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Hiking in Northern California

One of the reasons I started Coop & You was because I realized how hard it was to take photos when handling our dogs. Before we got Fidus, I could at least hand off Cooper to my husband if I wanted to take a photo of the surrounding landscape or a shot of them together. Once Fidus the entered the picture, I couldn’t hand Cooper off as easily because Nicholas’ hands were full with him.

They’re fantastic dogs, but they both have reactivity issues we’re working on. Taking them hiking requires our full attention to make sure they’re comfortable and learning correct behaviors. Since we’re still getting used to the Northern California area, we try to scout out hikes on our own before determining if it’s one they can handle.

During Super Bowl Sunday this year (with the hope not many people would be out), we took the dogs hiking on a not-as-popular trail in Auburn, California (Greenwood and Gerle Loop). It was so worth it to miss the game. Cooper did amazing. We even came across a whole group of pre-teen boys (her biggest fear) and we were able to walk behind them for a bit without her barking.

Since the hike wasn’t too populated, I was able to snap a few quick photos of the gorgeous trek.

Not long after this hike, we explored a trail in Martinez, California — this time without the dogs since it was our first time trying it out.

The trail wrapped into the hills above the bay, providing lovely views of the ocean and lots of grazing cattle in the valley’s below. We went on the hike at the height of spring which meant ridiculously green hills and blooming flowers.

We can’t wait to explore more spots! Since these hikes, we’ve explored Bodega Bay twice, Davis, and the Sacramento Zoo, as well as Shady Cove, Oregon. Photos to come!

Hiking in Auburn

Nicholas and I were lucky to get a hike in before this week’s storm. Prior to all the rain, we enjoyed a nice, easy hike in Auburn on the Greenwood and Gerle Loop trail. The trail was particularly stunning thanks to it following along a creek and the South Fork American River.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of pine trees. I enjoy the mountains and the towering pines that call them home, but I’ve always been partial to oak trees and rolling hills.

Well, this hike had both which made it all the more exciting to me to walk through both terrains on the 2.5 mile trail — and yet the diversity!

The trail was up against a Bureau of Land Management area, so along the trail we saw campers and day-trip kayakers along with fly fisherman. On the trail itself were hiking couples, families, and dog and owner duos.

Perhaps the most intriguing sight on the trail was at the trailhead itself. Upon turning into the trail parking lot, we spotted a sign warning not to bring RVs or trailers into the parking lot. We didn’t think anything of it, until we turned the corner and found this sight awaiting us:

A mood

We once again left Cooper and Fidus at home to try out the trail for ourselves first: great news! It’s wide enough to have quick escape routes if Fidus reacts to a dog or Cooper reacts to a stranger or loud noise (they are a mess). We are going to take them out in a few weeks. Fingers crossed it goes well and their cute, happy faces cover a blog post in the near future celebrating their success.

10 Things to Do With Your Dog During Quarantine

puppy playing with toys

Due to my husband and I’s recent move, it actually feels like we’ve been in quarantine with our dogs since December. When we left our home with a backyard in the Midwest to move to an apartment in Orange County, we planned to make up for their loss of space with hikes and dog beach trips, and lots of adventure. Unfortunately, the move was very stressful for them and Coop’s fear and anxiety got so bad we were nervous to expose her to any more new things.

As a result, we’ve been spending lots of time at home, walking around our neighborhood, and exploring how to keep both dogs mentally stimulated at home. We are happy to report that after trying medication, Coop does seem back to her old self, but of course, now we really are trapped at home. Here are a few ways we’ve found to keep busy!

1. Training

Like maybe you want to train your dogs NOT to do things like this.

I will be the first to admit that I can let training slide to the back burner with our two dogs, but shelter-in-place orders have given me the motivation to get back at it. I use the Dogo app to teach Coop and Fidus new tricks and practice the ones they know.

Cooper has learned “relax” and “peek-a-boo” during this shelter-in-place time, and Fidus has finally figured out what “down” means without the hand motion — it’s recommended to use both a verbal command and a hand signal for dogs when training so that they will respond/understand both. I’m hoping to teach them “Place” soon along with many more!

2. Fetch (yes, even indoors!)

If you have a backyard, you are a step ahead. Head out there and play a game of fetch, or if your dog doesn’t play fetch, try running around with them to get them some exercise.

If you don’t have a backyard, you can still play fetch indoors so long as your dog is careful. Our border collie Cooper is obsessed with fetch, but her behavior issues from the move have made it impossible for us to take her to a dog park to play like she used to. And now since we don’t have a backyard, we have taken to playing fetch indoors.

We find a longer, clear area of the apartment (like tossing the ball from one room into the bedroom) and very carefully toss it or roll it for Coop to chase. Nothing has broken yet, so we’ve found it to work for us and her.

