Let’s face it. Dogs are incredibly intelligent animals. They need mental stimulation as much as we do. Just like a bored child, a pup without enough to do is trouble in the making. That’s why it’s so essential to find ways to entertain your pooch, whether he’s hanging out alone in the backyard or going on errands with you.
The key to making it fun for both of you is variety. If you’re wondering why your pup is ignoring that chew toy you bought him last month, there’s a good reason. It’s ho-hum now. Luckily, there are many ways you can amuse your pet. Many will give both of you an invigorating workout.
1. Go Someplace New
Sometimes, a new venue is all you need to perk up your pooch. There are more things to see and smell. It doesn’t have to be a trip across the country, either. Going to a different neighborhood or exploring during your staycation can do wonders for your pet. You’ll likely find that he’ll get caught up in the excitement of discovering this new world.
2. Walk with a Friend
Dogs are keen on reading people. You can’t get anything past him. That’s what makes mixing up your daily walk by inviting a friend along such an easy way to make it more interesting for your pet. New people or old friends are just the ticket to make your stroll in the neighborhood or at the park more fun.
3. Jump in the Lake
Often, the best remedy for boredom is to do something nutty that you may not indulge yourself in enough. What better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the lake? Splashing around and tossing the football around are great ways to work off some energy. Bear in mind that not all breeds are natural swimmers like Labradors. Some flat-faced breeds like the Bulldog may have trouble.
4. Teach Your Pup a New Trick
Teaching your dog a new trick is an excellent way to challenge him mentally. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Have him associate a particular word with barking or sitting. If you make it a game, you’ll engage him more. It’s also another opportunity to bond with your pet. So many breeds are so eager to please. Do him and yourself a favor. Give your pup a chance.
5. Go to the Doggie Park
Many dogs look so forward to an outing at the doggie park that they learn to recognize the drive to it. As soon as they spot the familiar landmarks, they’re itching to get outside and romp with their canine buddies. We think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Regular visits reinforce socialization skills and puppy manners.
6. Go Camping
Camping and dogs go hand-in-hand. There’s so much for a dog to do. There are trails to explore. There are also other pups and new people to meet. It’s also a delightful way to unwind and recharge your batteries. Think of what it’s doing for your pet!
7. Eat Alfresco
Many restaurants have recognized that a lot of dog owners see themselves as pet parents. That means their pets accompany them everywhere—even going out to eat! You’ll likely find plenty of dog-friendly options. Your server will probably even provide you pup with a bowl of water and maybe a treat, too.
8. Time for a New Toy
Even though toys are supposed to be fun, they can also get old after a while. That’s why we recommend switching out your dog’s favorites with new ones now and again. If he’s walking past his Kong, get him something else to try to figure out and enjoy. Instead of leaving all his toys around, occasionally leave out a few of them and put out different ones.
9. Go for a Ride
We think it’s essential that your pet develops positive associations with the car. It’s a shame when we see a pup too scared to get inside because he’s afraid that it’s another visit to the vet. Make it a pleasurable experience. Take your dog with you as you run errands or grab a coffee at the drive-up window.
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10. Build an Agility Course
Some breeds like the Border Collie are well-known for their keen intelligence. They are dogs that want a job. Put him to the challenge by building an agility course. We suggest getting a couple of different types that you can change around to keep him thinking. Who knows? You might be training the next star of the show circuit.
11. Hit the Town
Walking around town is another fun way to entertain your dog outdoors. There are lots of things to observe and do. Make it a date with lunch and some shopping at dog-friendly shops. It’s an excellent opportunity for your pup to practice his leash manners and socialization skills. Research shows that frequent activity and exposure to new things will make him less fearful.
12. Play Hide and Seek
Who says that hide and seek is just a kids’ game? Your pup will get into a rousing round this childhood favorite, too. He’ll get just as excited as every other player. We guess that he’ll win all the time, too. Just be careful not to startle him when he finds where you’re hiding.
13. Go Geocaching
Often referred to as an electronic treasure hunt, geocaching is a fantastic way to discover new places. Over 444,000 individuals participate in this activity that takes them to parks and paths, usually off the beaten path. That’s the allure of it. Your pooch will be the ideal partner when looking for hides in moggle-invested sites or logs, on cliffs, or even in plain sight.
14. Let’s Play Fetch
Fetch is an engaging game to play with your pup. It acts on his instincts and desire to have a job. Retrievers aren’t the only ones that will get into it, either. Even breeds not known to be especially playful like Chow Chows won’t resist me-time with you for lots of fun.
