With the weather warming up, are you looking for fun things to do with your dog? Spending extra time with your pet is a great way to promote the bond you share with one another. Not only will introducing your dog to new activities help your relationship grow, but spending time together will also give your dog the necessary socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation that he or she needs, which will result in better behavior, less aggression, and more harmony in the household. Listed below are activities you and your pup are sure to enjoy!
Just as yoga can promote relaxation, decreased blood pressure, and improved flexibility in humans, yoga (or, doga, if being done with a pup) has the same effects on man’s best friend. Doga classes are becoming increasingly popular, especially in large cities, and small groups of people gather with their dogs while an instructor leads them through pet-friendly poses, such as downward facing dog. Do not worry if your dog isn’t flexible or does not participate well during class; simply being in a calming environment can provide plenty of benefits in and of itself.
2. Stand Up Paddle Board
If your pup loves to follow you wherever you go, has good balance, and isn’t afraid of water, then stand up paddle boarding with your dog will definitely be a fun activity! Simply grab a life vest for the both of you, place your pet on the end of the board, and paddle away!
3. Beach Day
What dog can resist lounging in the sun and playing in the waves with his or her best friend? Look for a dog friendly beach and be sure to pack plenty of cold water for your dog as well as an umbrella to keep him or her cool in the shade. Your dog is sure to be a big hit at the beach, as no one can resist a dog in the sand.
4. Outdoor Festivals
The next time you head out to the local park for an outdoor movie or beer festival, inquire whether dogs are allowed. Most places are dog friendly and your pup will enjoy the opportunity to spend time together while also experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells.
All dogs love to explore, but not every dog can handle intense activity like running or jumping, which makes hiking a great option for every type of pup. Your pet would love nothing more than to explore a new trail system or park with you, and spending the day outside will ensure you have a happy, tired dog for the rest of the night.
If you have a water loving dog, such as a spaniel, retriever, or hound, heading to your favorite body of water and going for a swim is a no-brainer. If your dog is overweight or suffering from stiff joints or arthritis, swimming is a highly recommended therapeutic activity that can help your pet lose weight and improve joint mobility.
Do you and your dog like to run? Canicross is a growing sport where human and dog complete a cross country style course while tethered together. Races are typically 2k – 4k long, and the duo with the fastest time wins. Even if you are not interested in competing, running together is a fantastic way to exercise, bond, and share new experiences.
If you are more interested in cycling than running and have a high-energy dog, bikejoring may be a good activity for you. Bicycle attachments are available that safely tether your pet to the bike so that you both can enjoy miles and miles of enjoyable exercise. Look for the attachment at your local bicycle shop or online.
Does your dog need lots of exercise, but running, walking, or biking isn’t quite your style? Specially made scooters exist that allow you to harness your pet to the vehicle so that he or she can pull you across bicycle paths or sidewalks.
If rollerblading is more your speed, teach your dog to run alongside you while you rollerblade. If your dog is inclined to pull this can be an especially fun activity for thrill seekers or those who wish to avoid having to rollerblade up steep hills.
Like to skateboard? Almost all dogs can be trained to pull a skateboard. Although this activity may appear dangerous, it is actually much safer than many others on the list for the experienced rider!
12. Dry Land Sledding
Dry land sledding (also known as urban mushing) is a great activity for dogs with high energy levels that need lots of exercise, such as Siberian Huskies or German Shepherds. Carts can be purchased online that are intended for teams of 1 – 8 dogs. Most pups require minimal training to be ready for the roads or trails and simply need to know the “go,” “stop,” and “turn” commands.
13. Winter Sledding
If your dog is a northern breed and enjoys dry land sledding, winter sledding is a no brainer. This fun activity provides plenty of exercise for dogs with even the highest of energy levels. Look for a group of sledding enthusiasts near you to inquire about testing gear before making the big purchase.
Skijoring is similar to canicross, except that a dog is harnessed to a skier. The dog runs ahead of the skier as a form of assistance, and is an activity rooted in Scandinavian culture. While skijoring competitions exist, most skijorers simply participate recreationally.
15. Weight Pull
Not just an activity for large breeds, weight pull competitions are inclusive, with even toy breeds participating occasionally. During a weight pull, dogs are harnessed to a weighted cart and asked to pull the load a distance of 10 meters. The winner is the dog who pulls the largest percentage of his or her body weight. This activity is perfect for pets with an abundance of energy that always need a “job” to do.
It is no secret that dogs love the outdoors, which makes them perfect camping partners in the summer months. Many product lines exist solely marketed towards humans who take their dogs camping, and items such as inflatable dog beds, dog-sized tents, dog backpacks, and sleeping bags are available.
17. Brewery Visits
Fun things to do with your dog don’t all have to include exercise. Most breweries are dog friendly, especially if they do not serve food. Call ahead to be sure, but most places even offer dog treats made from spent grain or specially brewed dog beer.
18. Dining on Patios
If you are more of a foodie than a beer aficionado, consider taking your dog along with you on your next date night. Most restaurants with patios are dog friendly and are happy to accommodate well-behaved pups by providing treats and a bowl of water.
