If you love your dog you are probably always wondering what you can do together. I am always looking for more fun activities that are dog friendly. I am particularly fond of anything that involves her being off leash. She always gets more exercise like that and it’s less work for me!
Let me start by telling you a little about my dog Meryl. She is an almost two year old Australian shepherd mix. Also, she is 100% insane. I totally love her and we spend a ton of time together but she has a lot of energy. So much energy in fact that she will often not stop going until her little paws are bleeding. I really have to watch her to make sure she doesn’t overdo it.
If you have a dog like this you probably know how hard it can be. We have a little house with a small back yard and she runs around but there isn’t enough room for her to run a lot and she gets bored easily. When she gets bored, we have problems. She often starts chewing things up or taking things out of the trash to entertain herself. So, I love doing things with her that let get get some of that energy out!
1. Go to the Beach
If you are lucky enough to live near the coast, take your pup to the beach! The site dogtrekker.com will help you locate dog friendly beaches in your area. I always try to find one where Meryl can be off leash because she can run around way more like that. I generally don’t worry about her with other dogs but if you do having your dog on a leash can still be a fun activity.
Here are a few of my tips: I have learned the hard way to bring a ball that floats. My dog also really loves frisbees. I love the rubber kong frisbee because it is light and flexible so it is easy for her to pick up and carry. Recently we discovered that if you throw it in the water upside down it skims the water and floats.
2. Take a Hike
I didn’t grow up with a dog so it was really news to me how many places don’t allow dogs. I learned quickly that many state and national parks don’t let dogs in. This is well meaning and intended to keep the local wildlife safe. The problem is that I really like to hike and some of the best spots are in these types of parks.
A while ago I found this site that tells you all the state parks that allow dogs and which parts of the park they are allowed in. If you live in California like me I have learned that park rangers where dogs are allowed are really friendly. A few of them have even told me the good quiet spots where no one will be bothered if my dog is off leash.
Here is a quick warning: before going hiking always check if dogs are allowed. I have seen friends get tickets for bringing dogs where they weren’t supposed to.
3. Have a Bath
This might not seem like fun for everyone. If your dog doesn’t like water I know this can really be a chore. But if you are bored and your dog looks bored too sometimes it can be fun to get a little spa time in! One of my favorite ways to make this an activity is during the summer I’ll throw on a bathing suit and turn the hose on in the backyard.
I use dog shampoo that is totally organic and eco friendly so it doesn’t hurt the plants if we make a mess. I will give Meryl a full bath with the hose in the backyard and then we sit outside and dry off together.
4. Find a Dog Park
This one might seem really obvious but I never knew how many dog parks there were until I started looking. Sometimes I get into the habit of just going to the dog park that is closest to me. But it can be really fun to find a dog park in a different neighborhood. The best part about this is that it is a really great way to socialize your dog.
When I take the time to find and go to a different dog park it means that both me and Meryl get to meet new people and animals. I love talking to people and letting her interact with different dogs.
5. Dog Friendly Cafes
In recent years I have seen more and more of these popping up. I love the trend because it means I can bring my dog somewhere and get work done at the same time. If you live in California you have probably seen these as well. I know a lot of dog friendly towns and cities where dogs are allowed in the outside areas.
If you bring your dog to a dog cafe one thing I like to remember is to bring them when they are already a little tired (unless you have a mellow dog). I also prefer not to bring toys. I find that usually this causes a whole thing with other dogs wanting to play with the toy or forgetting it when I leave.
6. Go for a Car Ride
I remember when Meryl was a puppy I took her to the vet and asked for tips on how to make her a happy dog. She was a little nervous when she was a puppy so I wanted to do everything possible to make her feel comfortable. The vet told me the more different types of things I could expose her to the better. She also mentioned to me that taking her on car rides, even short ones, are great. Taking them in the car makes them better travelers. As long as it isn’t too hot out, I always try to take my dog with me when I am running errands.
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