Jennifer Wilber is a life-long animal lover. She currently has two black cats, and has had many dogs and small pets throughout her life.
Many pet owners get busy and don’t spend enough quality time with their furry best friend. Between work and social commitments, it can be difficult for many adults to find extra time to spend with their pets. Too many dogs spend the majority of their lives sleeping, eating, and being let outside just long enough to relieve themselves before coming back indoors. Dogs are social creatures, so it is extremely important for dog owners to spend quality one-on-one time with their dogs. While it is always recommended to only adopt a dog if you know you can commit enough time and energy to caring for him or her, sometimes life just happens, and you don’t even realize you’ve started neglecting your dog’s emotional needs. It’s not too late to make things right if you’ve found yourself forgetting to make time for your pup. Here are ten great ideas for activities that dogs and their humans can do together:
1. Get Some Exercise
Just like humans, dogs need to stay in shape too. They build up too much energy that needs to be released after staying inside, or in a crate, all day. Depending on the breed and age of the dog, jogging can be a fun activity for you and your canine friend to enjoy together. If you have a smaller or less athletic breed, a simple game of fetch in your backyard or in the dog park can suffice. Even just a slower-paced walk around the neighborhood can be sufficient for lower-energy dogs.
2. Go Shopping
Many pet stores allow pets to come inside to go shopping with their owners, so shopping for new toys or treats with your furry friend can be a great way to bond. Just make sure your pup stays on a leash. Only take your dog to go shopping with you if you are not planning on making extra stops to non-pet friendly shops during the same trip. It's no fun for your dog to be left in the car while you are inside human-only stores. In extreme heat or cold, leaving your pet unattended in your car could be deadly. Make a special trip only to places where dogs are welcome when you bring your dog shopping.
3. Go for a Car Ride
Many dogs love riding in the car and taking in all the new sights and smells. This can be combined with a shopping trip to pet-friendly stores, or simply a road trip for the sake of a road trip. Depending on your dog, you may be able to take it on a long weekend camping trip, or just a quick journey around the neighborhood.
4. Go for a Walk
Many dogs only get to go outside to do their business, whether they are let out in a fenced in yard or taken on a short walk around the yard or down the street. Dogs appreciate longer walks around the neighborhood to take in new sights and smells, meet other dogs and people, and to just get some exercise. To break up the monotony of walking around your neighborhood every time you want to take your dog for a walk, you can also take them to parks and trails to give them a change in scenery. Look for signs to make sure dogs are allowed in any park or trail you plan on bringing your dog to, however.
5. Visit a Dog Park
Dogs are social creatures and love to meet new people and pets. If your neighborhood has a dog park, bring your furry friend to meet new dog friends. You can play Frisbee with your dog, or simply let him or her meet new dogs to play with. You also get the benefit of socializing with other like-minded dog lovers while your dog is meeting new friends. It is important to socialize your dog with other animals and people when they are young to avoid any social or aggression problems, so be sure to start introducing your pup to other animals and humans early and know how they will react to others before letting them off their leash at the dog park.
6. Arrange a Play Date for Your Dog
If you know your dog gets along well with other dogs, it can be a good idea to arrange for a playdate with one of your friends’ dogs. This is an especially good idea if you only have one dog, as dogs can get lonely when they don’t have a friend to play with. If this is your dog’s first time meeting this new dog, keep both canines leashed until you are sure they are comfortable with each other. Dogs like making new friends too, and should be encouraged to make friends with new dogs whenever possible.
7. Play a Game
Dogs love playing games. Even a simple game of fetch or throwing a Frisbee is sure to make any dog happy. Another idea is to play a game of doggie hide-and-seek with your furry friend. Hide one of your dog’s favorite toys somewhere in your house while he is in another room, then let him loose to find it using his keen sense of smell. Playing games with your dog is a great way to bond as well as to keep your furry friend mentally stimulated.
8. Play Music With Your Dog
Many dogs are fascinated when their owners play musical instruments. Some dogs might even try to “sing” along. If your dog is wagging his or her tail as they howl along with your instrument, they are having a good time. Otherwise, they might just be telling you to stop. If you aren’t musically inclined yourself, you can play your favorite album for your dog or turn on the radio for them. If you are gone for long periods of time throughout the day, it may also make your dog feel less lonely if you leave music on for them while you are gone.
9. Visit a Nursing Home or Hospital
If your dog is calm and good around new people, he or she may make an excellent therapy dog. Some nursing homes or hospitals may allow you to bring your dog in to visit the residents and patients. Pets are a great way to help nursing home residents who may be lonely or who miss having a pet of their own. Dogs can also help provide emotional support for patients in hospitals, especially children. Your dog will love all the extra attention and he or she will put a smile on the residents' or patients’ faces.
10. Let Your Dog Just be a Dog
At the end of the day, your dog is still a dog, even if he does enjoy participating in human activities with you. Let your dog him or her run around the your fenced in yard, dig holes, roll in the mud, and bark at wild animals or other pets. Spend time in the yard while your dog is out playing because he likes spending time with you. It is also important to supervise your dog to make sure he is safe. It is important to spend lots of quality time with your pup, but sometimes dogs just want to be dogs.
Dogs make excellent companions, but they require a lot of work. It is very important to spend lots of quality time with your furry friend for their emotional wellbeing. The extra work is well worth it, however. Your dog considers you their best friend. You owe it to your canine buddy to fill his or her life with lots of adventures and fun!
Questions & Answers
Question: My dog has bonded more with my mom than with me, and he is an inside dog. What should I do with him?
Answer: Some dogs tend to pick one human to bond with, and there might not be much you can do to get him to bond with you instead. Your mom might simply be his favorite person.
If your mom is the person who feeds and walks him the most, you could try doing these things instead. Try spending more time with your dog by playing with him inside, taking him to dog parks, walking him outside, etc. You may want to try to give him extra treats. If you want your dog to bond with you more, simply give him more attention. This may or may not work if he has already decided that your mom is his favorite person.
© 2017 Jennifer Wilber
Alexander James Guckenberger from Maryland, United States of America on December 26, 2017:
I love dogs so much! the car ride sounds like a fun idea. :)