Top 10 Fun Local Activities For Dog Owners

Joseph Montalbano  |   Friday Sep. 1st, 2023

As many of you may know, Bozeman is a very dog accessible place. Not only is the great outdoors a perfect place to keep your pooches at your side, but the city itself is very accommodating and welcoming to our furry halves. I hope some of these places and activities are new, and pique your curiosity!

Eat On Main Street
While this may seem obvious to some, newer dog-owners, or those new to Bozeman should know that Main Street’s food scene (and many other restaurants within walking vicinity) often have designated outdoor seating for customers with or without pets. Whether you are a dog owner who wants to bring your dog along for an adventure, or a student who needs to pet a soft, fuzzy nose, I would highly recommend sitting down outside, grabbing a bite and a drink, and enjoying the outdoors with your human and dog companions. If you have a specific restaurant in mind, I highly recommend giving them a call and asking if their outdoor seating is open. It doesn’t hurt to bring water and a bowl for your dog, but often both are provided.

Go To The Farmers Market
The Lindley Park Farmers’ Market is in full swing every Tuesday from 5-8 p.m., and is a lovely place to bring your dogs. Not only is this a great, shaded location to keep them cool, but the entire venue is ready to burst with other friendly doggy faces that would love to make introductions with you and your dog. I would highly recommend grabbing your dog, their leash, and browsing every stall; you never know what will speak to you. Your dog will love the attention from friendly faces, and the time spent outdoors with their favorite human.

Hike In Hyalite Canyon
Truly, what is better than soaking up the great outdoors? Winter is good for that as well, if you don’t mind the cold, but shorts, sunscreen, and a cap out in the sunny green trees is extremely hard to beat. Your dog is more than welcome to join in on the fun as well. I know from my experience up there that other people in and around the trails are happy to see friendly, furry faces.

Teach Them A New Trick
This one is for those rainy days when you can’t bring yourself to go out. Instead, a fun afternoon for you and your dog may be to teach them something they don’t already know. Not only is this excellent mental stimulation for your pet, but it will also keep them occupied when they may otherwise be bored and shift their boredom towards destruction of your furniture. A few tricks I would recommend that not every dog has learned are: rolling over, playing dead, and holding things on the tip of their nose. Any of those are guaranteed fun for you and your dog!

Spend An Afternoon Swimming
Swimming may not be for every dog, as some are more water-averse than others. However, if your dog is anything like mine, it will love the opportunity to go swimming around one of our many local ponds and lakes. Bozeman Pond’s designated dog beach is a favorite of mine because it is right next to the Lewis and Bark Dog Park, which is a great spot to dry my dog out before the ride back to the apartment. Bring several towels, a tennis ball or other water-safe toy, and a chair for yourself to enjoy some sun while your dog has the time of its life.

Enjoy Some Ice Cream
Maybe after you and your dog are hot and tired from swimming, you could stop by Sweet Peaks and get some ice cream for both of you. Featuring dairy ice cream base with beef or chicken broth as well as a non-dairy alternative geared towards dogs, it is a very tasty treat for the occasional splurge on your dog.

Spend A Night Out Camping
This is another one that Hyalite Canyon is a great resource for, but there are dozens of campsites in and around Gallatin County that would be great places to take your pooch on an overnight stay. Car camping is preferable here, due to bear safety. Being able to safely store dog and people food alike in a scent-catching vehicle is necessary in order to practice good outdoor safety. With that in mind, keep your dog on a leash and invest in a can of bear spray.

Go Out For A Bike Ride
Biking around town with a dog attached may also constitute a new trick for many dogs (my own included), but it is a very productive way to burn off a dog’s energy. Do some research and some training with your dog to make sure it will be safe and well behaved when you are on a bicycle, and practice good biker’s etiquette and safety yourself. If you are willing to put the work in, it is truly a special experience to have your dog at your side while you both speed towards wherever your heart desires.

Experience Some Events Around Town
The constant events around town are always a fun time to experience by yourself or with friends; why not bring your pets? Dog-friendly businesses around Bozeman host events that allow dogs. Checking your favorite nightlife spot for upcoming events is a must, but an example is Bunkhouse Brewery. They host a summer Makers Market (including one on the 10th of September) that would be a great social outlet for your dog. Dee-O-Gee is another good place to visit; it is a great pet food and supply store with caring staff who would love for you to drop by. Many of the breweries and restaurants around Bozeman with outdoor seating host events that you can bring your dog to. Giving your dog dinner over the course of an evening spent out is a terrific way to reward calm behavior and get your dog more comfortable around crowds and noise.

Show Your Dog Off Around Campus
While this list was not in any particular order, this suggestion does hold a dear place in my heart. Later into my freshman year at MSU, I was disoriented and altogether missing home. I was dearly missing my parents’ dogs, and what did I find at the MSU library that day? A couple of sweet golden retriever therapy dogs. Of course, pets are not permitted in the library itself, but wandering campus with your dog would help many stressed out students and give your dog the opportunity to make some new friends. I would recommend checking out the duck pond, if you can keep your dog out of the water and away from the ducks.

Some Tips for Keeping Your Dog And Your Neighbors Happy
Some of these may seem repetitious, but as someone trying to keep Bozeman a dog-friendly place, I have the moral obligation to mention some canine good citizen practices. First, KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH! It is inconsiderate to pedestrians, dangerous to vehicles, and risky with other dogs to leave your dog unleashed. You can never know how well other dogs will react to yours, or how pedestrians may feel about dogs. My dog is a sweetheart who I know is safe and friendly, but she has a lot of energy that is constantly on the verge of spilling out. Some people don’t have the time or desire to deal with that. As a courtesy towards others, pick up after your dog, keep them under control, and respect when people don’t want to be around your dog.

Additionally, for our dogs’ safety, and wellbeing as well, we need to be prepared when taking our dogs out into the world. It is hot in Bozeman right now, and dogs walk around on bare feet and wear fur coats. Bring a water bottle and a cup or bowl for your dog, two or three bottles in the event you know you are going to be out of doors for a long time. Keep them in the shade when possible, and if you are taking them to a spot where you know you are going to be at rest (say, a restaurant or park), bring them a toy they can have controlled, quiet fun with. This is tedious, and often requires a bag and extra space for your dog’s gear. But to help keep our dogs happy and healthy, it is worth all the effort.

I hope this list (and PSA of dog etiquette) has been helpful to get you thinking of creative ways to invite your dog into your life. Even if you already do half the items on this list, the other half is a wonderful way to keep things fresh for you and your dog.   

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