8 Active Pet Parents. Dozens More Fun Outdoor Pet Activities.
As a fellow pet parent, I’m pleased to say we’re among the most active of breeds. Of humanoids, at least. Heck, I even do my fair share of shedding, too.
But there’s no time quite like the present to fill up the Camelpak, lace up your shoes and get outside with your pup.
But sometimes, after having been around the block a few times (literally walking around the block, that is :-) ), we want to branch off. And we could all add a few ideas to our activity arsenal, right?
So, to give our pet passionate customers some ideas, we decided we’d enlist the help of a few Pets Choice Ambassadors to pick their brains about their favorite things to do with their dogs.
Peaceful Dog – peacefuldog.blogspot.com
My favorite activities to do with my dogs depend a bit on which dogs we are talking about–whether Fozzie the high-energy four-year-old mastiff-pit bull mix, or Lamar the 13-year-old Anatolian shepherd mix, or a foster dog–hyper or calm, youthful or senior–from Washington DC’s shelter.
Hiking. There is nothing my sweetie Florian and I love to do more on a weekend than load all the dogs up in the car and head to a trail in a national forest, park, or natural area. The dogs inspire us to always be on the lookout for new places to swim in, hike, sniff, and explore. Though reactive dogs Fozzie and Lamar sometimes make it a challenge to hike on trails used by other dogs and their people, being out in nature relieves their anxiety as well as ours.
Gardening. I love being in the yard, connecting with green growing things, and having my dogs nearby to “help.” Of course dogs love to dig, but Fozzie is the first dog I’ve known who actually digs in a way that is useful. He only gets the urge when I have broken out the shovel and commenced a digging project, at which point I usually have to get out of the way in a hurry to avoid the madly flailing paws and flying dirt. There have been transplanting projects, in which I moved a deeply-rooted plant that had been in one location for years, where I could not have gotten it done without Fozzie’s assistance. It is wonderful to see his enthusiasm and utter focus when he “digs in”.
Doggie Dance. Canine Musical Freestyle is an activity that I’d heard about for years, and finally decided to sign up for a class with Fozzie. Fozzie got to learn new tricks, combine them in ways that were fluid and athletic, and be heavily rewarded for trying things–an ideal outlet for his high energy, his eagerness to please, and his love of movement.
Tricks at home. Particularly when we have a high-energy, young foster dog who has a bad case of the evening zoomies, I like to spend some time at home working on tricks to build skills, train impulse control, and expend energy. For my last foster dog, Star, a high-energy young pit mix, I got a 60-inch exercise ball and we spent the evenings balancing on it, steering it across the floor, and trying new ways to interact with it. Even topheavy Fozzie got to work on developing his core muscles and hind end, and Lamar, who has some arthritis in his hips, got treats just for watching the madness and maintaining his composure.
Positive training. For all the dogs, positive training is a great way to bond, build confidence, and promote harmonious relations. For the young, wacky dogs we work on basic skills and impulse control exercises like Wait, Leave It, and Go to Bed. They receive treats in exchange for learning skills that will serve them well in their adoptive homes, and they tire themselves out through mental exertion. This has an advantage over physical exercise in that they do not just build up their endurance and become even more energetic–which would be a disservice to their adopters!
Kirsten Stade is a dog foster parent, shelter volunteer, rescuer, groomer, and positive trainer who lives with her dogs Lamar and Fozzie Bear, her partner Florian, and usually a foster dog or two outside Washington, DC. Kirsten began Peaceful Dog as a way to document creative training and management solutions at a time of too many dogs with conflicting personalities. While continuing in this tradition with positive training how-to guides, the blog has grown with posts on health and grooming peacefuldog.blogspot.com/search/label/grooming, posts on conservation informed by the blogger’s “other job” as a professional environmentalist peacefuldog.blogspot.com/search/label/Conservation, and posts about Kirsten’s outdoor adventures with the dogs and their Dad peacefuldog.blogspot.com/search/label/local%20hikes. Above all, the blog is a place to celebrate the joy that dogs bring to the world, and to promote the rescue and well-being of homeless dogs everywhere.
My Bella Pup – mybellapup.com
When I was asked to contribute my thoughts on favorite pet activities, it didn’t take me long to think of a few things that my Bella truly enjoys. The great thing about owning a dog, as I’m sure many of you will agree, is that they’re all relatively easily entertained. For example, Bella’s favorite thing is being outside, hands down. As she nears the age of 2, her curiosity and playful puppy-tendencies are still at the height of its prime– it’s one of the many things I love and find infectious about her.