3. Sunbathe on the Patio/Balcony/Backyard

While Cooper never much enjoyed hanging out in our backyard without us, Fidus did. He loves soaking in the sun and the sounds of the outside world. Moving to an apartment has been hard on him and now with shelter-in-place his world is further limited. We’ve begun sitting out on our patio with him during lunchtime. It overwhelms my heart with joy to see him lay down in the sun so content and happy.

Our patio has a low wall that I fear he could jump, so sadly we can’t just leave the door open for him without supervision. When we are out there, I also keep him on a leash since the patio opens up to a courtyard where lots of people bring their dogs to do their business. I don’t fully trust him not to leap over the barrier and give some folks a scare.

If you have a backyard, even better, as your dogs can hang out in the outdoors as they please. I highly recommend you spend some time out there with them as you need some sunshine, too!

If you don’t have any of these opportunities to get outside, perhaps you can take a walk to a nearby park (if any are open near you) and relax for a bit with your pup on a blanket to get some sun and outdoors time in.

4. Walk Around the Neighborhood

A walk near our old home in Nebraska often included geese!

This is something you probably already do with your pup, but perhaps you can extend your walks a bit (if your dog is up for it) now that you may have more time on your hands. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and some exercise and it’s safe so long as you give others space.

If you have a reactive dog, for example, our dog Fidus loves other dogs in daycare settings but can be aggressive when he meets them on a leash, be mindful that a lot more people are out walking their dogs right now. You may want to bring some treats or walk at less popular times if you know your dog might get anxious or overwhelmed by the number of people or dogs out.

5. Walk to a Trail or Park

Depending where you live, local parks and trails may be closed or have their parking lots shut down. If you live near a park or trail that is in walking distance, perhaps extend your walks once a week to that nearby spot. A change of scenery will do you and your pup well.

6. Puzzle Games / Hide & Seek

Coop figuring out her puzzle feeder.

Your dog may be starved for mental stimulation (like the rest of us starting to get burnt out from being stuck at home). While many people have begun to pick up new hobbies, you can help your dog by using a puzzle feeder or a puzzle toy. Of course, it depends on your dog’s personality if they like it or not. Our dog Cooper is too smart for her feeder while our dog Fidus doesn’t understand it nor does he try to understand it.

Puzzle toys/feeders cost money, but a free alternative is to hide a beloved toy (in our case we hide a tennis ball) and then ask your dog to find it. I usually grab the ball from Coop, ask her to sit and stay, and then hide it in another room before asking her to “find it!” She loves it and it keeps her busy.

If you are local to Orange County, CA, and want to order a puzzle game/feeder, before ordering from Amazon, check out these open local pet businesses.

7. Dog Photoshoot

dog posing in front of spring decor
A spring shoot I put together with Easter decor and old wedding decorations.

This might be more fun for you than your pups unless lots of treats are involved! Use a sheet or construction paper to create a backdrop for the shoot. Use stuffed animals or holiday decorations to create a theme for the shoot and for use as props. If you don’t have a camera, your phone will certainly do to take photos. Ask your dog to sit or lay down in front of your set up and give them lots of treats to mark their behavior. Then snap away!

Check out our Pet Photography Tips blog for more ideas!

8. Learn How to Groom

Puppy Cooper’s first bath.

Our dog, Fidus, has a really thick coat and he is in the midst of shedding it. Our apartment has been a total disaster since. He has also developed quite a smell. We usually get him groomed once a month at Dogtopia and he also has a day of daycare so he can socialize with other dogs. The day before his March appointment, our Dogtopia closed due to shelter-in-place orders.

We lasted maybe a couple of weeks before we realized we were going to have to take matters into our own hands and into the bath he went. His thick fur was difficult to permeate with dog shampoo though and it was even worse to try to dry out (towels and a blow dryer weren’t enough). I think we actually made matters worse, but there’s no better time to learn and improve on properly washing your dog, trimming their nails, brushing their teeth, and giving them haircuts (depending on their breed).

If you’re struggling though like we are, you can also check out our list of Open Pet Businesses in Orange County to find an open groomer.

9. Tik Tok Challenges

I absolutely believe that a new social media platform will soon arise as young people desperately flee Tik Tok (in the same way we all abandoned Facebook and Twitter when our parents and corporations created accounts). That said, now that we are all embracing the new platform thanks to boredom, there are so many fun ways to involve your dog! Pet Vlogs are currently trending as is #PetLife and you can certainly include your pets in an indoor workout video or a challenge. See Fidus’ recent #LevelUpChallenge below!


Fidus learns to cheat the level up challenge by jumping over the couch instead. #levelupchallenge #dog

♬ Level Up – Ciara

10. Cuddle and Enjoy This Time Together!

It is so easy to get down and anxious about everything going on in the world right now. One of the few benefits of shelter-in-place, though, is spending so much time with our pets! While we need to be sure our pets still get their space and “me time,” be sure to treasure any extra moments you may have with them at home.