A fun way to bond with your pet, especially if you have a work-motivated dog, is Agility. In an Agility class you will learn how to communicate with your pet in order to help him or her feel comfortable completing an obstacle course. If your dog excels at this activity there are even competitions that accommodate all levels of dog and owner. If you’re not interested in attending Agility classes or competitions, consider setting up a DIY Agility course in your backyard as a fun (and free) activity at home.
20. Obedience Trials
Other activities to do with your dog that do not involve any type of coordination or high energy levels from either participant include obedience trials. If your pet listens well then you should consider these competitions, where dog and handler are judged on how well they communicate with one another.
If your dog’s energy level is somewhere between obedience and Agility, Rally-O may be a good option for you and your pet. In a Rally-O competition, participants work through a numbered course as quickly as possible. At each station, a different command is given, such as speed up, slow down, stop, or complete an obedience command. This fun game is enjoyable for both dog and owner, and is an easy way for both to exercise.
22. Scent Tracking
Dogs interact with the world around them differently than do humans. Whereas humans use their eyes and ears, dogs primarily use their ultrasensitive noses. Scent activities and competitions are popular, especially for hound dogs. You can work on scent tracking at home by hiding treats around the house and asking your dog to find them, or you can even attend classes and competitions where dogs compete against one another to see which pup can find hidden items the fastest.
Many breeds from the sporting group were originally bred to be hunters, and most of these dogs retain their natural instincts that make them trusty hunting companions. Retrievers, spaniels, pointers, and hounds all enjoy being outdoors, helping to chase or retrieve game.
This sport may look like Agility on steroids, as it takes a fair amount of speed, skill, and training. Dogs run as fast as they can over a series of jumps to a box that contains a tennis ball. When the dog presses a release button, a tennis ball is tossed from the box that the dog catches and then carries back to his or her owner while running over more hurdles. Dogs race one another relay-style in teams of four, and pups of all shapes and sizes are eligible to compete in their respective divisions.
Some dogs really like Frisbees. These are commonly dogs from herding groups, such as the Border Collie. Spend the day with your dog by throwing the Frisbee and teaching commands, or even attend a Frisbee competition where competitors are judged for distance/accuracy or freestyle tricks.
26. Dock Jumping
Dock jumping is a sport that has grown in recent years. Just as it sounds, dogs are judged based on how far they jump off a dock while chasing an object such as a tennis ball. This is a great activity for dogs that love water and are also athletic, such as retrievers or spaniels.
Take your dog for a peaceful ride at sunset in a kayak, canoe, or boat. Be sure to pack a life jacket for your pet, and never take a dog that is fidgety or bad at the “stay” command.
28. Lure Coursing
Other somewhat obscure activities for dogs include lure coursing. This sport is intended for dogs with a high natural prey drive, especially sight hounds. A mechanical lure is driven across a field while a dog chases the lure without veering off course. Typically, the artificial lure is driven up to 1,000 meters!
29. Freestyle Musical Dance
This relatively new activity is essentially a mix of obedience and Agility, but set to music. You and your dog will perform choreographed “moves” set to music, and you can participate either in your own home, at a dog training facility, or as part of a competition.
30. Dog Walking Group
Joining a dog walking group in your city is a great way for you to meet new and like-minded people while also exercising and socializing your dog. Inquire with your local pet store or training facility whether any groups meet in the area. Walking groups are also great if you need motivation to get out the door during chilly months or on rainy days.
31. Dog Park
If your pet is friendly with other dogs, consider a membership to a local dog park. Look for one that requires proof that all dogs entering the gates are vaccinated and spayed/neutered. Your dog will enjoy hours of playtime and freedom with other energetic dogs.
32. Canine Good Citizen Training
Having your dog become a canine good citizen is a fun activity that not only encourages a greater level of bonding between dog and owner, but also enables your pup to be welcome in more places or to be able to volunteer in certain programs. To be a certified canine good citizen, your dog must attend a specially designated training class and then pass a 10-step test.
Napping with your dog is a great bonding activity for you and your canine companion. Not only will it be a great relaxation for you and your pet but sometimes you just need a break. I mean if you’re going to be doing all these fun things why not take a nap with them too! This is also great for those rainy days when you just don’t want to get out of bed!
34. Car Rides
Most dogs love going outside and they especially love being in the car. I’ve never met a dog who doesn’t like to go on car rides! This can be a stress reliever for you and your dog! Also if you need to run errands all day your dog won’t mind the car ride at all as long as they get to have a nice snack!
35. Tug Of War
Sometimes you and your dog just need to have regular play time together. Do you want to know what a dog loves more than just throwing a ball around? Tug of war fights is what dogs love the most when playing! Just be careful when playing tug of war with your dog because you don’t want to pull to hard and hurt their teeth.
36. Bring Your Dog To Work
Bring your dog to work day is not a well-known national holiday but it is indeed a real thing. The first Friday after Father’s Day is bring your dog to work day. Most places will allow you to do this. Of course restaurants and various food places will not allow dogs, but most office buildings are celebrating this day. If you’re not sure if your work does it doesn’t hurt to ask your boss!