6 Fun Activities To Do With Your Dog
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As a pet parent, finding fun activities to do with your dog is time well spent. Even if you are short on time or can’t travel far, there are lots of fun activities you can do together.
From playing fetch games to going on a hike, there are many activities in which you can bond and keep your dog entertained at the same time. The best part is that these activities may even help to strengthen the bond between the two of you while doing something productive.
Why Dogs Need Regular Activities and Exercise
All breeds of healthy dogs require some form of daily exercise, but how much and what kind depends on your pups needs. Dogs need adequate activities both physically and mentally, and anything less can lead to boredom and frustration, or worse, it can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture.
It’s not just the physical benefits that make exercise important for dogs. Mental stimulation is also important and in fact even more so given their natural curiosity when it comes to new environments and activities.
Exercise activities stimulates blood flow therefore, increasing oxygenation in the brain, which improves mental alertness, making your pup easier to train in obedience skills through positive reinforcement training methods.
In addition, outdoor activities help your pup become familiar with strangers, and other animals so that they become comfortable around people rather than fearful due to lack of interaction with unfamiliar things.
6 Fun Activities To Do With Your Dog
1. Visit the local dog park
If there’s a dog park in your area, you can take your pup to it for some quality time with other doggos if you think he can handle other dogs. This will provide him with the socialization and exercise he needs.
Dog parks are usually safely enclosed with posted rules and require that you clean up after your dog. These areas provide a great opportunity for you as well as your dog to make new friends. However, if your pooch is toy-sized, you may want to be extra careful. Watch your dog closely when he is around other larger dogs since they may unintentionally cause injury while running around. Some dog parks do have sections exclusively dedicated to smaller pups.
2. Go for long walks or hikes
Walking and hiking is a fun opportunity for you and your pup to bond, and get some exersize. Nearly all cities have nearby trails you and your pup can explore. Also, you can just use city streets for a walking expedition. Find a local map and plan a route through the streets to get that extra bit of exercise.
While out on long walks and hikes, it is not only an opportunity to explore new places, but also practice the commands you’ve been working on with your dog. Be sure to be prepared with things like a first-aid kit, poop bags, and enough water for both of you.
3. Build a backyard agility course
If you have ever seen an agility trial, you know handlers lead their dogs through an obstacle course made up of jumps, teeter-totters, tunnels, balance beams, climbing structures, etc. It’s both a competitive sport and a great way for your pup to boost confidence, release energy and stay focused while having fun.
You can even buy pre-made obstacles, or construct some basic ones out of PVC pipe and wood. It is important to keep the obstacles low for safety, and let your pup progress at their own speed.
4. Take a dog training class
Obedience training can benefit dogs of all ages, regardless of the intensity of the program. From teaching basic commands to preparing for serious competitions, you and your pup will build a stronger connection by collaborating and learning.
You can find a class in your area, by contacting your local animal shelter, pet store or city park programs for information. There are also many online training programs you can do from home.
5. Play tug-of war, catch and hide and seek
Consider buying a tug toy to help your dog release extra energy. Playing tug-of war is an effective method to train dogs, encourage self-control, and deter or redirect them from biting or chewing.
Also, if your dog gets excited over the idea of chasing a ball, then fetch could be a perfect activity for him. For the most part it involves running to catch a tennis ball or dog ball that is released from a launcher or by you tossing it. Your dog will then return the ball to you after getting a lot of much needed running.
To help strengthen your dog’s memory, you can try playing hide and seek. You can play this indoors or out, but tell your pup to “stay” or have someone else hold onto him. You can go hide and wait for your dog to find you. You can then call your pup, and reward him with an exciting toy or treat when he finds you.
6. Go for a swim in a lake, pool or beach
Swimming with your pup is a great way to share a relaxing outdoor activity on a warm summer day Taking your pup to a lake, beach, or pool can provide a great off-leash exercise activity.
Even if you have a puppy or senior dog with joint issues, this activity will be easier than the others mentioned. Because the water offers natural resistance for activities like swimming and wading. Before you get started, though, be sure to consult your vet.
Can I Do Activities with Dogs of Any Age ?
Older dogs can face issues with their physical and mental health due to mobility issues. To help them stay as healthy as possible into old age, provide consistent exercise throughout their lives. This will set your senior dog up for success.
However, if your pup has arthritis, joint problems, or other conditions that may cause him pain and discomfort, it’s important to modify his exercise routine by taking shorter walks each day. If you have concerns or your dog has medical issues, you may want to talk to your vet to get a better understanding of your dog’s activity tolerance.
The amount of exercise your puppy requires per day depends on his age and breed. Avoid pushing him too hard and take it easy on the high jumps and long runs, since a puppy’s bones are still developing. But it is necessary to be sure your puppy is active enough to burn off excess energy. Your puppy also requires regular mental stimulation too, so providing him with cognitive activities will help with his memory and problem-solving skills.
Cognitive exercises can also help prevent destructive behaviors by keeping the puppy busy while giving them a physical workout at the same time. If you have concerns or questions on how much or often your puppy should be active, you may want to consult your vet.
We love to include our four-legged friend in daily activities such as going for walks or runs in the park. But if your dog has the same routine day after day, he may become bored and under stimulated.
If your dog’s energy is not properly burned off, it might be expressed through destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, digging or hyperactive behavior. By changing up daily fun activities and providing creative stimulation, you can keep your pup both mentally and physically satisfied, which will result in better behavior all around.