Activities For Dogs In Pinnacles National Park

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Introduction

The Pinnacles National Park has over 26 thousand acres of volcanic rock, with prairies, forests, grasslands, caves, hiking trails, campgrounds, and water features to explore and enjoy with your canine kid. There is plenty of wildlife and nature that you and Fido can get into and while your pooch is not allowed on many of the trails, the Bacon Ranch Trail and the Bottomlands are both great places to take your pup. However, make sure they are leashed and bring plastic poo bags for cleanup. You should also bring extra water for you and your fur baby because it gets hot and there are very few places to get a drink.

Car Cruise

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
water
treats
food
Activity description

Getting to Pinnacles National Park can be a long drive no matter where you are coming from. And once you get there, you will notice that there are no roads going through the park. Therefore, if you want to go from one side of the park to the other, you either have to walk, which in many places you cannot go with your pup, or drive from one entrance to the other, which is a two-hour ride. So, teaching your pooch how to enjoy riding in the car is important no matter what. You don’t want Fido to be miserable the whole trip or barking and whining, which makes you miserable too. The best thing to do is to practice riding in the car with your canine kid before you take your trip to the park. The park is free, the trip is free (except for gas), and all you need to bring is water. Of course, when you go to the park, you will need to stock up on lots of stuff, depending on how long you are staying because the closest store is over 30 miles away. 

Step
1
Treats in the car
So, how do you get Fido to like the car? With food, of course. Start out by opening all the doors and tossing in some snacks onto the back seat. Show your pup the treats and let them decide when to go get them. Once your pooch finds and consumes the treats, praise them and move on.
Step
2
Dinner in the car
Once your pooch is fine with the treats, put the food bowl in there and let them eat in there. After one or two meals, you should be able to shut a few of the doors. After a few days, you should be able to shut all the doors while your pup eats but get in there with them, so they don’t get scared.
Step
3
Cruising
After a few days of eating in the car, start the motor while your dog is in there. If they don’t freak out too much, praise your pooch for being such a good dog. When your dog finishes eating, try taking a short trip around the block and build up to longer and longer rides until you are able to go for a long drive. Eventually, the food will no longer be needed in order to get your dog in the car. If you are planning a long drive, don't feed your dog beforehand to avoid nausea in your dog due to the motion of the vehicle.
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Campground Games

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
balls
frisbee
treats
leash
Tent
Food and Water
waste bags
Activity description

Once you get to Pinnacles National Park and find your campsite, you should set up your tent and other stuff while letting Fido get used to the place. You know they are going to be fascinated by all of the new smells and critters so let your fur buddy walk around and get used to the place on a leash. You can walk your fur puppy around yourself or put them on a stationary leash where your pups can walk around on their own as long as they cannot go off your campsite. Never leave Fido unattended at the campsite and always be alert to what your pooch is doing. Once you get settled, try playing a few games with your dog like fetch, frisbee, and even hide and seek. Camping fees depend on what you need. Tent camping is $23, RV campsites are $36, and group campsites are available for $75 to $110. 

Step
1
Fetch
You may think that all dogs know how to fetch instinctively and while some do, others have to be taught. First, you will need two balls and some treats. You need two because they usually need some incentive to drop the ball and what is better than throwing another ball? Get your pup’s attention by showing them the ball and toss it, saying “fetch.” If they chase it, encourage the behavior by giving them a treat. Once they pick it up, tell your pooch to bring it to you and make sure you get all excited when they do. If your pooch doesn’t drop the ball, toss the other one and tell them to “fetch” again. Keep encouraging them with praise and treats until they get the hang of it.
Step
2
Frisbee
Training your dog to catch a frisbee is just like teaching them to fetch the ball except you want them to catch it in the air. You can do this with the method above for playing fetch or you can try the “keepaway” method. For this, you need another person and you are going to just toss the frisbee to your friend over your dog’s head while encouraging them to catch it. Once they catch it, give your pooch a treat and tons of encouragement. After a while, your pooch will understand and want to play with just you, so your friend can go relax.
Step
3
Hide and seek
This is easier than you think to teach your dog. First, let your pup see you hide and have someone hold them on a leash while you go. When you are hiding close by, call your pooch to come find you. When they do, give them a treat and tell them what a good dog they are. Keep doing this until you or your pup gets tired. You will probably get tired long before they do so you may want to have a backup who will take over for you.
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Bacon Ranch Hike

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Any Day
Free
Easy
2 - 4 hrs
Items needed
leash
treats
Waste Bags
water
Activity description

Hiking with your pooch is a fun way to enjoy any park and Pinnacles National Park is a great place to do so. Your dog will love this trail, which is about two miles long and weaves in and around old farm homes. The Bacon family lived here from the 1860s until 1941, and they have a blacksmith, farmhouses, and old barns with informational signs for you to explore and learn about. The trail is easy to hike and costs nothing, so all you need to bring is some water. You’ll start out behind the visitor’s center and follow the gravel road onto a bridge over a creek bed. From there you will see Bacon Ranch where you and Fido can explore but don’t tell your furry friend that it is the Bacon Ranch, or they may spend the whole time looking for bacon. Afterward, follow the road along the creek and you’ll end up in the bottomlands where you can see the Bear Gulch area and High Peaks. The old Butterfield Homestead is next, and they have an old barn and windmill, which are some great places to get selfies for your Facebook. 

Step
1
Learning the leash
If your pup is not used to being on a leash, you should train them for this before you go. Learning the leash is pretty easy and works well if you include treats and a little bit of fun like going for a walk. Start out by letting your pooch get used to the leash by letting them sniff it and check it out before you put it on.
Step
2
Treats for your pup
When you first put the leash onto your dog, make sure you say, “good dog,” and give them a treat for letting you put it on and for keeping it on. Let your little buddy walk around the house with it on to get used to it for a little while. Keep praising them for wearing the leash.
Step
3
Go for a walk
One of the best ways to train your dog on a leash is to go for a walk with it on. Continue to praise your pup for being good while you walk, and you can even give them a treat after you have walked a ways. If you have a park or another fun place within walking distance, this is a great incentive for your dog. If you go to the park or anyplace your pooch enjoys after your walk, this shows them that being on the leash takes them to someplace fun. Now, you are ready to hit the trail for a Bacon Ranch hike.
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More Fun Ideas...

Water Fun

There may be some spots where you can take a dip with your dog depending on the season like the West Fork Chalone Creek, Willow Spring, Sandy Creek, and Bear Gulch Reservoir. Make sure you pay attention to signs that let you know where not take to Fido.

Stargazing

Okay, so maybe your canine kid has no idea what stargazing is, but you will enjoy the peace and quiet of the night while your pup enjoys listening to all of the critters’ night noises. Keep your dog on a leash, so they do not go running off to find the critters that they hear and just enjoy the stars while your dog enjoys the sounds.

Conclusion

Whether you and your fur baby are just visiting for the day or plan to spend a night or two, you and your furry family member should enjoy the Pinnacles National Park. Just be sure to follow the rules, keep Fido on a leash, and bring a lot of water for both of you so you can stay hydrated.