Looking for Something Fun To Do With Your Canine Companion?
All dogs are better behaved when they are involved in activities to exercise both their minds and their bodies. A bored dog is often a mischievous, or destructive dog. Dogs love to please us. They don’t call them mans best friend for no reason.
Some dogs excel at one or more of these activities, but all dogs will benefit even if they are not at the top of the class.
We adopted a Border Collie named Emily (in the photo above stalking the steers) about a year ago. She is an awesome dog, with a heart of gold, but she likes to be busy. That isn’t hard for us since we live on a farm with several barn cats and wild rabbits for her to chase. We also have some cattle she thinks she can herd. She loves to be working, something that caused her to lose her previous home!
She enjoys walking and hiking, pulling my son on his roller skates, playing ball and Frisbee, herding the cows, and just racing around the yard at top speed. We make a great obedience team. She goes nuts when I get the leash out, because she knows she gets to work. She enjoys working in obedience, and agility. She loves to work her brain. Learning a new trick is a challenge she gladly accepts.
We also have a Shih tzu named Lily, who loves to fetch balls, is learning agility and obedience, and curling up on the nearest lap at night.
I am creating this lens to provide information to others who may be looking for activities they can participate in with their canine companion. All dogs learn at a different pace, don’t get frustrated if your dog doesn’t pick something up right away. Just keep trying, and remember it’s just for fun, and the best interest of your pet. I have seen too many bored dogs become destructive, and lose their home. Working with your dog can help you get to know him, and help you connect on a whole new level.
There are many more activities you can participate in than I have listed in this lens. Take a look at some of the additional resources to find more information on some of these additional activities
Here is a list of the activities included here:
- Obedience Training
- Go Fetch (anything to do with retrieving including ball, Frisbee, and Flyball)
- Dog parks/ Take a walk
- Hiking and Camping
- Tracking/ Earthdog
- Teach your dog a new trick
- Pet Therapy
- Harness and pulling activities
- Drill Team
Before you engage your dog in any type of physical activity set an appointment to have your dog checked by the vet, and discuss the activity you are interested in participating in.
#1 Obedience Training
All dogs should have at least basic obedience training for their own safety. There may be a situation where your dog’s life is at stake. You may need them to come to you the first time you call them instead of running into traffic. You may need them to stay where they are instead of running in front of a truck or car.
Obedience has come a long way in recent years. Most obedience trainers and groups use positive reinforcement from treats, or clickers to train your pet. Obedience instructors can also give you tips and pointers for breaking any bad habits your dog may have.
Beyond learning the basic commands, if your dog loves to learn, you can go on to compete in obedience trials. Your dog can earn obedience titles, and awards. You can work with other dog loving people and their pets.
#2 Agility Training
What started in England, as a doggie version of horse jumping has evolved into a popular dog sport around the world. Agility training is a really fun challenge for you, and your dog. Any breed can participate, from the smallest to the largest. Just have fun with it!
Your dog will learn to maneuver through an obstacle course of jumps, poles, ramps, tunnels, and other equipment. The course is determined ahead of time, and the dog must run the course (off leash) in the correct order from start to finish. You may communicate with your dog by clapping, talking or signaling to help them through the course.
The course will contain several jumps, and other obstacles. The goal is to complete the course in the least amount of time, with no faults.
# 3 Go Fetch!
Train your dog to catch a Frisbee (flying disc), retrieve a ball, or fetch a stick. All of these are great exercise for your pet.
Disc dog competitions are becoming more and more popular. Some of the best disc dogs in the world are mixed breed dogs, but Retrievers, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds also excel at this sport. But just for fun any dog can do it, if they enjoy it.
Dogs work on relay teams jumping a series of hurdles to release a ball, and retrieve it. They return over the jumps.
Some dogs are born to hunt. Let them build on their natural ability by training them to retrieve, and entering them in retrieving trials.
You don’t have to compete in organized competitions to play fetch with your dog. Just get out in the back yard and throw a ball, or stick for them to retrieve. It’s great exercise for them in a minimal amount of time and effort from you. Just be sure you don’t over exercise them on a hot sunny day. Some dogs love to fetch so much they will do it until they drop.
#4 Dog Parks/ Walking With Your Dog
Walking with your dog can be great exercise for both of you. There are many parks that are designed specifically for our four legged friends. Some of the parks even allow you to walk with your dog off leash. Some are enclosed, and some are open.
Wherever you are walking your dog, make sure you pick up any extras your dog may leave behind. Teach your dog good leash, and social manners prior to walking in public.
Check the additional resource links below (at the bottom of the page) for a site that lets you plug in your zip code to find a dog park near you.
#5 Hiking and Camping
Hiking and camping with your dog can be a lot of fun. Before you take off on a ten-mile trail, be sure you have conditioned your dog to handle the distance. A great way to condition your pet is to walk with your pet daily and build up the distance, or play ball with them on a regular basis.
Make sure you protect your best friend from pests like mosquitoes, and ticks. Work on your dog’s social skills prior to hitting the trails. Wild or unfriendly dogs may cause a problem if the trail is well traveled. Call ahead to ensure the trails are pet friendly, and make sure you have all the equipment you will need on the trail. If you are going for an overnight hike, be sure you have a way to secure your dog for the night, enough food and water, and containers to put them in.