So, you’ve got yourself a new furry pal or maybe you have more time for an old one. With all of this extra time on your hands, you may be wondering what you are going to do with your canine companion. There are common activities like going on walks and going to dog parks, but you may be looking for something new and exciting to do with your pet. What are some fun things to do with your dog?
Couch Potato or Athlete?
The first and most important to question to ask yourself is, what kind of energy level do you both have?
The energy of your dog is an important characteristic to take into account when finding some fun things to do with your dog. Trying to get an English Bulldog to run or hike a few miles would be disastrous and someone would come out disappointed or seriously hurt. Remember, even if you’re an athlete, that doesn’t mean that Buster over there isn’t a couch potato. In these situations, find an activity you both enjoy or get yourself a running companion. Trust me, Buster will thank you for leaving him out.
This can also be said for athletic dogs that are low energy, such as greyhounds and whippets. They’ll go for a sprint with you or a brisk walk, but it might turn into an “I lay down and you tug” situation after a few miles.
Capabilities, Intelligence, and Drives
Take into account your dog’s capabilities as well as some shouldn’t be worked too long in hot humid environments (Bulldog breeds, etc). A dog may also be a little deficient in the smarts department (it’s okay we still love them) and a high intelligence activity will stump them and frustrate you. Remember what drives your pooch too as some are driven by interaction and some are food-driven. These parameters will help you find fun things to do with your dog that works for your relationship.
Think about what works best for you, what works best for your dog, and find an activity that falls right into the center of that interaction.
List of Fun Things to Do With Your Dog
Agility classes hit the top of this list due to the demand for high energy, intelligence, and obedience. This activity is when an owner leads and cues a dog through preset obstacles. Most courses have 14 to 20 obstacles ranging from tunnels, stop tables, jumps, weave poles, and seesaws. Courses are usually timed and agility can be done as a competitive sport. So, if you and your dog like challenges and victories, this could be the best choice for you. This type of work also creates and/or strengthens the bond between you and your dog.
A Game of Fetch: Frisbee and Flyball
Flyball is when a dog jumps four hurdles to catch a tennis ball released by a spring-loaded mechanism and then runs back over the hurdles with the ball. This is a team sport and you can see a good bit of it at dog shows such as Crufts. Usually, these teams consist of four dogs, and whoever finishes first is the winner. Whippets, Border Collies, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Miniature Poodles, Australian Shepherds have dominance in this sport. So, if you have one of these breeds, this could be the activity for you. If you don’t, that’s totally fine. It’s still a great way for dogs to burn off excess energy. This is an especially good choice for dogs who love catching balls.
Frisbee is pretty self-explanatory, but if your dog loves chasing balls, you should also give frisbee a try. It involves more jumping than playing with a ball does. A dog with enthusiasm and excellent jump skills will be a joy to watch playing frisbee. Consult with your veterinarian though first, as the vigorous jumping could injure them.
Fun Dog-Friendly Hiking & Backpacking
One Of The Best Fun Things To Do With Your Dog!
We’ve all heard of walking or jogging with your dog, but hiking can be for high-energy canines with endurance, strength, and a love of nature. This is especially true if you already hike for fun yourself. Why not bring your dog with you?! Hiking and backpacking can also be stretch between all three energy groups as just like with walking, time and location control it. Taking your dog on a short hike in a relatively level area could be a great way to get outdoors and explore something new for them without exhausting them in the process. The difficulty and length of the hike can change for both of your comfort levels. That being said, long uphill journeys need to be left to dogs with endurance, strength, and higher heat tolerance. Always hike with a human and doggy first aid kit, poop bags, and plenty of water. Research the terrain and restrictions before a hike and tell someone when you’re leaving and when you expect to be back.
A Cool Doggy Dip
It’s no surprise that some dogs love swimming and some hate it. If your dog loves it, take them to the nearest watering hole or beach that is dog-friendly. This is a great activity to do in the summer for both species to cool off. Dock diving can be added to this and is a fun sport for humans and dogs alike. Dogs run off a dock and jump, competing to see who can gain the farthest distance or height.
Obedience is a lot like agility and their names are often used interchangeably. These classes can be low energy though as completion of the tricks is more important than speed. Just like with agility, obedience will strengthen the bond between dog and man. It will also turn a wild dog into an attentive-focused pet with a few more tricks up their sleeve. That means obedience training isn’t just a fun activity for you and your dog, but it’s also productive in fostering a more well-behaved pet.
Trick Training & Puzzle Work
This type of training is worth doing at home, as an owner can research tricks and teach them in the comfort of their home. For dogs that are food-driven and can’t take the heat or cold outside, trick training is a perfect solution. It doesn’t ask a lot in physical energy but it may require some mental strength. These tricks can be simple or complicated and can even assist with everyday living. Teaching your dog to wait or pick up items for you are useful tricks that can be taught to your companion. Puzzle work is also fun and mentally stimulating. Puzzles for dogs can be found online and in pet stores and, like trick training, are good for dogs who respond well to treats. An owner can even slowly raise the challenge as there are several puzzle products that have levels.
Fun With a Dog’s Nose
Nose work is when a dog is given different sets of smells and asked to find them in different locations, whether indoor, outdoor, or both. Work such as this can be related to search and rescue training. It can be physically demanding, confidence building, and mentally stimulating. Tracking is much of the same and can be done by hiding a treat somewhere and having the dog find it. This activity is also used in hunting. Just like hiking, nose work and tracking can be customized for varying energy levels.
Animal-Assisted Activities & Therapy
AAA (Animal-Assisted Activities) and AAT (Animal-Assisted Therapy) are both fun activities to do with your dog that can also help your fellow man. AAA usually happens within hospitals and nursing homes to improve mood and socialization with the patients. Meanwhile, AAT has documentation and set goals that use the therapeutic bond of canine and human to promote growth for an individual. To do AAT with your dog, you’ll need certification for both of you, but you don’t always need this documentation for AAA. A low energy dog that is people-oriented, confident, and calm is the perfect choice for these kinds of activities. Volunteering to do AAA or AAT can be a fun, charitable, and sociable activity to do with your dog.
Fun Dog Rides and Puppuccinos
These are good if you are looking for a low-key and “easy to accomplish on a weekend type activity”. They are especially good if your dog loves car rides. Maybe take a few more turns than you should, drive out to less populated areas, or head down to Starbucks for a cappuccino. You can even get them a special doggy treat at your local pet store. These fun trips will stimulate your pup’s brain in a way that driving to the vet does not. They can even be just as fun and social for you as they are for your dog.
Finding yourself stuck at home can be a bummer for you, but there are still plenty of ways you can use the time wisely and remain active with your pup. Use the list of fun things to do with your dog provided above to get started!