesting and teaches them new skills! A dog that ALWAYS gets to play outside might need some practice and learning to chill while out at parks or beaches. What a perfect excuse to practice!

18) Go camping!

Getting out on vacation in nature with your dog is a whole other vibe!  Whether you rent a cabin, haul the trailer, or pitch a tent, taking away all of life’s busy distractions and being present with the sounds, smells, and feels of it all will give you the chance to experience each other and the true beauty of the Okanagan Valley on another level!

19) Create a dog friendly gift basket and give back!

This is such a fun idea and can be done a few ways! Hit up a dollar store, regift unloved toys, collars, treats, or dog clothes, and generally stuff a basket with whatever dog things you both love and donate it to a friend or dog organization in need. Or you could even fill a basket with tennis balls and leave it at a park in honour of a dog you love! 

20) Blow bubbles together!

21) Visit a senior’s care home!

Many care home facilities are overjoyed to have polite mannered dogs come to visit their residence, regardless if they are a service dog with their public access or not! Not every dog can be a service dog, but every dog can be a therapy dog, especially if they love meeting new people! The residence often have fond memories of dogs, and a lick and wag from your pup has the ability to change their whole day! The Village at Mill Creek: https://www.interiorhealth.ca/FindUs/_layouts/FindUs/service.aspx?svcloc=Village%20at%20Mill%20Creek welcomes polite visitors, but it is always best to call ahead to any care home to ensure they are allergy free and welcoming of dogs!

22) Make pupsicles!

A super fun way to chill out together this summer, many ingredients such as bananas, strawberries, watermelons, and greek yogurt are great to share together! Or make some special just for your dog by using more creative ingredients such as bone broth, pumpkin, peanut butter, carrot, or coconut water or milk! Blend up your mixture and freeze for a simple afternoon team treat!

23)  Play hide and go seek!

Using you, your dogs favourite toy, or even their favourite snack start out simple and work your way up to more challenging hides! Dogs process 90% of their world through scent, so sniffing out a hidden object is a very rewarding activity! Especially when they get so much love and praise for finding ‘it’!!

24)  Have a play date!

Who doesn’t love to hang out and play with their friends?! There is nothing quite like playing with one of your own. Plus, more dogs = more happiness! 

25)  Get a workout in!

There are many ways to stay in shape together this summer! Get in some Doga (dog yoga), do your squats together (your dog going from sit to stand position), or maybe try some burpees together (your dog from down to standing position)! You could even check out an agility class or try frisbee together, the opportunities are endless!

We can’t wait to see you and your bestie out on the town this summer connecting and enjoying what the Okanagan is all about! Literally! So remember to stay cool, have fun completing the bucket list, and hashtag any of those photos you take #PIFSummerBucketList so we can see what you’ve been up to and for a chance for your photo to be featured on the Paws It Forward page! Have a blast and stay safe 💕

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