One Voice for Animals UK Guest Blog by Becky Simmonds
One of the perks of dog ownership is the boundless joy and entertainment these adorable creatures offer. If you are looking to bond with your four-legged friend, you’re in luck!
We’ve compiled a list of 44 fun, pup-friendly activities that will keep you both healthy and happy. Ready to get out (or stay in) and have some fun?
Great! Let’s dig in.
Fun Indoor Activities for You and Your Dog
You don’t necessarily have to venture outside to have a great time with your canine. The following activities are ideal for indoor fun, whether it’s a rainy or lazy day in:
1. Teach Your Dog a New Trick
For dogs, there’s nothing quite like receiving a reward after completing a challenge. In addition to being doggone fun, learning new tricks is mentally stimulating for pups; plus, it burns off energy and staves off bad behavior. If you think it’s impossible to teach an old dog new tricks, think again! We highly recommend checking out Zak George’s YouTube channel for fun and challenging tricks for dogs of all skill levels.
2. Play Hide-and-Seek
Rather than just handing your dog treats or toys, why not make rewarding your pooch an enjoyable, challenging game? There are a couple of ways to play indoor hide-and-seek:
Hide treats around the house and let your pup sniff them out. At first, let your pet watch as you hide the treats, and be sure to praise him as he finds them. Once your dog has mastered the beginner version of hide-and-seek, you can hide treats without him watching to make the search more challenging.
Our favorite version of doggy hide-and-seek is downright adorable. Hide your dog’s toys in a pile of blankets, along with a treat or two. Watch as he digs to find the buried treasure. And don’t forget to have your camera ready… The hunt will certainly be Instagram and Snapchat-worthy.
3. Give Your Dog a Massage
More than anything, dogs crave their owners’ love and attention. One great way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet is to give him a massage. Not only is a massage a nice treat; it’s soothing for dogs who are prone to anxiety. It’s also a great way to improve circulation, boost the immune system, and help with digestion.
You can learn to give your furry friend a massage in just minutes. We’re big fans of this easy-to-follow dog massage tutorial on Victoria Stilwell’s YouTube channel.
4. Play with Bubbles
Everyone loves bubbles, and dogs are certainly no exception. Whether you opt for a traditional bottle of bubble solution or you splurge on an automatic bubble maker, teaching your dog to chase bubbles is a fun, interactive indoor activity you’re both sure to enjoy.
5. Schedule a Play date
Don’t feel like going out, but in the mood for some socialization? Invite a friend—and her canine companion—over for a doggy play date. You’ll have a chance to catch up with your bud while the pups play and burn off excess energy.
Once you’ve said goodbye to your visitors, we recommend a nap for both pup and parent. Science suggests that sleeping with your dog leads to better physical and mental health, reduces stress, and improves sleep quality, among many other benefits.
6. Make Homemade Dog Treats
Spending an afternoon in the kitchen with your canine will lead to delicious, dog-friendly rewards. Bake up a batch of homemade dog treats while encouraging your dog to fetch his favorite toys and work on his newly learned tricks.
Our favorite dog-friendly treat recipe? These peanut butter and pumpkin cookies for dogs that are easy to whip up and 100% canine-approved.
7. Watch a Movie Together
There are so many movies starring canines… Why not enjoy an evening on the couch watching a pet-friendly film with your pup? The following movies are sure to capture your dog’s attention:
Homeward Bound: This is our top pick, thanks to the adorable animals, constant action, and amazing scenery.
101 Dalmatians: We promise your dog won’t get bored while watching this Disney classic.
Lady and the Tramp: Perfect for a romantic night in with your beau and beloved pup.
Marley and Me: This heart-wrenching movie might just make you—and your dog—shed a tear.
The Fox and the Hound: A great story about an unlikely friendship that will warm your human and canine hearts.
8. Play Fetch
The thought of playing fetch indoors might make some dog owners cringe, but if you have the space—and a soft ball—you and your dog can squeeze in a fun workout even on the rainiest of days. Fetch is often best in hallways, basements, large living areas, and even staircases. We’re massive fans of the Chuckit indoor ball, which is ideal for puppies and small dogs. For bigger pups, we recommend the Vzatt football-shaped, durable dog toy.
9. Teach Your Dog the “Cup Game”
To play this simple, interactive game, you’ll just need three cups and some dog treats. Let your dog watch while you place a treat under one of the cups, and encourage him to sniff it out. Once he’s mastered stage one, shuffle the cups and ask him to find the treat. Be sure to offer lots of praise, which is just as rewarding as the prize.
