One of the many joys of owning a dog is venturing into the great outdoors to share a hike, swim, road trip or even a simple game of fetch. Spending time with your pet is beneficial for both our physical and mental health, and our pets can be a great motivator on those slower days.
If you’re stuck for new ideas for how to entertain Fido outside, here’s some inspiration for outdoor activities to do with all kinds of dogs, from big to small.
Bring them on a hike
If you love your trail walkies, there’s a big chance your pup will too! While some breeds are more athletic and adventurous than others (a German Shepherd or Golden Retriever would love it, a Chihuahua… maybe not so much), going for hikes with your pup is a great way to burn energy while enjoying the wilderness.
New sights and smells actually benefit your pooch’s mental health (and isn’t bad for yours, either!). Don’t forget to pack everything they’ll need including water, yummy treats and bags for their do-do (leaving them on the trail is a don’t-don’t).
Take them through a dog agility course
If your dog prefers more intellectual pursuits, learning new tricks will wear them out quick-smart. Try taking your pet to a dog agility course, giving them a new challenge for their minds and a chance to bond with you as they look to you for instruction.
It’s a great outlet for their boundless energy, and helps build their confidence and self-control. Agility training is a perfect fit for honing a dog’s natural instincts in a fun, safe and challenging way.
If your dog loves riding in the car with you, taking them on a road trip is a great way to give them a fresh look at the world beyond your home. Whether you’re in the mood for a cafe trip (puppaccinos for the good boys and girls), a stroll in a new park or a visit to a farmer’s market, there’s no doubt that our pets love sharing in our daily activities.
And of course, what dog can resist craning their neck out the window for a face full of glorious wind? Make sure you secure your furry best friend in case of accidents with a harness, dog seat or basket so that they can enjoy all the sights and smells safely. Don’t forget to pack a portable water bowl for on-the-go hydration and their favourite treats for rewarding their good behaviour.
Need inspiration for where to take your pal? Most dogs absolutely love swimming! If you have a beach or lake nearby, letting your pup cool off with a doggy paddle is a great summer activity. Swimming is especially healthy for dogs who have an injury and need a low-impact type of play. Whether you play fetch or just bob around, you’d be surprised by how much Fido loves to swim.
Does it snow where you live? If not, perhaps a road trip to a cooler spot will be just the ticket. Some dog breeds absolutely love playing outdoors in freezing weather (once wearing all the right protective gear, that is!). It’s a great time to practise nose work – sniffing out a hidden treat or going for a walk on a snowy trail.
Socialise at the dog park
A fenced off dog park is a great way to let your pooch run and play without the tether, and gives you some breathing room while they burn fuel. Dog parks are great for giving Fido time to socialise with other pooches, learn manners and train obedience or simply blow off steam.
If you live in an apartment or have a small yard, dog parks are a brilliant option for your pooch’s daily exercise and the mental benefits of socialising with other dogs are particularly helpful – after all, dogs are social creatures! But of course, we are too—making the dog park an ideal place for you and Fido to make friends.
A game of good ol’ fetch
Having a good time outside doesn’t always have to mean travel. Playing games with them in your own backyard is often enough for your pooch to burn that energy and build that all-important bond with you. If you have kids, a fun game of fetch is a common first step for children and dogs to play with each other, building that relationship and teaching kids how to be safe around their furry siblings.
Playing fetch stimulates a dog’s mind and builds their concentration and focus, which can quickly improve their energy levels and mood. Especially for larger breeds, keeping Fido active through playing fetch will avoid destructive and mischievous habits brought about by boredom. It’s a great chance for both you and your pooch to de-stress and release those endorphins.
Dogs have simple needs – a roof over their heads, food in their tummy, and lots and lots of love. As pack animals, spending time with their humans is like heaven for our pups and it’s beneficial for us, too. Whether you have a dachshund or a doberman, a bichon frise or a St Bernard, there’s a fun outdoor activity suitable for every pup.