Everyone knows that owning a dog can be one of the most fun and rewarding things you ever do. After all, what could be better than unconditional love and enthusiastic companionship?
What they don’t tell you is just how boring playing fetch for the thousandth time can be, or how quickly walks can turn into a dreadful chore.
With that in mind, we compiled a list of some of the most enjoyable things you can do with your pooch. New activities will bring you closer together while giving you both a break from monotony, and most importantly, they’ll give your mutt fresh places to pee.
Things to Do With Your Dog Inside
If you’re stuck inside because the weather won’t cooperate or some other reason, finding fun activities can turn a dreary day into a memorable one. Here are some of our favorite things to do when we can’t leave the house:
1. Scavenger Hunt
Hide treats around the house and then see how long it takes your dog to find them. This works best if you use treats with a strong odor, and your dog will absolutely lose his mind every time he catches the scent trail.
The great thing about scavenger hunts is that it’s easy to customize the difficulty level, so you can hide them in hard-to-find spots if you have a genius on your hands, or you can make it painfully easy if you have a bulldog.
Just be sure you remember where everything was hidden, or you may find yourself trying to track down a rotting dog treat someday.
2. Hide and Seek
This is similar to the scavenger hunt idea, except you’re the hidden treat. Find a place to hide, and then call your dog to you.
He’ll get just as excited finding you as he did the treats, and you won’t have to worry about him getting pudgy in the process. Best of all, though, watching your dog try to track you down is unbelievably adorable.
But make sure that you are able to keep an eye on them. While it is good to have fun, it is also important to make sure that they do not run off and get lost.
Note: if your dog ever gets lost, then we recommend using a service like pawmaw.com.
3. Learn New Tricks
Stimulating your dog’s mind can tucker him out just as effectively as a rousing game of fetch, and it’s much less hazardous to your furniture. Plus, having a better-behaved dog is a win in its own right.
Take thirty minutes or so to teach him a new command. This can be something useful, like “leave it,” or something as silly as “play dead.” The important thing is spending time together and learning to communicate with one another (and, of course, eating treats).
4. Three-Card Monte
We know, we know — gambling with dogs is a bad idea because they have no money and they cheat at poker. Playing Three-Card Monte with them can be fun and stimulating for both of you, however.
The idea is to take three cups, and then show your dog that there’s a delicious treat under one of them. Then, scramble them up and see if your dog can find it. If he guesses correctly, he gets the treat. If not, he plays again.
If your dog isn’t exactly a Rhodes scholar, you can use clear cups until he gets the hang of it.
5. Treat-Dispensing Toys
Some toys are built to hold treats that they release when your dog manipulates them effectively. This can keep your dog riveted for quite some time — and that’s incredibly entertaining for you.
You can also take a Kong, fill it with peanut butter, and then freeze it. This creates a perfect treat for summer days and one that will take your dog quite a while to finish.
6. Puppy Playdates
If your dog has a best friend that lives nearby, arranging for the two of them to get together can be greatly beneficial for everyone involved. Clear a space for them to play and wrestle, and then sit back and watch as the other dog does all the work of tuckering your pet out.
This improves your dog’s social skills in addition to giving him a healthy outlet for his energy, but the best thing about it is your neighbor will feel like he owes you big.
7. Picking Up Toys
You have to work up to this one, but once you teach it to your dog, you’ll be able to get him to clean up after himself and actually have fun in the process.
He’ll need to know commands like “take it” and “drop it” before you get started, but you can have him “take” toys that are on the ground and “drop” them in his toy box.
When the game is done, your dog will have a belly full of treats and a tired mind, while you’ll have a clean house and that song from Mary Poppins stuck in your head.
Things to Do With Your Dog Outside
There’s no shortage of fun and stimulating things to do with your dog indoors, and all you need is a little imagination.
However, using your imagination can feel a lot like work, and the fact is that it’s much easier to find things to do with your dog outdoors. Here are a few things we love to do that you may not have considered:
1. Hit the Beach
While going for a hike is a great way to burn off energy, visiting a dog-friendly beach is like a hike on steroids. There’s a ton of stimulation in the form of water, birds, and people, and walking on sand is naturally more taxing than traipsing over solid ground.
Plus, if your dog decides to venture into the water, swimming will quickly leave him happy and exhausted.