With Valley Forge mountain right in our backyard, and a massive recreational park with walking trails across the street, I’d say we’ve been blessed with an ideal home base for outdoor play time. Because Bella is so energetic and interested in exploring her surroundings, I seldom have the opportunity to play fetch with her outdoors. My favorite thing (and hers) is to let her off the leash and “run amuck” in one of the fenced in areas at the park across the street. I’ll have her run after me around the field and we’ll have our own little game of tag— she’s pretty darn fast too! That little 5-pounder definitely gives my boyfriend and me a run for our money.
When walking along the Valley Forge trails in our backyard, I like to let her off the leash as well. It’s a pretty secluded and quiet area with a running stream, so it gives Bella a chance to sniff around for flowers, and see other wildlife existence. It melts my heart when she walks ahead and then stops to turn around to make sure I’m right there behind her. The best part about our walks and game of Outdoor Puppy Tag? She is drop dead tired by the time we get home, which means long naps, calm behavior, and better obedience :)
If it happens to be raining outside, I usually get Bella exercising by playing fetch with her indoors. It’s great that she’s so small because even just a few rounds of that will tire her out. Another great activity I like to engage in with Bella is training sessions! It’s an easy way for her to have some fun and earn treats, while I teach her some tricks and further build that bond between us. So far, my boyfriend and I have been able to train her on “sit”, “spin”, “down”, “rollover”, “high five”, “hello”/paw, “beep-beep” (which means, “move please!”), and “up”. We’re trying to think of more to train her on—any suggestions? What kind of fun activities do you love to engage in with your pet?
Janipher is a full-time Territory Manager for an Animal Health distribution company, serving the Greater Philadelphia Region. Animals have always been near and dear to her heart, but her passion was realized within the last 2 years, after she and her boyfriend Hugo accepted little Bella into their family – a fun and energetic Yorkshire Terrier. How fitting it is that Janipher is actively involved in the industry to help veterinary practices and support animal care!
Janipher decided to start her blog, MyBellaPup, after she realized the lack of information regarding pet care that was accessible to the public. Everything was in bits and chunks, and it was a challenge to find a solid resource in one location that discussed topics such as fleas, ticks, home remedies, and comparable pet products. Instead of running to her veterinarian every day, she took it upon herself to do some research and share her findings with other pet owners who may be interested. MyBellaPup has been fortunate enough to gain supporters such as Dogswell (makers of Nutrisca), PSCPets, Modern Puppies (makers of the PTPA), and Pet Blogs United, just to name a few. She appreciates and encourages visitors to comment and make suggestions, so please stop by sometime and let her know what you’d like to read about!
Poochie Project – http://www.poochieproject.com/
Invite us anywhere and the first question will always be, “Okay if our dog tags along?” And so Relay has found himself invited to poker nights, barbeques, Superbowl parties… my pup has a very active social calender ;-) We like to check out any dog friendly festivities we can find around town as well. But like any family we have those little activities that we look forward to the most.
Get Up and Go The impromptu weekend trip is something we love to do. It is so fun to see Relay perk up the last leg of each journey when he recognizes the neighborhoods of friends and family. I never know how he can remember them all, but without fail he springs out of the car and runs straight to the door where he knows there will be happy faces waiting for him.
Let’s Ride We picked up matching cruiser bikes for the fair weather days. One has a leash attachment so that the three of us can go for ride around the neighborhood. It’s the best way to let Relay run his little heart out.
Nom Nom Nom Often our rides lead us to some good eats with dog friendly patios. The pup likes to people watch and nab up those tasty bits that may fall from the table. We are a family of foodies and enjoy supporting the local restaurants; especially those that show love to our pup.
A Trip to the Dog Park We are so lucky to live in a town with so many dog parks, and to live within a half mile of one of the largest. Anytime our pup is feeling a bit restless, out the door we go to see which friends have come out to play.
Making New Friends Fostering has become an activity the whole family looks forward to. Relay loves having an extra playmate so we don’t go too often without a new face in the house. Better still is when those fosters find their own families.
Jeff and Yajaida are Relay’s parents, and while Dad does all the hard work, Mom writes the blog. PoochieProject began as a tool to promote the foster pets in their care and help create forever families. Working with local rescues they have found happily ever afters for over a dozen homeless pets since beginning to foster in February 2012. Find tips, trick, treats, and training
plus the occasional silly story and all of Relay’s adventures. Join to fun on facebook and twitter!
Miley’s Daily Scoop – http://mygoldendogblog.blogspot.com/
There are a variety of fun activities you and the family can do with your dog. They not only provide a great form of exercise both physically and mentally but it’s a great chance for you to form a bond with them. Here are a few fun activities that our dogs really seem to enjoy and they also keep them from getting into mischief. You know how the old saying goes, ” a tired dog is a happy dog”.