10. Invest in a Treat-Dispensing Toy
As previously mentioned, dogs love a challenge. Treat-dispensing toys are an excellent way to capture your canine’s interest, and you’ll love watching your pup playing this game of treat hide-and-seek. In addition to commercial dog treats, you can fill the toy with other goodies, such as cut up fruits or peanut butter.
Kong has created treat-dispensing toys of various sizes for dogs both big and small. Our favorite? The Wobbler interactive treat-dispensing toy, which is durable, dishwasher-safe, and perfect for larger canines.
11. Clean Up Together
A cleaning day doesn’t have to be dull. While you dust and vacuum, encourage your dog to pick up his toys and put them in a designated container. This will give your pooch a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and it’s one task you can mark off your to-do list.
Teaching your dog to clean up his toys is easy. This tutorial published on Training Positive’s YouTube channel will show you everything you need to know.
12. Play Tug-of-War
Contrary to popular belief, tug-of-war doesn’t cause aggression in dogs. In fact, tug-of-war is awesome for mental and physical stimulation. We love to play this classic game indoors with our pups, because it doesn’t require a large space, and it’s a great way to help your dog burn off anxious energy.
It’s important to have rules in place before initiating tug-of-war. Be sure to:
Choose a toy specifically designed for tug-of-war.
Teach your dog to release the toy when told. He needs to know you’re in charge.
Take breaks to ensure your dog doesn’t become overstimulated.
For more information on playing tug-of-war safely with your canine, check out this YouTube tutorial by Victoria Stilwell.
13. Create an Indoor Obstacle Course
A great way to bond with your four-legged friend is to overcome obstacles together. We love creating indoor obstacle courses with pillows, couch cushions, and pop-up tunnels, which are versatile and easy to stow away.
For the final obstacle, we recommend using a hula hoop for your pup to jump through. Once he’s crossed the finish line, reward him with praise, a pat on the head, and a treat.
14. Try Your Hand at Obedience Training
Believe it or not, obedience training can be fun for both you and your pet! Start with simple commands, which will make your indoor and outdoor time together more enjoyable.
Not sure where to start? We recommend this short, informative tutorial by dog trainer Zak George.
15. Look for an Indoor Dog Park
If you’d like to venture out with your pup on a not-so-sunny day, search for an indoor dog park in your area. Staff members will ensure your dog is safe and confined to an area with similarly-sized pups. It’s great for socialization—for both you and your canine. Plus, your pup will get a great workout.
Fun Outdoor Activities for You and Your Dog
There are so many ways to interact with your dog indoors, but outdoor time is also essential. Getting outside stimulates your dog’s senses, relieves boredom and anxiety, and exposes him to fresh air, sunlight, and the many other wonderful things nature has to offer.
The following activities will motivate you—and your pooch—to enjoy the great outdoors on a regular basis:
16. Explore Your City or Town
Make a list of pet-friendly places to visit in your area, and mark them off as you go. Visit parks, historical landmarks, shops, and eateries. Many restaurants allow pups on the patio. If you’re lucky, you might even find a local “yappy hour” with dog-themed drinks, treats, and prizes. If you live in the city and your dog doesn’t have much space to roam, dog parks are a great place to play, meet other pups, and expend that boundless energy. Plus, you’ll meet other dog lovers and possibly develop new friendships.
17. Join a Social Dog Walking Group
Whether you’ve just moved to a new town, or you’d like to expand your friend circle, dog walking groups are excellent for meeting new people and their pups. Visit meetup.com for groups in your area.
Can’t find a dog walking group near you? Consider starting one! You can use the above-mentioned link to launch your own group, or simply spread the word in your neighborhood.
18. Go for a Hike
Rather than sticking to the same walking path day after day, why not venture off-road with your pooch and hit a hiking trail? Hiking is a wonderful way to explore nature, fit in some enjoyable exercise, and spend quality time with Fido. Just make sure the trail you’ll be visiting allows dogs.
Also keep in mind that some plants and flowers are toxic to animals. For a list of common poisonous plants, check out this article published by the ASPCA. Safety first!
19. Visit a Farmer’s Market
If you’ve ever been to your local farmer’s market, you know it’s a friendly crowd—and that kindness definitely extends to animals. Your pet will get to explore new sights, sounds, and smells, and you can pick up some fresh fruits and veg while chatting with other locals.
20. Go for a Swim
There are lots of dog-friendly places for pups to swim, including pools, ponds, beaches, and lakes. Most dogs love the water, and your pooch will undoubtedly adore splashing around with his beloved owner. Take floating toys along to add some excitement.
