adventures with dogs

How it Started & How it’s Going: Canine Explorer Edition

Even the most epic of adventures with our dogs come from humble beginnings. 

We’re leaning into the learning curve that is all things exploring with dogs. Our Ruffwear Pack shares how some of their favorite outdoor activities with their dogs got started, and how they’re going.

Turns out, it’s not about achieving perfection or reaching the destination, but rather celebrating the journey they took together to wherever they are today.

Kristen & Emma | Bikepacking

How it Started:

“Emma has always loved bikepacking trips. But because Emma was on foot, we could only ride a short distance at a very mellow pace and starting from a trailhead to allow her to join. But I was looking for a way to include her in longer adventures right from our front door, so I introduced her to a bike trailer.”

Dog sitting next to a bike on a forest road

How it’s Going:

“Emma took to the trailer quite easily! After a bit of indoor training and some test rides increasing in distance, Emma was a pro in the trailer. And now we're able to take on much larger routes together. Based on her reaction to the trailer being hooked up to the bike, and that smile on her face, I think it's safe to say bikepacking is Emma's all-time favorite activity.”

Dog sitting in bike trailer connected to a bike

Rachel & Nova | Cross Country Skiing

How it Started:

“I was brand new to skiing myself, so we had a lot to learn together. I remember Nova was extra excited because she already loved snowy adventures, and the occasional speed going downhill was a thrill! She was always there to lick my face, ’laugh’ with me, and provide encouragement when I fell (which was A LOT). I was grateful for her reliable recall and other skills we had as our foundation already so I could focus on my stride.”

dog sitting next to skis in the snow

How it’s Going:

“Our love for XC skiing has been core to staying active and positive throughout the winter season. We get out as much as we can, exploring miles on and off-trail in the Cascades. I have no doubt this is Nova's favorite time of the year.”

Woman cross country skiing with dog

Caroline & Atka | Camping

How it Started:

“I remember being so nervous before our first camping trip together. I didn't know if Atka would like sleeping in a tent. I didn't know what I would do if it rained, and I had to sleep next to a wet dog. One thing I did know was that Atka hated the water as a puppy, and we were about to go camping on a decent sized lake. Lucky for the two of us, my sister brought her dog Sammie who showed Atka the ropes. She still didn't love the water by the end of the trip, but Sammie showed her just how cool tents can be.”

Woman hugging her dog while camping

How it’s Going:

“Atka loves camping now. She begs to go in the tent to lay down on her sleeping bag. We also bring her Dirtbag™ Dog Towel when we will be near the car so that we can dry her off before going in the tent. No more worrying about cuddling with a mop of a dog. If you are thinking about bringing your dog camping, like any activity, I recommend your dog's best bud comes along. Maybe their friend can teach them a few things, and they are guaranteed to have a blast!”

Dog in a sleeping bag

Kellie & Luna | Bike Commuting

How it Started:

“Luna panicked and thought she couldn't move for a few minutes. Then after realizing she could move again, she jumped out of the box, knocked the bike over and ran away. It took a while for her to get close to the box again.”

Dog in a bike cargo box

How it’s Going:

“The last time we rode our bike together I couldn't stop smiling and neither could Lu. She loved the wind in her hair and I've never felt more proud than cruising around town and seeing the joy on other people's faces as they notice her.”

Woman standing next to dog in a bike cargo box - both happy

Kelly & Juniper | Bike Joring

How it Started:

“Despite her glum expression in the garage, she took to this activity immediately. Running FAST and pulling HARD was the most natural thing in the world to this girl. It was me (and my courage level) that needed the training! I also realized that quiet neighborhood streets were still terrifying at rocket speed, so we moved this activity to the trail setting very quickly.”

Woman mountain biking with dog in desert

How it’s Going:

“She's still a total natural at bikejoring, but she has also developed a passion for ground squirrel. So her preference is off-leash mountain biking where she gets to decide if she's going to scream down the singletrack or leap off-trail. Nonetheless, she's still a good sport about joring when I'm looking for a thrill!”

View of dog puling a mountain bike from the handlebars

Kadee & Sturgill | Fly Fishing

How it Started:

“Our first time out, Sturgill and I sat on the shore while Dan fished nearby. We had a blanket and a book to make this new experience easy. The next time I waded into the water, Sturgill stood on the shore, yelping and whining whenever I would walk into the water to fly fish. I would walk out and toss him a treat saying good boy, then come back in. I never caught a fish with him around.”

Dog sitting next to a river with person fishing in the background

How it’s Going:

“After going a few times with friends and learning what the stick with the string does, Sturgill is stoked about the fish! Now he understands the activity, wants to smell all the fish and follows along the shoreline or rock hops where he can.”

Dog standing on a rock in a river, watching two people fish

Vita & Coco & Lucky | SUP

How it Started:

“While they loved SUPing and being on the water right away, I was definitely the weak link!”

Two dogs on a paddleboard with a woman in the water

How it’s Going:

“Coco and Lucky are still SUPing professionals. They love being on the water with their person(s) – who are still getting better at staying on board.”

Woman sitting on paddleboard with small dog

Kate & Dixie | Beach Romping

How it Started:

“Dixie's paws first touched the sandy Texas coastline in the summer of 2019. Uncertain about the combination of moving water on wet, soft sand, Dixie apparently thought the shallow tide would make for a great place to poop. Just imagine my failed efforts, trying to use a pickup bag to scoop floating turds out of the moving water as kids on skimboards sailed by.”

Dog sitting on beach

How it’s Going:

“Fast forward to 2022. It’s our third summer living in the PNW and the Oregon coast has become Dixie’s favorite place to play. She knows the water is for splashing around in, not pooping. She loves to fetch the Hydro Plane and romp around with her sister, Millie. Our beach days are some of our absolute favorites.”

Two happy dogs running on the beach

Cristina & Lennon | SUP

How it Started:

“The months leading up to my first summer with Lennon were also the first months of the pandemic. We were stuck at home, so we tried to use the time to learn some foundational skills for future endeavors. Our first paddleboard sessions were in the living room (and even my cat got to join in the fun).”

Dog sitting on a paddleboard in a living room

How it’s Going:

“Every paddle day is a lesson for the both of us. We both still go for the occasional surprise swim, and even then I’d say Lennon’s a SUP pup, through and through. I’m convinced that she just wants to keep me on my toes.”

Dog wearing sunglasses sitting on paddleboard in a lake

Every day with our dogs presents a new possibility for what we can unleash next. What will you and your dog discover next? Let us know @ruffwear on Instagram by tagging us and using #UnleashingPossibility.