UNITED STATES—Many dog owners know the issues that come with having mostly indoor pets: boredom, destruction, and separation anxiety. But fewer are familiar with the ways in which nature benefits dogs, and how spending time outdoors helps improve unwanted behaviors.

“Outdoors” isn’t walking around your city block. It’s getting out to where the birds chirp, the wind rustles, and the sun shines on you through the trees. It’s a place that is as far away from traffic, buildings, and crowds as you can find in your area. Lucky for people living in LA, we are only minutes away from the beautiful Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains– including many dog-friendly trails.

At Fitdog, we found that small-group field trips to the outdoors were a great alternative for dogs who don’t like daycare settings. It provides dogs with a great workout, a sense of purpose, and something to look forward to. And when the excursion is over, these dogs are able to rest feeling fulfilled with their activity– no destruction necessary.

Getting into nature will benefit you as much as it benefits your dog. A month-long study showed that nature has a major positive impact on our health and happiness. One example is how nature helps people combat symptoms of anxiety and depression, which also occur in dogs, and often lead to unwanted behaviors.

Vets recommend that dogs get between 30 minutes to 2 hours of daily exercise, depending on the breed. But physical exercise alone is not enough. Pet experts agree that dogs need mental stimulation to feel fulfilled. Being in nature benefits dogs because it encourages them to use their primal senses to piece together the puzzle of their environment. Exercising mental muscles in concert with physical movement makes for one happy dog. And when dogs feel fulfilled, they’re less likely to act destructively out of boredom.

How to get started

We are so lucky to live in a place that offers year-round weather fit for outdoor activity. Getting out into nature with your dog is easy, thanks to these local dog-friendly trails:

Lower Canyonback Trail | This hike offers panoramic views of Los Angeles and a series of hills for avid hikers. A wide fire road offers space for you and your pup to trek alongside each other and meet other friends along the way.

Sullivan Canyon Trail | Aged Oak, Eucalyptus, and Sycamore trees shade this path and offer lots of sniffing material for dogs. Sullivan Canyon Trail starts out pretty flat before inclining, so hiking beginners and experts alike can appreciate this peaceful path.

Franklin Canyon | For otherworldly canyon views, look no further than Franklin Canyon Lake Loop & Chapparal Trail. This 2.5-mile loop trail makes for a lovely and refreshing afternoon spent outdoors with your dog.

For more inspiration on how to create a healthy and active lifestyle for your dog, visit us at fitdog.com!

Written By Angela Brittain on behalf of Fitdog