Activities For Dog Owners

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Introduction

The moment you decide to bring a dog into your life, you also agree to take on the many responsibilities that come with being a dog owner. These responsibilities do not end with just feeding your dog and giving them a home; you also need to spend a good amount of time with them and do different activities together. Luckily, there are a number of activities that you can try with your dog. These activities are designed to keep both you and your dog moving, which is helpful for overall health. But, more importantly, it is a way for you to bond with your dog, get a better understanding of each other and strengthen your relationship in the long run.

Hiking

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Sunny Day
Free
Normal
2 Hours
Items needed
Hiking packs for dogs (optional)
Poop bags
Flashlight
Local map
Dog poncho and Boots
First-aid kit
Leash
Food and Water
Activity description

When taking your dog for a walk in your neighborhood has become mundane, take it up a notch by bringing your dog on a hike. Hitting the hiking trail is a great, challenging way for you to exercise. It also gives your dog a great workout and offers a fresh change of scenery. State parks are a good starting place for hikes. This activity is often free for everyone, although there are some exceptions where parks may charge a minimal entrance fee. Hiking is best done when the weather is clear and sunny to avoid any accidents due to bad weather. Hikes can last from 2 to 5 hours, depending on the difficulty of the trail or how much time you want to spend in a certain spot. 

Step
1
Prepare for the hike
Preparation is key when it comes to hiking; you would not want to remember about something that you did not bring while you’re halfway through your hike. Hence, check all your gear and items before you leave your home. Make sure that you have enough food and water for you and your dog. If you are doing an early morning hike, bring a flashlight and a jacket. For your dog, dog boots and ponchos are also a must. Remember, dogs also feel cold and will need protection so that they do not freeze and get sick. Most seasoned hikers usually have a hiking pack for their dogs, but this is optional especially for those who are hiking with their dog for the first time. Prepare a first-aid kit in case of emergency and bring poop bags to clean up after your dog.
Step
2
Find a hiking spot near you
Hiking trails are abundant in most cities and it should not be too difficult to find one. The tricky part is finding a spot that allows for both human and animal hikers. Make sure to read all the rules of the spot you choose and follow these rules. If possible, download a map on your phone or get a map from the park to avoid getting lost. You can easily search online for some of the most dog-friendly hiking locations in your city.
Step
3
Enjoy your hike!
After all the preparations have been made, it’s time to go out there and hike! Do not rush; keep a leisurely pace to avoid stressing out your dog. Once your dog gets more comfortable, you can start a more intense pace. Look out for your dog at all times. If your dog behaves well without a leash, feel free to not use one on them, provided that the rules of your hiking trail allow for it. Make sure to provide food and water for your dog throughout the hike and stop when your dog shows signs of fatigue.
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Dog Park Visit

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
1 Hour
Items needed
Leash
Dog toys
Dog treats (optional)
Activity description

Dog parks are simply parks where dogs can roam freely. With the abundance of dog owners, these dog parks are becoming more and more widespread in cities all over the country. These areas are usually fenced to keep dogs safe and secure and are filled with various safety signs. Park rules are also clearly established for dog owners to abide by. Some special parks even have designated areas for small dogs. While most dog parks are public and free of charge, there are some privately-owned dog parks that may charge a fee, albeit cheap. The best time to go visit the park would be during sunny or clear weather. An hour-long stay at the park is enough but you may extend longer if your dog is having too much of a good time. 