Join us at 5 Point Plaza’s 4th Annual Spring Pet Fair!

UPDATE: This event has been canceled as of 3/12/2020.

On Sunday, March 22, from 11 am to 2 pm, Coop & You will be taking photos at 5 Point Plaza’s Spring Pet Fair in Huntington Beach!

The dog-friendly event will feature a Critter Encounters Educational Animal Experience, an adoption fair, games for dogs, food for humans and animals, face painting, and more!

Come find us at our booth for a free spring-themed photo with your pet and/or family! Pose in front of a white shiplap backdrop amongst Easter baskets and pastels for a fun spring look with your best furry friend.

You’ll receive one complimentary photo on us with the option to buy the whole set of images taken.

A huge thank you to Kahoots Pet Store for inviting us out! We can’t wait. See their event flyer below for more details.

Dog Friendly Southern California Trips

Planning a trip to the golden state with your best furry friend? Here are some dog-friendly things to do throughout San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and more!

Hotels & Lodging

border collie looking out of tent on camping trip

Traveling with a dog can get tricky fast if you don’t know where you can stay. Luckily, California is a pretty pet-friendly state and there are actually many options! Most campgrounds accept pets, though you’ll want to double check each one as some have rules about pets being on trails around the site or some may not accept pets at all. Hip Camp is a great resource to find alternative camping sites to KOAs and government-run ones. Their website features an easy-to-use filter that lets you search by dog-friendly sites.

Many hotel chains now have dog-friendly locations like La Quinta, Best Western, Motel 6, and Red Roof Inn.

And there are plenty of unique properties around California that are pet friendly like The Dana on Mission Bay in San Diego, Arrowhead Pine Rose Cabins by Lake Arrowhead, Kimpton Shorebreak Resort in Huntington Beach, and more. You can also find pet-friendly options on Airbnb.


border collie at the beach

If you’re coming to SoCal for a vacation, chances are you’ll be visiting the beach. Not all beaches are dog-friendly and not all dog-friendly beaches allow dogs to be off leash. Here are some spots where you can enjoy the sun and surf with your pup. Visit each beach’s website for specific pet rules.

Los Angeles
Leo Carrillo State Park North Beach (on leash) – Malibu
Santa Monica Pier (on leash and only on the pier, not the beach)
Rosie’s Dog Beach – Long Beach

Orange County
Huntington Dog Beach – Huntington Beach
Newport Beach (on leash and time restrictions)
Corona del Mar State Beach (on leash and time restrictions) – Newport Beach
Main Beach Park (on leash and time/season restrictions) – Laguna Beach
Aliso Beach (on leash and time/season restrictions) – Laguna Beach

San Diego
North Beach (time/season restrictions) – Del Mar
Main Beach (time/season restrictions) – Del Mar
South Beach (on leash) – Del Mar
Pacific Beach (on leash and time restrictions)
Fiesta Island Off-Leash Dog Park – Mission Bay
Dog Beach – Ocean Beach
Coronado Dog Beach


Southern California is full of terrific spots for hiking and getting outdoors! Explore Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead for a taste of the mountains, head inland for desert experiences, or hike along the coast for grand beach views! Use AllTrails to find dog-friendly trails near where you’re staying.

Restaurants & Bars

California’s sunny climate means restaurant patios are utilized year-round which is great news for your furry friend! Many restaurants allow dogs on the patio like the appropriately named Lazy Dog restaurant chain. A quick Yelp search shows that there are hundreds of dog-friendly restaurants around Anaheim (home of Disneyland!) alone.

If you do happen to be in Orange County during your stay, here are some of our favorite dog-friendly places to grab a bite to eat/drink:

Golden Road Brewing – Anaheim
Cortina’s Orange – Orange
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery – Orange
Lamppost Pizza – Yorba Linda
Beachwood Brewing Taproom – Huntington Beach
Eureka! – Huntington Beach
Slater’s 50/50 – Huntington Beach
Crystal Cove Shake Shack – Newport Beach
Lemonade – Newport Beach
Hopdoddy Burger Bar – Tustin

It’s always a good idea to call and double check that dogs are allowed — even if Yelp says it’s okay!

Photo Shoot!

If you’d like to capture photos of you and your pet enjoying your SoCal vacation give us a shout! On-location photo shoots include one-hour of photography and you’ll receive the digital images from the shoot for $200. If you need to book more time, that can be arranged, too. We’d love to help you remember your vacation “fur”ever! Email for more details.

Bring Fido

To easily search for pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and activities in the city you’re staying in, use a tool like Bring Fido to find the best options for you and your pet! It’s our go-to.