Be sure to pack a dog-specific life jacket, and check in advance to ensure the body of water is canine-friendly. If there are no local swimming hole options, running through a sprinkler will scratch your dog’s itch for water play. A portable pet pool is also a wag-worthy option for backyard fun.
21. Go Camping
Dogs are the perfect camping companion; they love adventure, outdoor time, and one-on-one interaction with their owners. Rent a dog-friendly cabin—or pitch a tent—and spend a weekend exploring, cooking over the fire, and sleeping under the stars.
One important note about camping with your canine: Be sure he’s up-to-date on flea and tick treatments so you don’t come home with unwanted critters. It’s also a good idea to keep your dog’s barking at bay so fellow campers can enjoy the sounds of nature.
22. Go to a Baseball Game (or any sport)
Many baseball stadiums allow dogs to attend games on specific days. If your local minor or major league team allows pets, you’ll both love sharing the stands with fellow pups and their parents.
23. Go for a Picnic
If you’re craving a low-key day with your dog, pack a picnic and venture out to a dog-friendly park.
Perhaps you can tote along the homemade dog treats we highlighted above or another special snack your pooch will love. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water.
To ensure your pup enjoys the experience, take along a few of his favorite toys, play fetch or Frisbee, and take a walk before and/or after picnicking together.
24. Take Your Dog for a Stroll in a Stroller
If you have a miniature pup or your canine is unable to walk or run like he used to, consider taking him for a stroller ride to allow him to see new and exciting places, people, and things.
There are loads of excellent dog strollers on the market—and many options won’t break the bank. We love this 3-wheel elite jogger version for small dogs and puppies.
25. Go Boating
Watching a dog’s reaction to a boat ride is one of the happiest sights you’ll ever see. With his ears and fur blowing in the wind, your four-legged companion will thoroughly enjoy a day on the water. Don’t forget the life jacket!
26. Go Kayaking or Canoeing
Another awesome way to enjoy the water with your dog is to set out on a kayak or canoe. Dog trainers and experts recommend practicing on land before venturing out on the water, as the rocking motion may cause fear or unease.
Be sure to suit your dog up with a life vest, and cut the ride short if he’s fearful. If you’re kayaking or canoeing with other water enthusiasts, encourage your dog to stay as quiet as possible, as barking can take away from the joy and relaxation these activities offer.
27. Train for a Charity Walk or Run
Whether you opt for an in-person or virtual race, training for a charity walk or run will motivate you to get outside with your dog on a regular basis. There are lots of great training apps and printable training plans for folks looking to complete a 5K or half-marathon.
Many virtual races include a t-shirt and/or medal, so you’ll have a memento to commemorate your time spent training and completing the charity walk/run with your furry friend.
28. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt, and you and your dog are bound to enjoy the adventure! The Geocaching website will connect you with the free app you’ll need for your phone or other digital device. You’ll be able to locate nearby geocaches, sign the guest book (don’t forget to include your dog’s name!), and share your experience online with fellow geocache enthusiasts.
29. Go on a Road Trip
Enjoy a day trip or a weekend getaway with your pup in the passenger seat. It may take some planning to ensure your destination (and stops along the way) are pet-friendly, but it’s well worth the time and effort to plan an out-of-town adventure for you and your loyal companion. Thankfully, more and more hotel chains are becoming dog-friendly. Be sure to pack a cozy, familiar blanket from home, collapsible food and water bowls, a few of your pup’s favorite toys, and bags to clean up messes.
30. Take a Bike Ride
If you’d like to venture out together via bicycle, visit a pet-friendly bike path. Be sure to practice in advance to ensure both you and your dog are comfortable. Some breeds do well running beside their owners, while smaller pups can enjoy the fresh air in a bike pet carrier or basket. Be sure to check the bike path’s rules regarding animals.
Start with short jaunts, as your dog may tire easily or become distracted and attempt to bolt. Gauge how your dog behaves on bike rides before attempting longer rides. Some dogs don’t enjoy being confined in a carrier, so it’s important to determine your pet’s comfort level during the trial run.
31. Sign Up for an Agility Class
If your dog loves to run, has plenty of energy, and enjoys interacting with other canines, he’ll likely love agility training. In a nutshell, agility training involves dogs running through an obstacle course. Agility is great for burning off energy, strengthening muscles, and improving endurance and coordination. It’s also a great way to get and stay fit as a dog owner. A quick Google search will connect you with local agility training centers in your area.
32. Adapt How You Spend Your Outdoor Time Depending on the Weather
Many of the above-mentioned outdoor activities, such as swimming, boating, and picnicking, are perfect during the warmer months, but you don’t have to avoid the outdoors when it’s chilly outside. Bundle up in the fall and play in the leaves with your pup. Rake up a pile, and encourage him to jump in!
