While dog toys are good to entertain your dog and for you to play with him, it is also important to do activities with your dog, in addition to taking him for walks. It's a great way to perfect his education and have a great time with him, allowing you to strengthen your relationship with him.
Of course, you must adapt your activity to your dog. Not all dogs have the same physical exercise needs. Very athletic dogs will be tireless playmates, while more lazy dogs will be content with moderate activities.
And for safety reasons, ensure you do not feed your dog just before or just after intensive exercise, in order to avoid the stomach to twist, especially for large and deep-chested dog, as this can be fatal. Wait an hour after exercise before feeding him.
Also remember that not all breeds are suitable for strenuous activities. So you have to be very careful before you start frantic races. In some cases, such games can even be dangerous, especially with flat-nosed breeds like the Boxer, Pug or French Bulldog due to the difficulty they may have breathing.
You also have to use common sense: do not play with your dog when the weather conditions are not optimal. So, avoid soliciting your dog when it is too hot or too cold for him. Or choose activities that allow him to cool off, such as swimming in a lake or in the sea, for example.
Activities and games are countless, but here are some ideas :
A Frisbee or a ball are some of the favourites. Choose a safe place to play with your dog, and throw the object to him so that he brings it back to you. The advantage of this type of game is that it requires a minimum of physical investment! Ideal for owners who are not very athletic. Be careful not to use plant objects such as pine cones or pieces of wood to avoid ingesting cinders that are aggressive for the digesting system.
Tracking games are based on a very simple principle: your dog must find an object or a person hidden in his environment, a common hide and seek game. In the case of a person, you can increase the difficulty by having them move as you go. Do not hesitate to hide treats under pots to reward your dog!
There are even tracking competitions, where dogs must follow a track for several hundred meters in the shortest possible time. Of course, certain breeds, such as hunting dogs, and in particular dogs like the Beagle, are favoured by their keen sense of smell, but of course all dogs can participate!
Some dog breeds were designed to tow sleds or carts. Today, few dogs are still used for this type of activity, but leisure disciplines have nevertheless developed around this idea. Of course, sled dogs have a definite advantage! But others, like the Bernese Mountain Dog, have a history of carting tractors of their own! The whole thing is that the animal has enough strength to pull a cart, a kart or a sledge, for example. Small dogs will therefore have a hard time participating in this kind of activity.
You and your dog can also participate in specific canine disciplines such as agility which is becoming more and more popular. It consists of a series of obstacles, such as tunnels, ramps, posts, that the dog must cross as quickly as possible. Each year, many competitions are organized and bring together hundreds of animals. The beauty of this activity is that you the owner participate with your dog and it helps create a sense of trust and a greater bond between you.
We obviously immediately think of jogging, but if running puts you off, you also have other options for getting your dog to run. Be careful: not all dogs are made for this type of activity either. Some breeds are not very athletic, unlike others who need to run to feel good and burn all their energy. It is always very important to adapt the games to your dog. In addition to running, you can try cani-mountain biking, cani-roller, cani-scooter, or cani-rando.
If your dog is the energetic type, they will likely enjoy chasing games in which he runs away with a ball or toy and you chase after him to catch the object from him, or alternatively, you run away with the ball or toy and your dog chases after you to retrieve it.
Swimming and water games
If your dog enjoys the water, you can play water games with him, such as getting him to try and catch the water from the hose pipe, or getting him to retrieve objects or treats thrown in a pool of water. You may also play with a football in the paddling pool or safe lake, and why not join him in the water, which will delight him.
While this is a less energetic activity, your dog will enjoy it as he will like to please you, and get a reward from you for doing well (treats or play time both work well as rewards). It will also benefit you as a dog that obey your commands makes life a lot easier in so many situations, such as when you meet other people or dogs, go to the vet's, in dog day care, etc. It will also very much strengthen the trust and the bond between you and your dog. Training sessions should be short (10 to 15 minutes) but regular in order to be successful.
Why not try dog-dancing either? As its name suggests, this discipline involves dancing with your dog. And canine football where the dog must bring a big ball between two posts. Be imaginative, the number of activities is endless.
Above all, remember to keep your dog active throughout his life, adapting exercise to his age, health, breed, weather conditions. Aside from keeping him mentally stimulated, it will help in preventing him from putting on too much weight, which can lead to overweight and obesity in dogs, with all the complications that come with it.
If your dog attends the DogStroll Day Care center, our staff will ensure your dog is involved in many different activities, introduced to ones he didn't know in order to experience new things, while ensuring each activity is suitable for the specific needs of your dog.