Just be careful, because, in addition to normal hazards like people and other pets, you have to worry about the possibility of drowning or some other animal trying to lure your dog into danger. Be sure to keep a close eye on your buddy at all times.
2. Go Shopping
If your dog is good with people, taking him to an outdoor mall can be a blast for both of you. He gets to see a ton of new people and sights while basking in adoration from strangers.
Meanwhile, you get a tired dog, some new stuff, and if you play your cards right, maybe even a hot date.
3. Agility Training
Teaching your dog to run an obstacle course is possibly the ultimate activity. It stimulates both your dog’s body and his brain, while also bringing the two of you closer together than ever.
While you can do it competitively if you like, you don’t have to get that serious about it to see the benefit of it. You can buy some of the equipment and set up a course in the backyard if you like, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Then again, if you do it by yourself, you’ll have no objective way of determining how much better your dog is than all the other pups.
4. Go Camping
Many camping grounds are dog-friendly, or you can take your mutt off the beaten path and throw up a tent somewhere in the Great Outdoors. Your dog will likely be in heaven, as he gets to spend time with you, go for a long walk in nature, and hang out by the campfire and beg for scraps.
Just be aware of your surroundings. Camping can quickly go from fun to terrifying if you encounter a bear, venomous snake, or Bigfoot.
5. Try Geocaching
We already suggested going for a scavenger hunt indoors, so how about one on a global scale? Geocaching takes you all over the world, as you follow your GPS to certain locations to find hidden objects.
You’ll feel like Indiana Jones, and your dog will love getting both a car ride and a hike out of the deal.
6. Eat at a New Restaurant
Dog-friendly restaurants are becoming more common, and you can enjoy a meal with your trusty taste-tester by your side. Many places have special patios where you and your dog can dine, and some even have special menus for your pup.
Then again, we won’t judge you for sharing your T-bone with him. Just make sure he tips.
7. Visit an Off-Leash Dog Park
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If your pup plays well with others, an off-leash dog park will feel like hog heaven. These are big, fenced-in stretches of land in urban areas where people can let their pups run free and play with other dogs. It’s a great way to exhaust a dog in a hurry.
That being said, they’re only as safe as the other people and pets that are there. Some people bring dogs that have no business being off-leash, while others ignore requirements about vaccinations and other health hazards. Keep an eye on your dog at all times.
8. Arrange a Photo Shoot
If there’s one sentence that’s never been uttered, it’s: “No thanks, I have too many pictures of my dog.” While all the candid snaps on your iPhone will be cherished memories for the rest of your life, they can’t match a professional photoshoot.
Find someone who specializes in pet photography, and then discuss the most magical places to take a few shots. The end result will be well worth the price, and the photos will likely be some of your most treasured possessions.
9. Take a Walking Tour of Your City
No matter how long you’ve lived in your current city, there are likely some places you’ve yet to explore. You can learn a lot more about your hometown while tuckering your pup out with a walking tour.
You can even take it a step further and plan the tour so that you stop at a pet-friendly restaurant or two along the way…
10. Plant a Garden
If you have a digger on your hands, you can take advantage of their natural instincts by planting a garden. Have them dig the holes, then you can fill them with plants or trees.
Be sure that any plants you use are safe for dogs, though. Also, don’t get too attached to your new garden. You have a digger on your hands, after all.
11. Go for a Bike Ride
If you trust your dog’s ability to keep up (and not to slam on the brakes unexpectedly), a bike ride is a great way for both of you to burn some calories.
You can also get a bicycle trailer and just haul your dog around behind you. This is great for older dogs or those who feel they’re too good for jogging.
12. Hit Up a Drive-In Movie
Some pups are more into Netflix than fetch, and if you have a drive-in movie theater near you, checking out the newest release is a great way for you to enjoy a familiar hobby in a new environment.
Many drive-ins have room for cookouts, too, so you can have a nice meal to go with your movie. Just be ready to share your popcorn.
Regardless of whether you’re cooped up at home or wanting to explore the outdoors, there are plenty of fun ways to bond with your dog that you might not have considered.
The options are a great place to start, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you keep your eyes peeled for new ways to have fun with your pup, you’ll constantly be enjoying new adventures.
And seriously — taking your dog to the mall is a great way to get a date.
Featured Image Credit: YvonneHuijbens, Pixabay
- Things to Do With Your Dog Inside
- Things to Do With Your Dog Outside
- Non-Stop Fun