Winter is a great time of year for sledding and games of fetch with snowballs. These are camera-worthy moments, so don’t forget to snap pictures while making memories.
We also love dressing up with our dogs for Christmas and Halloween!
33. Go on a Photoshoot
Speaking of capturing memories, why not treat your canine to a doggy photo shoot? Find scenic areas, such as a field of flowers, a picturesque park, or a graffiti wall, and snap pics of your precious pup being his adorable self.
Ask a friend to tag along and take over as cameraman so you’ll have a few frame-worthy snaps of you and your canine.
34. Go Out for Coffee—and a Puppuccino
Whether you’re returning from a weekend road trip with your pet, or you just need an afternoon pick-me-up, stop by Starbucks and order your favorite beverage, along with a puppuccino. Your barista will whip up this dog-friendly treat, and your pup will lap it right up!
35. Plant a Garden Together
Let’s face it: Dogs love digging! Planting a garden, or simply doing yard work together, is a wonderful way to bond with your pet while improving your physical fitness—and your lawn.
When planting a garden, be sure to opt for pet-friendly plants and flowers.
36. Play Outdoor Hide-and-Seek
Practice your dog’s nose work by hiding treat-filled Easter eggs in your yard. Encourage your canine to sniff out each egg and crack them open to find a surprise inside.
It can be difficult to find plastic eggs in the off-season, so stock up at Easter time.
37. Go to a Drive-In Movie
Although they aren’t as common as they once were, drive-in theaters are fun for the whole
family—including the dog. Check in advance to ensure the theater allows pets, and be sure to pack water, snacks, and toys. Your pup will love the change of scenery, and he might even enjoy the movie!
38. Visit a Brewery or Winery
Many breweries and wineries are now dog-friendly. Treat yourself to some beer or vino, and tote along some treats for your pooch. Because some of these establishments only allow dogs outside, you’ll want to keep an eye out for outdoor events and tastings.
39. Throw Your Dog a Birthday Party
Just like humans, dogs deserve to be celebrated on their birthday! Invite your loved ones—and their dogs—to a backyard gathering, and be sure to stock up on dog-friendly toys, treats, and party favors. Some of our favorite activities for a dog-themed bash? A ball pit or baby pool filled with tennis balls and other toys. Order (or make) a cake with dog-friendly ingredients, and serve pup-friendly ice cream on the side. We also enjoy creating cocktails named after our favorite canines.
40. Visit a Nursing Home or Assisted Living
If your dog is mild-mannered and up-to-date on his shots, consider visiting a local nursing home or assisted living facility. A visit from your pet will likely be the highlight of every pet-loving resident’s day. Offer to visit regularly, as many residents do not receive visitors on a regular basis.
41. Sign-Up for a Dog Parade
Many cities and towns host dog parades during local festivals and around the holidays. Look for dog-friendly parades in your area, and let your dog shine like the star he is!
42. Try Flyball
If your dog has lots of energy and loves fetching balls, you’ll both enjoy flyball. Simply put, flyball involves a team of dogs that race to catch a ball while jumping over hurdles. It’s a competitive sport that’s great for agility, physical and mental health, and socialization. It’s also incredibly fun to watch as a pet parent!
43. Go Fishing
Spend a day outdoors bonding with your favorite pooch while reeling in dinner. Set up your fishing area with a dedicated spot for your dog to eat, drink, and play. Pack plenty of water, food, treats, toys, and pet-safe bug repellent. It’s also a good idea to strap your pup into a life vest just in case he ventures into the water.
Be sure to dog-proof your fishing area by keeping hooks and any other potentially hazardous items stowed away. As a final note, fishing is best for dogs who can keep their barking to a minimum, as it’s next to impossible to catch fish with a barking dog in tow. Plus, nearby fishermen will appreciate the peace and quiet.
44. Visit a Pet Expo
Pet expos are an excellent place to find new toys, accessories, and treats for your dog. While these events are fun to visit for dog owners, they’re even more exciting when you take your pup along. You’ll leave the expo with a list of new products to try, and your pooch will likely go home with a fun-filled bag of souvenirs.
Focus on Fun—and Film It!
Your dog may not enjoy all of the activities on our list, so we recommend only repeating the activities he loves. To document your many adventures, consider highlighting your pup with his own dedicated social media account.
We have to be honest… We follow more canines than humans on Instagram!
Trust us… You’ll be happy to have captured these precious memories with your four-legged friend.
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