Let’s make this clear. We do NOT deserve dogs. They are loyal to a fault, forgiving, and love us more than we can understand. Their entire life consists of us. What we do with them. When we aren’t doing something with them, they are pretty much waiting for us to do something with them.
Of course every dog loves to go on walkies but they also love surprises. As much as your dog loves to rewatch “The Office” with you every night after work, there are lots of activities that are more geared toward their energy levels.
Treat your dog to some special activities that they will enjoy- not just you.
Switch it up and get creative. Here are 8 ideas to get you started on giving your dog the same love and attention they give you!
Okay this one is EXTREME walkies. Even just switching up your walking path can seem like a whole new adventure to your dog- but consider taking them on a challenge!
Dogs love to be challenged. It’s let’s them unleash a little more than they get to on a day to day basis. Hikes give your dog all the same health benefits that it gives you! Some cardio, leg strength, balance, and mental acuity from figuring out your footing.
Make sure you do a little research before you take your dog to hit the trails with you. Some trails don’t allow dogs. Others might be too difficult for your dog if they aren’t used to longer, more challenging walks.
Also, PICK UP YOUR DOGSPOOP.
2. New trick
Exercise isn’t the only thing you can do with your dog that they will love. Teach your (old) dog new tricks.
You may have not liked school, but dogs actually do. They love doing something and getting a good reaction from their “masters.” Have some small “reward” treats on hand to entice good behavior. The trick to teaching a dog something new is to make sure it’s not too easy but also that it’s not too hard. Same concept with people. If you’re teaching something too easy for someone they will get bored and won’t pay attention. If it’s too hard they will get frustrated and give up.
Start with “sit” before you go to “shake.” Try teaching them to “dance” or “jump” before you teach them to “play dead.” Etc. Always reward a good action! Don’t punish an incorrect action when they are still learning but you can use verbal cues like “no” or something similar they already understand.
Summer will be here before we know it! Help your dogs beat the heat with a dip in the pool.
Invite them into the pool with you! Don’t force. Not all dogs enjoy the pool. Something about their feet not touching the ground can be very unsettling. I have one dog that LOVES to swim. After a walk in the summer, he immediately goes outside and gets in the pool to cool down. My smaller dog cannot stand swimming. She’s not confident in the movement and also hates being wet, however, she does like to get her paws wet on the first step.
For dogs more like my little breed, consider getting them a kiddy pool! It’s not more than a couple inches deep but still provides them with a space to cool off and be goofy. Get the plastic kind, anything inflatable will quickly pop!
4. Play a game
Dogs are smart! They like to play games. No, not like scrabble and probably not like any games that you’d pick. Games are a little different for dogs.
Best example is fetch. We’d be annoyed if someone kept throwing something they asked for across the room just to ask for it back. But dogs? They love it. It’s a game to them.
Tug of war, another game they love. Sometimes you just got to let them win that one.
Other games your dogs will like- you might have to teach them. Like “search and rescue.” This is a great one for people who have Shepherd, lab, retriever and husky breeds. Use an object they love and even better, know it by name. Make them sit in a room while you “hide” it. Have them retrieve the item. You might have to walk with them and help them out until they understand the game. After they learn it, your dogs will LOVE it.
At my house we use his special blanket. He normally hide it upstairs and tell him to go get it.
Other games for your dog will be ones they try to teach you! Recognize when your dog is trying to teach you a game and play along.
Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Bake with your dog! I call it a “pup cake.” There are a ton of recipes you can use online to make your own dog-friendly dessert.
Let your dog “help” but letting them lick the spoon and help pick out some of the fruity ingredients.
Their favorite part will obviously be eating the cake when it’s done.
If baking isn’t you thing, maybe cooking a hunk of meat is. I promise your dog will help you with that too.
Do a makeover on your dog! Not in the traditional sense but a dog make over. So a bath, trim the nails, brush their fur etc.
If bath time is a struggle with your dogs, let me tell you a trick that changed my life! Wipe some peanut butter on the wall of the tub. It will distract them while you get the bath done!
My dog loves getting brushed. I try to make it fun by complimenting him the whole time and making it feel like a massage. And speaking of massage, I actually sometimes massage my dog too. He really enjoys a good thigh massage after hiking. Doggos get sore too!
Pamper your dog and get things that aren’t only necessary done but do them in a way where your dog can learn to enjoy the grooming too!
7. Talk to them
They might not understand what you’re saying- but tons of research says that talking to your dogs is something they not only enjoy but helps them learn too.
It doesn’t have to be the most intellectual conversation. Just gab about your day! Gossip like it’s your best friend. Tell them the juicy secret you are holding. They won’t tell anyone! Talking about your feelings with your dog is good for you too. Legit. There are studies about it.
They find human speech interesting. They are able to put together small patterns when you speak to them more often and can learn between 150 and 250 words! Not only through repetition but through body language as well.
Give your dog the gift of your gab.
Don’t just Netflix and chill with your dog. SNUGGLE your dog! Most dogs want to be cuddled. It is in their nature. When wolves are in their den, they pile up!
They are the little spoon, even if they are larger.
Always embrace your dog snuggles. They love you and it’s one of the ways that we are able
To universally convey that love.
Dogs aren’t just pets. They are family. Your dog has a capacity for love bigger than your own. Dogs will jump in and protect you in the face of danger- or the mail-man. Their whole life is what we bring to them. Do your best to give them the variety they deserve.
Not every dog will like everything on this list but hopefully it inspires you to find something that you both can enjoy together.