Five Fun Ways to Play With Your Dog
Whether it’s a sunny summer day or a blustery winter night, your dog needs mental and physical stimulation. Daily walks are a great way to improve your dog’s health and burn some energy, but you and your dog may get bored with the same routine daily. Or, maybe the weather is bad and you can’t go outside to play! Here are five additional, fun ways to play with your dog.
A Trip to the Dog Park
If the weather allows and your dog is friendly toward other dogs, a trip to the dog park is a great treat! Your dog can burn energy exploring trails off-leash, or playing chase or wrestling with other dogs. Many parks are becoming larger and more open areas, where you can safely place fetch off-leash, or your dog can pick and choose who he wants to play with. If your dog gets nervous at the park or seems stressed, choosing a different activity may be best.
A Game of Fetch
If your dog is more the solo-play type, a game of fetch may be just what he needs. This can be done at home in your yard, or in a new environment such as a local park or trail. Make sure your dog is OK to be off-leash in the area, and won’t run off or get hurt. If you live in an apartment without a fenced area, or your dog isn’t trusted off-leash, you can purchase a 20 or 30-foot leash to play fetch safely on lead while still allowing enough space to run around.
What activities do you enjoy with your dog?
Learn New Tricks
Mental stimulation is another great way to encourage fun! Not only does your dog work his body, but he gets to work his brain, too. Learning a new trick can be as simple as following an online video tutorial, reading a training book, or taking an obedience class together. Depending on your dog’s interest and experience levels, you can teach anything from the basics like sit and stay, to more advanced tricks such as putting away toys or finding people!
Play Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a great physical and mental activity. Some dogs may enjoy a game of hide and seek with people, however, toys and even treats can be used if you’re unable to play along. Hide treats inside puzzle toys or in various areas of the house, or hide favorite toys in locations that your dog frequently checks. This is a great brain-buster if your dog is home alone and bored, or just to keep him exercising if stuck indoors on a rainy day. If your dog is having a hard time getting the hang of things, placing high-value treats in more obvious locations can help get him started.
Enroll in a Fun Activity
Activities with you and your dog are another great way to exercise. Classes on obedience, agility, flyball, tracking and more are great ways to work the brain and body. You may want to find an activity well suited to your dog’s body shape or size, or even specific breed. High-energy dogs may do better with intense activities such as flyball or agility, while prey-driven dogs may enjoy tracking or chasing events. You may need to try a few things before you settle on what is best for you and your dog.
Keep Fit and Have Fun!
Keeping your dog (and yourself) activity both mentally and physically is great not just for your dog’s weight, but for his emotional health too. Dogs that are stimulated mentally and physically are less likely to become bored and destructive, and less likely to end up in the local animal shelter. Keep your dog happy with these great choices!
What do you enjoy doing with your dog? Answer the poll, or share in the comments below!