If there’s one thing we can all learn from our dogs, it’s got to be how to take joy in the every day! It’s impossible not to smile at how much our best friends love the small things – from breakfast time to a roll in fresh grass! So why not make happiness top priority, and get inspired with our ultimate list of fun things to do with your dog? It’ll make for a tail-wagging, smiles-miles-wide summer all round!
Whether your best friend is a youngster full of curiosity, or wise and wonderful oldie who gets the most out of every day, here’s some inspiration for fun and good times together...
Who could fail to be inspired by Olly’s epic performance at Crufts! Agility is one of our top fun things to do with your dog – and don’t worry that doggie sports are only open to canine athletes like Border Collies. In fact, there are agility classes open to all breeds and ages. Dogs of all shapes and sizes enjoy it at their own pace, from speedy Chihuahuas like Squish to Mastiffs like Zeus, who's happy to take his time. At Paws in the Park, there’s even a ‘Mini-tivity’ agility course for the tiniest toys, so why not give it a try?
Flyball is fantastic for all breeds of dog too – the spirit of the sport is to have fun with your dog, and concessions are made for littler legs and new starters! The only restriction is age – dogs need to be over 12 months, so they don’t damage growing joints. Mixed breed teams compete at the very highest levels – lurchers, retrievers, and Hustle the unstoppable whippet gave the Collie crew a run for their money at Crufts in 2016. Give it a try:
Don’t fancy agility or flyball? Take a closer look at the new forms of obedience. Though building the basics of sit, come and stay are always a good idea, there are more fun things to do with your dog in the world of training than ever before!
Canine Freestyle and Heelwork to Music see clever hounds ‘perform CPR’ and more, while trick training has diversified, and top performers come from all breeds and backgrounds! Staffies like Ziggy Trixx and the East Anglian SBT display team represent for the bull breeds, and even Great Danes have been known to step into the dancing dog spotlight!
Less mobile dogs can get in on the fun too – Canine Good Citizen awards are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and welcome dogs with disabilities. Or if your best friend is gentle, friendly, in good health and loves a fuss, why not aim to become a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog?
Last but not least, scent work – sniffer dog training for pets – is another great fun option for all ages, breeds and abilities.
Make it happen:
If your dog is a getting older – and seems to be slowing down – they may not enjoy lots of physical activity. ‘Brain games’ and gentle trick training is ideal for older dogs whose brains are more active than their bodies. They can also be great fun for active dogs on rainy days!
Teach your dog to read
This is an impressive trick that’s actually very easy to train, if you’ve already established good basic commands. See how it’s done on Woofipedia.
Teach your dog to count
Once your dog has mastered their ABCs, how about adding a bit of maths? This one’s a bit tricker, but that makes the game last longer. See how it’s done in this tutorial with clever Cooper, the counting Shih Tzu!
Kids games – for dogs!
From treasure hunts to hide and seek, there are lots of children’s games that repurpose well to keep dogs entertained when the weather’s less than great! Give these brain games for dogs a try.
If you’re going to get on the road with your dog, don’t miss our travel article: how to travel with dogs. Here are some ideas for days out to get you inspired…
Be culture vultures
Combine walkies with some food for thought at a dog-friendly English Heritage site. Imagine walking in the footsteps of ancient Romans at Hadrian’s Wall, tracking down King Arthur’s Round Table in Cumbria, heading right back to the Iron Age in North Yorkshire, or discovering a hidden amphitheatre in Kent… and these are just a handful of the spots you can explore!
Culture vulture shortcuts:
Life’s a beach
It’s an oldie-but-a-goodie… we’re pretty confident that there’s nothing to beat the moment you crest the dunes with your dog for a day at the beach. The smell of ozone, the sand between everyone’s toes and a whole beach of digging, fetching and playing stretches out before you. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.
Be city breakers
If your dog’s confident and outgoing, try a city break together! These days, there’s a warm welcome for four legged friends in many hotels and hostelries, so city breaks needn’t be just for humans any more. Though you may need to skip the museums and galleries, walking tours are great fun for both of you, and you’ll get off the touristy beaten track.
Top cities to visit with dogs:
Whatever you decide to do together, don't forget to take plenty of photos – we love to see what you and your dogs get up to. If you’re feeling flush you could even splash out on on a camera for your dog – we love the idea of doggie photography, demonstrated here by clever collie Grizzler!
Do you plan to try something new with your dog this summer? We’d love to see how you get on! Why not share your photos on our Facebook page – same goes for top tips and ideas for new fun things to do.
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