When you have some free time in the evening or on the weekend, you might want to spend part of it doing some things with your dog. There are many ways to spend time with your furry friend that will benefit you both mentally and physically. Dogs just love being near you, but offering them one on one time will always encourage positive behavior while strengthening the bond between you.
Here are some ways to fill a long day with your doggo that he will appreciate.
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Go for long walks:
Spending time outdoors is healthy for you and your dog. Finding quiet trails, parks or a nice long beach to roam will provide the physical and mental exercise that your dog needs. You can make it an outing for the whole family to enjoy. Be sure to bring along water, treats and any safety gear necessary for the season and location. A GPS tracker is always recommended.
Go for a drive:
If your dog likes the car, he will enjoy a short road trip or day trip. Pack a lunch for each of you, tuck him into his car seat and/or seat belt, and head off to somewhere away from your normal routine. A walk somewhere out of the norm would only add to the fun. He will enjoy exploring new territory.
Training the basics:
If you have a puppy you can spend time learning the basic skills – Sit, Stay, heel and come. If you have an older dog you can practice them. A refresher course is often helpful. Even if it isn’t truly necessary, he will just love spending time with you and getting treats or praise for being a good boy!
Teach fun tricks:
If your doggo is ready to move on from the basics, teaching him cool tricks will be fun for both of you. Teaching your dog to play fetch is always a fun game that your will enjoy forever. Other options are hide and seek, roll over or even to clean up his own toys. That last one will benefit you for years to come!
A bubble bath can be as enjoyable for many doggos as it would be for you. Fill the tub with some dog safe shampoo and let the bubbles fly. Be sure to rinse well and dry him off to avoid skin irritation.
For those that don’t enjoy a bath, you can spend time brushing him and removing all excess fur. This can help to clean your dog, as well as remove knots that may be causing discomfort or excess fur that could be making it too warm for the season. Using a good brush or comb will aid in the removal of the undercoat and reduce the amount of shedding in your house as well.
Turn on some spa music and ask your pup to lie down. Start at his head and work your way down to his tail, gently massaging his neck, back, underarms, belly and legs. If your dog has a sensitive area that he doesn’t like to have touched, skip it and move on. The one on one interaction provides some special bonding time for you both.
Many dogs do not like this one, but it still has to be done. You can make it more pleasant for both of you by being patient. When your dog is calm, take a moment to clip his nails so that he is comfortable walking. If his nails are too long, it becomes painful for your doggo as his toes do not sit in the correct position on the floor when he stands. You can use clippers if you are comfortable with them or you can try a nail grinder. I have never used one of these, but I have heard that they can be less stressful for both you and your pup. There is no fear of over clipping, causing your dog’s nails to bleed. The more pleasant you can make this process, the more comfortable your doggo will be having his manicure in the future.
Until I got my current pup, I thought that a laser pointer was a cat toy. Zorro has proven that dogs have just as much fun chasing that little red dot! He can do this for quite a long time and he gets very tired by the time we stop. This is a form of mental stimulation as well because he has to follow the dot.
My German Shepherd, Princess (AKA “Doggo”), loved to chase the beam from a flashlight. Similar to the laser, she would hunt it down and run after it. It would keep her busy inside or out (at night) and would give her a good mental and physical workout. I always gave her a special treat at the end of the last chase to ensure that all of her work was worth it!
At the end of a long day, or on a quiet, lazy afternoon, your friend will benefit from a nice cuddle session. Watch TV, have a nap or read a book with your pup snuggled up close to you. We are so busy running around most of the time, that we rarely have the time to just sit and be together. It’s a perfect bonding experience that your dog will love.
Whatever way you choose to spend time with your pup, it will allow you both to de-stress and just enjoy each other’s company. Whether you take a few minutes or half a day, your doggo will be grateful that you did.