Bozeman is described by many as a dog lovers paradise. With plenty of pet stores, parks and trails, this town has embraced the dog community wholeheartedly (besides stubborn landlords). With so many options, figuring out what to do with your fur baby may be a more daunting choice than you would expect. With that being said, here are some ideas about what activities you can enjoy with your pup.


Hitting the dog-friendly parks in the valley is one of the best and easiest ways to get you and your pal some exercise after class. Located within a few miles of campus, a dog park is a great option if you are limited on time or gas money. Bozeman Beach is a popular spot since it’s conveniently located near Map Brewing and offers a bunch of different terrains for your pup. Let your dog play at “Canine Beach” in the park or walk one of the many meandering trails and see what your good boy or girl can sniff up. Another spot that many MSU ‘Cats and their dogs frequently visit is Gallatin County Regional Park. This lovely, large park offers a good amount of acreage for you and your buddy to explore, from ponds to grassy hills. Remember that you should only take your dog to a park if they are well-behaved and trained to come back on your command. Problematic dogs are not going to allow you or others to enjoy what the park has to offer and can also be flat-out dangerous. Remember to wash your dog after going to the park to ensure he or she (and you) won't bring any nasty substances or bugs into your home.


If parks aren’t your thing, take your pup for a hike at one of the numerous area trails. Try out spots that don’t get much use from horseback riders or mountain bikers, as your dog may react negatively towards them and put you in a hairy situation. Drinking Horse trail, across the highway from the “M,” is a great spot due to its location, terrain and the recreational use it receives. The peak is a fantastic spot to capture a majestic photo of your four legged pal before heading back down the trail. If the crowds deter you from Drinking Horse, consider heading up to Bridger Bowl where the crowds spread out a bit, allowing your dog a chance to sniff more spots and wag their tail more freely. Remember to pick up after your dog’s bathroom breaks since nobody else wants to see or smell it, and to prevent it from running down into the waterways below. Also, be sure to keep your dog on a leash and ensure you are not putting yourself or others in harm’s way. 


If you are reading this and you don’t have a dog yet, the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter can always use help fostering pets lacking a forever home. Not only are you making a huge difference in the life of the dog you care for, but he or she may make a huge difference in your life as well.  With the current stress most students are facing during this time, a furry four-legged friend could be just what you need to relax. Consider all the activities you just learned about that you can enjoy with your temporary buddy.


All dogs need daily exercise and stimulation to ensure they remain their happy selves, and what's often overlooked is that you do too. So head out to the park or hit the trail with the time you have between your studies, work and other commitments and enjoy Bozeman with the company of your pup.  

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