15. Break Out the Kong Toy
Interactive toys like the Kong are ideal ways to make treat time more entertaining for your pup. They engage his intellect in challenging ways. Fill the opening with things like peanut butter. Your dog will stay busy with it for hours. What’s great about it is that you can portion treats. It’ll take him a while to get his reward.
16. Go Hiking
Hiking forces you to pay attention to the terrain, lest you sprain an ankle. It’s the same thing for your pet. Add to that all the interesting distractions all along the trail. That’s saying nothing about all the new smells. It also forces both of you to focus on the path ahead. You never know what you may encounter around the corner.
17. Attend a Festival
Festivals and other events are all about having fun. The mood is light, with lots of people sharing your thoughts. Many of them are pet-friendly, which will give your pooch lots of opportunities to meet new friends. There’s so much to enjoy about these outings with so many things to see. It doesn’t have to be a pet-themed event, either.
18. Go Boating
It’s almost a cliche. You’re driving down the road and pass a car with a dog’s head sticking far out the window, taking in the air. It’s no different when your pup is on a boat. Put him up in the bow, and he can enjoy the same experience. A bass boat, pontoon, or runabout will work and get you both in the game.
19. Stage a Doggie Treasure Hunt
A treasure hunt is a cool riff on the interactive food games. Instead of a toy, your pooch is on the hunt outdoors with a plan that you set. We suggest using treats that have a strong scent to make it easier for your pup to catch on to the concept.
20. Play Tug of War
Playing tug of war is a throwback to puppy fighting when littermates are vying for the top place in the pack. We’re not sure, but we think it may be something of a fond memory that even adult dogs enjoy. It’s a great way to interact with your pooch and take him down memory lane with you along for the ride.
21. Toss the Frisbee Around the Yard
Busting out the frisbee is a no-brainer. It’s easy for you to throw and just as easy for your pup to retrieve. It’s a natural when you’re at the beach or the park. We like the fact that it travels a distance without a lot of effort on your part. If you want to wear your pooch out quickly, there is no surer way to do it.
22. Take Him Hunting
Many breeds like springers, pointers, and retrievers are born hunters. It only makes sense to let them do their job and reap the benefits of time outdoors and food for the table. These dogs have a high prey drive that makes the task easier. They know exactly what they need to do. It’s another example of some prime bonding time with you and your pet.
23. Go Jogging
If you need the motivation to run, your pooch is your best personal trainer. He’ll take to the road with you any time. He’ll appreciate the workouts with you, while both of you stay in shape. You may even find that you’re looking forward to your runs more than ever while keeping your pup occupied.
24. Bike the Neighborhood
Many dogs like to run a lot faster than us mere humans can. The Saluki, for example, is a master sprinter at 43 mph! That’s where your bike can come to the rescue. You win with a seemingly leisurely ride at 12 mph, and your pooch gets a decent workout at the same pace. It doesn’t get much better than that.
25. Have a Picnic
Having a picnic is a quintessential summer activity. You can relax and enjoy a premade meal. There are games to play, afterward maybe followed by a nap. You are speaking the language of your pooch and his idea of the perfect staycation. Indulge him—and you! He’ll love the bonding time with you, and you’ll like the lunch you can pick up without the fuss of cooking over a hot stove. A win-win!
Final Thoughts About Entertaining Your Pooch
Entertaining your dog outdoors is easy with the right mindset. Think of it as a time for both of you to share. Your pup is your excuse to play, take off from work, and have fun. Everyone wins. It’ll help keep you two healthy, mentally and physically. You don’t need a reason to take your time outside. Throw the routine or schedule aside and make it a day for everyone to enjoy.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1. Go Someplace New
- 2. Walk with a Friend
- 3. Jump in the Lake
- 4. Teach Your Pup a New Trick
- 5. Go to the Doggie Park
- 6. Go Camping
- 7. Eat Alfresco
- 8. Time for a New Toy
- 9. Go for a Ride
- 10. Build an Agility Course
- 11. Hit the Town
- 12. Play Hide and Seek
- 13. Go Geocaching
- 14. Let’s Play Fetch
- 15. Break Out the Kong Toy
- 16. Go Hiking
- 17. Attend a Festival
- 18. Go Boating
- 19. Stage a Doggie Treasure Hunt
- 20. Play Tug of War
- 21. Toss the Frisbee Around the Yard
- 22. Take Him Hunting
- 23. Go Jogging
- 24. Bike the Neighborhood
- 25. Have a Picnic
- Final Thoughts About Entertaining Your Pooch