Walking/Hiking – Probably one of our dogs favorite questions, “Do you want to go for a walk”. There is nothing like taking the family and dogs out in the wilderness for a nice hike. We love hiking new trails where the dogs can go explore new sights, sounds and smells. Not only is it a great form of exercise but its also a nice time to bond with the dogs.
Fetch – This is another fun activity that we like to do with the dogs. Maggie, our golden lab could play this for hours on end but Miley, our golden retriever is sometimes reluctant to retrieve the ball after several rounds – go figure. None the less, its a great activity that you can get the whole family to do.
Swimming – This is by far our dogs favorite activity. We live in the Northeast so we only have a few short months to enjoy our in-ground pool, but you can be sure the dogs love every minute of it. Swimming for dogs is an excellent form of exercise, it not only helps to keep their weight in check but is also great for their bone density. For a dog, 1 minute of swimming is equivalent to 4 minutes of jogging so if your dog is a beginner, it is best to start off slow.
Hide n’ Seek – This is a great activity that can be played either outside or inside and is a good form of exercise both physically and mentally. In the house, we will either have one of the kids hide and have the dogs go find them or we will hide treats in a certain room and let the dogs sniff them out. When outside, we will hide some of their favorite toys around the yard and let them go explore until they find them.
Agility – Another great physical and mental activity for your dog. This is the one thing that we have always wanted to do with our dogs. We have attended several dog expos where they have an agility course set up and our dogs have loved it as much as we did. Although we don’t have an agility course in our backyard, I think it would be fun for the whole family to get involved and create one of your own using things you have around the house and yard.
Miley is a 5 year old Golden Retriever from Massachusetts who lives with a cool family along with her sister, Maggie who is a 4 year old Golden Lab. Miley loves to blog about their everyday adventures, mishaps and cool finds at Miley’s Daily Scoop. Please feel free to stop by for a visit, she LOVES the attention!!
Terrier Torrent – terriertorrent.com
Gizmo and I love to go geocaching together. Geocaching is both a sport and a hobby that combines hiking with a high tech treasure hunt. We get to explore the many wonderful trails available to us with the added bonus of a geocache find as our reward.
I’d been geocaching since 2005 with my dog Bruno. When I adopted Gizmo in 2008 he became a geodog right from the start. Over the last 5 years we’ve hiked hundreds of miles together through woods and swamps, finding all varieties of geocaches along the way. We’ve made friends with many other cachers and have hosted a wonderful geocaching event that raised over $500 for the shelter where I found Gizmo. Gizmo has his own account on the geocaching website and has even placed a few geocaches for his friends to find.
We write about our geocaching adventures on our blog and are very pleased that a number of our readers have now tried geocaching out for themselves.
If you’re looking for a great all-weather outdoor activity to share with your fur pals Gizmo and I recommend geocaching.
Beth & Gizmo live in Central Florida and spend as much time as they can outdoors exploring their world. They love to share their stories on Gizmo’s blog Terrier Torrent.
Peggy’s Pet Place – peggyfrezon.blogspot.com
Just about any activity is better when shared with a dog! I’m lucky to work from home and spend my whole day with my spaniel-mix, Kelly. Here are some of the activities we love to do together.
The Fitness Walk- We both need exercise to keep fit and healthy, so we take at least one vigorous walk every day. Sometimes I think Kelly has more energy than I do!
The Leisurely Stroll- I must admit, this is our favorite. For me, it’s a time to get out of my office and stretch my legs, clear my head, and breathe in the fresh air. For my dog, it’s a time to sniff (she’s nose to the ground the whole way), lead me wherever she wants to go, and discover what’s going on in the neighborhood. It may not burn as many calories as the fitness walk, but it’s just as important.
Out in the Country- Kelly loves time spent up in the Adirondack Mountains where she can safely hike with us, chase chipmunks, and go for a dip in the lake. She’s a great companion around the campfire, too!
Snuggle Time- A good chunk of the day I’m researching or working at my desk. When Kelly’s feeling left out, she walks over and slaps her paw down on my keyboard. That’s my cue to take my laptop onto my big green chair and snuggle up with her. I love patting her silky soft fur while I work, and she enjoys being close to me. A pretty good way to multitask!
Bio: Peggy Frezon blogs at Peggy’s Pet Place. Peggy is the award-winning author of Heart to Heart, Hand in Paw, How one woman finds faith and hope through the healing love of animals; Dieting with My Dog, One busy life, two full figures, and unconditional love, and the forthcoming book The Dieting with my Dog Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance (summer 2013). She is also a pet columnist, editor at Be the Change for Animals, writer for Guideposts magazine, and contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband live with Kelly, a spaniel-dachshund rescue who is very spry for an 11-year old gal, and hopefully soon a golden retriever who is looking for a home. She supports dog adoption and pet obesity awareness, and is co-founder of the blogging initiatives K9Kamp and FitDog Friday. Please sign up for her free pet newsletter, Pawsitively Pets and connect with her on Facebook and twitter.