Step
1
Find a local dog park
A trip to the dog park would be impossible if you do not know where to go. Location is important, especially if you are planning to walk to and from the park. A quick search online can help you find dog parks near your home. Have a look at the details of the dog park of your choice and assess if this space is a safe enough place for your dog to play in. Once you make a decision, make your way to the park.
Step
2
Play with your dog
When you get to the dog park, let your dog run free. Dogs naturally get excited upon the idea of being leash-free. Let your dog run around and enjoy his surroundings. Then, spend time playing with your dog, either by running around playing tag or using a dog toy of your choice, such as a ball, Frisbee disc or other toys for fetching.
Step
3
Socialize with others
This step applies to both you and your dog. The dog park is a great way for your dog to meet and befriend other dogs and a way to improve their socialization skills. At the same time, it allows you to meet new people and chat with other dog owners, who may become your regular dog park “buddies”. Once your time in the park is up, give your dog some treats for a job well done and call it a day.
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Doga

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Any Day
Moderate
Normal
45 Minutes
Items needed
Doga book
Doga DVD
Yoga mat
Activity description

You might be thinking, “what in the world is Doga?” To answer your question, Doga is a portmanteau of the words “yoga” and “dogs”. Yes, “Doga” is a thing and is slowly gaining prominence amongst dog lovers, especially for dog owners who are practice yoga on a regular basis. It is an activity that allows for owner-dog coordination. Invented by London-based yoga teacher Mahny Djahanguiri, Doga allows you to apply mindfulness and establish a stronger bond with your dog. Similar to a regular yoga session, Doga classes involve meditation, massage and a combination of various gentle stretches for both owners and their dogs. While there are a number of studios where you can bring your dog for a Doga session, most do it within the comforts of their own home using instructional Doga DVDs or Doga books. By owning these, you are able to do yoga any time of the day at your own convenience, both indoor and outdoor if you wish. However, these resources come at a small fee, usually ranging from $10 to $50. 

Step
1
Prepare your yoga space
Start your Doga session by preparing your yoga mat and Doga DVD or book, depending on which option you go for. Make a space in your living room for where you will perform yoga. Bring your dog to your yoga area and relax as you get ready for the start of the session. Remember, do not force it. There will be days when your dog is not as receptive as you may like. Shrug it off and try again next time.
Step
2
Start with the basics
Watch the DVD or leaf through your Doga book to look at some of the poses that you can start with. Have a feel for your dog’s state and see if they are relaxed and comfortable with doing the poses. Start with some of the easiest yoga poses for both you and the dog, such as the “Chaturanga”, where your dog lies on their stomach as you stroke their back lightly.
Step
3
Do "partner poses" with your dog
After trying out simple poses, go for more advanced movements. A good example is the “downward dog”, wherein you and your dog are head to head with your knees fully extended and your arms planted on the floor. Afterwards, you may go on to try “partner“ poses with your dog. Some easy-to-do poses include the “Chair”, “Heart-to-hound Mundra” and the “sun salute”. End the session with the Savasana, where you simply lie down and relax while your dog is on your chest. Close your eyes and simply focus on your breathing while you gently pet your dog.
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More Fun Ideas...

Take a road trip!

Whether a short daytrip or a multiple-day trip, road trips are a great way to spend quality time with your pooch. It is critical that your route is pet-friendly and that whatever destination you choose to go to will welcome your dog. There are many special sites dedicated to finding pet-friendly places and accommodations so feel free to utilize them. Before going on long road trips, take short daytrips to gauge if your dog can handle car rides. If not, stick to short trips until they are ready to take an epic road trip.

Cuddle!

Sometimes, it feels great to just sit back, relax and enjoy the company of your dog. After a long day, lie on the couch and cuddle your dog. While this requires little activity, it is nonetheless a significant way to build rapport with your dog. You can watch television or a movie while snuggling with your furbaby as a sign of affection. Not only is it appreciated by your dog, it also benefits you because you get to release some of your stress during a hard day.

Conclusion

Activities between dogs and their owners are a crucial part of you and your dog’s development. It allows for a better relationship and understanding between you two and helps keep your dog happy. However, the top priority before trying out any of these activities is safety. Always make sure that your dog is secure and that the activities you will take on are enjoyable for both of you. It is also important to check with your veterinarian before trying out any outdoor activities with your dog. Have your dog examined for any health conditions and physical limitations. Once your vet clears your dog, that’s when you should start to consider trying out some outdoor activities. Also, for activities involving the use of public spaces, be mindful of the rules and always follow them to avoid any risks.