Doing activities with your dog is not only healthy and fun for the two of you, but it can also bring you closer to your dog than you ever thought possible.
7 Fun Ways to Get Some Exercise for your Dog
Need some ideas to get you started? Here are seven fun games to play with Fido that are guaranteed to be a blast.
1.) Swimming Pool for Dogs
It’s summertime and it’s hot outside. A great way to cool down is by jumping in the pool with your dog! Don’t have a nice pool built in your backyard? Don’t worry. Being a dog owner means embracing the fact that you will proudly buy that kiddie pool at Wal-Mart and look confused when the cashier says your kids are going to have so much fun in it.
Most dogs love running around and then diving into these cheap kiddie pools. Or they can be like my dog that simply thinks it’s one huge water bowl to drink from. Hey, whatever makes him happy.
2.) Hiking With Your Dog
Many of us can recognize that sad face your dog gives you when you leave them to go to the gym. The one that says, “Why do you have to be healthy without me?” Take your dog hiking and you don’t have to bear seeing Fido so sad.
Getting exercise and fresh air is good for both of you, so what are you waiting for? There are so many exciting smells for your dog and beautiful scenic views for you to take in while you hike that you will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner! Make sure you research the rules of the place you hike so that both you and your dog are safe.
Even small dogs or puppies can join in the outdoor fun – check out our article on the Lazy Pup’s Way to Enjoy a Hike.
3.) Sign up for a 5K Race
Want to work out with your dog for a good cause? Try signing up for a 5k race that is pet-friendly. Even if you don’t think you’re ready to run a full 5k, it’s better to start researching upcoming races so you can find pet-friendly races to plan for. By signing up for races, you and your dog can get your workout in and meet cool people (and other dogs) at the same time.
BringFido.com has a search option for dog-friendly races in the United States so that you can find one near you. If you can’t find one near you, the website also has a list of dog-friendly hotels and accommodations so that you can make it a vacation.
4.) Brain Games
If you’re not up for a workout, there are always fun things you can do inside as well. In fact, it’s crucial that your dog gets regular mental exercise in addition to his daily exercise.
Try these brain games from Modern Dog Magazine to keep your dog’s mind sharp.
How many toys does your dog know the names of? Increase his vocabulary by teaching him to retrieve each toy by name. Start with his two favorites, and teach him to fetch them by name one at a time, in a room with no other toys to choose from.
The shell game
Have your dog sit, and let him see you hide one piece of kibble under a cup on the floor. Tell him to “take it,” and when he noses or knocks over the cup let him eat the kibble it was hiding.
My dog and I play games focused on his tracking ability because he’s a scent hound. Always make sure to reward your dog when he does things correctly!
5.) Go For Ice Cream (yes, for the both of you)
It’s time to treat both you and your dog. Ice cream for dogs is becoming more and more popular, and places such as the Tin Shed Garden Café in Portland, Oregon encourage you to bring your dog to enjoy a meal with you.
You can stop by for peanut butter-banana ice cream or sit down for an entire meal with Fido (dogs eat free on Tuesdays!). If you’re up for making your own ice cream, it’s pretty easy. Check out this simple ice cream recipe from the Dogingtonpost.com for a delicious treat.
Banana/Peanut Butter Treats
· 1 ripe banana
· 1 cup of peanut butter
· 2 cups of natural plain yogurt
· 2 tbsps. of honey
1. Mash the banana and then stir it into the natural yogurt.
2. Warm the cup of peanut butter using a microwave or stove until it’s easy to stir.
3. Add the banana and yogurt mixture and the honey to the softened peanut butter.
4. Mix all ingredients until well-combined.
5. Pour the mixture into a non-stick container and then freeze overnight.
6.) Enroll in an Agility Course
If you’re looking for a fun activity that combines mental and physical exercise, enrolling in an agility course could be for you. Not only can agility courses boost your communication skills with your dog, it can also solve behavioral problems.
As someone who worked for a dog agility trainer, I can personally tell you how fun it can be as well. The dogs are clearly having a blast learning the equipment and everyone there is enthusiastic about having a good time with their dogs.
7.) Make Dog Play Dates
This is a great way for you to connect with other dog owners and for your dog to make new friends as well. Not sure where to look? Try Meetup.com, where you can find groups that are interested in the same things you are. In my hometown, there are plenty of groups for small dogs or big dogs, or even ones who focus on a specific breed.
Depending on the size of your city, there is sure to be a group to match you and your dog. I have met great friends this way and who will better understand the dog owner lifestyle than those who have a dog?
Need more exercise ideas? Enjoy this video that explores several exercises focusing on a dog’s awareness & coordination.
VIDEO: Body Awareness Exercise Ideas for Dogs
I like my dogs to learn and become aware of their own bodies abilities. I try and do many exercises that develop this awareness, which in turn also helps to boost their confidence and understanding within themselves.
In this video i have shown examples of:
Ladder work – the dog learns to pace itself through the rungs of the ladder and becomes aware of foot placement.
Stool work – I really like the stool and can do lots of body awareness exercise with this..like in the video.
Basket/Bowl work – Go for a size slightly smaller than your dog so that you and your dog have to work to get foot placement success.
Hoop work – the aim is to shape the dog up to all 4 feet in the hoop.
Wobble board work – this helps them to learn how to adjust their balance and shift there body wait accordingly.
Out & About – I have added some examples of things you can use while out and about to continue with your body awareness exercises and add fun to your walk.
When out & about keep observing and looking for opportunities where you can add more fun and enjoyment to your walks. The more trick training you do with your dogs the more you dog also learns and understands about body awareness and the more your dogs confidence in itself and trust in you grows.