Two Collies and a Mutt – http://twocolliesandamutt.blogspot.com/
There are a lot of activities I like to do with my dogs, they range from perfectly normal to a little strange. When the weather is bad and we’re forced to spend the day inside, our favorite indoor activities include:
Ring Around The Couch – Wait… what? Yeah, this is one of the strange ones I mentioned. “Ring Around The Couch” is what it sounds like – me walking in a circle, repeatedly, around the couch with my Collies happily doing the same. Lassie is usually right behind me and Petal is often in the lead with a toy dangling from her mouth; she likes to throw in a little game of “Keep Away”.
I like to keep the game interesting by randomly picking up the pace or slowing it waaay down. Sometimes I change from walking clockwise to counter-clockwise just to try and throw them off. Sometimes I jump up on the couch. Sometimes I simply walk and walk and walk around the couch until I’m too dizzy to walk anymore.
I couldn’t tell you why my dogs enjoy circling around the couch so much, but I can tell you that Lassie and Petal do truly enjoy it. Sometimes they play this game just the two of them, following each other round and round the couch.
Maybe it has something to do with their herding instincts, as other dogs watch them like they’re insane and they never join in. What’s fun about circling around a couch?
Only we know.
Tug – Petal loves to play tug. Lassie does as well, but he’s not usually as passionate about it as Petal is. Petal will lie on the floor and allow me to drag her all over the room. It’s fun and a great work out for both of us.
Puzzles – My dogs love a challenge. They really love to figure out a good treat puzzle. It keeps them busy and entertained. It’s entertaining for me too, I love to watch them figure it out.
Training – Lassie and Petal love to learn. They also love treats. We like to do and learn all sorts of tricks from “sit” to “turn off the light”.
When the weather is nice, we love to get outside and run and play. A few of our favorite outdoor activities are:
Weaving – I recently made a set of weave poles outside for the dogs. They’re still learning how to weave, but that’s half the fun!
Running/Racing/Chasing – Petal loves to run, run, run. Lassie loves to chase and bark. Whether he’s chasing me, Petal, or a ball. I love to watch them and take pictures. Sometimes I even join in on the fun.
Walking – A simple walk can be very enjoyable for me and my dogs. The dogs get to sniff and explore new places and I enjoy the change in scenery too.
Marquie is 22 and loves everything Collies. She got her first Collie, Lassie, when she was just 13. He may be a boy, but she still insisted on naming him after the famous Lassie. Petal later joined them in early 2010.
Marquie started Two Collies and a Mutt shortly after adding Petal to the crew. She needed a place to write all about her dogs and the silly things they do, and a place to share a few of the hundreds and hundreds of photos she takes of them.
Two Collies and a Mutt was named for Marquie’s two Collies, of course, and her lovable rescued “mutt” Ella. Ella passed away very suddenly in August 2012. She is greatly missed.
You can follow along with their silly antics on their Blog (http://twocolliesandamutt.blogspot.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Two-Collies-and-a-Mutt/263403660358095), Twitter (@twocolliesmutt) or Instagram (@marquielynn).
Roxy the travelling dog – roxythetravelingdog.com
We live and travel full time in our RV, so we land in some very beautiful places. Taking my two dogs Roxy and Torrey out for hikes in these great places is my favorite thing to do. Roxy is a 7 1/2 lb Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix but she can hike for miles and miles. She is getting a little older now, and might need to be carried if we are on a very long hike, but she loves to explore. Torrey is a mini Aussie that will walk 12 miles on an 8 mile hike. She is back and forth on the trail, in the bushes, jumping branches, going around the trees.
Both dogs know when we are getting ready to hit the trail and, and can hardly contain themselves. Torrey carries a backpack with water, a water bowl, and some doggie snacks. I put this on her, and she is ready!
We prefer to hike in areas that are more secluded. This gives the dogs a chance to be off leash and just be dogs. This is especially good for Torrey, as it is more stimulating for her. Sometimes we have to walk in town and they have to be leashed. I always say, we are walking strictly for exercise, and not ambiance on those days.
Walking and hiking with my dogs has helped them to stay fit and healthy. And hopefully live a long and happy life.
Mary Hone writes Roxy the traveling dog, a blog about traveling full time and adventures with her dogs. You can connect with Mary, Roxy and Torrey on their Facebook page,, Twitter , Google + and Pinterest.