People who play with their dog, stay with their dog.
Why do dog activities matter? Why promote them? Dog activities matter because they help dogs keep their homes.
When people and dogs do things together it is good news all around. Many of these activities provide the structure that helps people learn to better communicate with their dogs. The dogs have a better opportunity to learn good manners. That makes them easier to live with and less likely to be given up. The activities help people get in touch with one another to share information. That also helps people to learn about dogs, to avoid problems, and to solve them in a healthy way. The activities provide exercise in a fun way that boosts the relationship. The exercise, in turn, reduces boredom. A dog that exercises with its human is less likely to have behavior problems. A wonderful side benefit is that these activities can be a mental boost for humans and dogs alike.
Do we need lessons on having fun with our dogs?
All the evidence is, yes, we need to learn how to have fun with our dogs. Too many people just don't know how much fun their dog can be. Their relationship is one way; they haven't learned to communicate. They need help learning how to have fun with their dog. When they enjoy their dog they are motivated to work through problems, to solve them instead of giving up on the dog.
And yes, your mutt can play too.
The big surprise to me was how many activities I can do with my mixed breed dogs. And the variety of sports, games, and just plain good times was also an eye opener. Many of the activities listed here will be new to you. Some of them you may have seen on TV, but never thought of getting involved in yourself. Well plunge right in and explore. You and your dog will be glad you did.
Fun things to do with your dog: Games, Sports and Just Good Fun
- Agility - in, out, over and through this sport is all about working as a team
- Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy - the warm head of a friendly pet can soothe a lonely heart
- Bikejoring - some dogs love to run. Adding the responsibility of teamwork adds to the fun.
- Canicross - dog powered running for those who want to share their running goals with their best friend
- Carting - channel the desire to pull into harness work that lets the dog feel useful and skilled
- Coursing and racing - root instinct drives the joy of running with purpose in coursing and racing
- Day trips and vacations - the dogs need not be left behind, bring them along for even more fun
- Disc Dog or Flying Disc - if there was ever meaning to jump for joy this is it, jumping with achievement
- Dock Jumping or Dock Diving - dogs who excel in this sport are love to show they can do it further and better
- Dog Camps - Activity Sampler - too many choices? take a vacation with your dog and sample a variety
- Dog Parks and Dog Walks: Socialization and Off-leash Play - a joy for the social dog, think tot lot
- Dog Scootering - some dogs love to run. Adding the responsibility of teamwork adds to the fun.
- Earthdog Trials - instinct, drive, and flying dirt - what more could an earthdog want
- Flyball - excitement, speed, and focus, a sport for dogs driven to do it faster
- Flygility - racing and teamwork to build confidence and a sense of belonging
- Games - the most basic of interactions, fun ways of practicing skills of hunting, fetching, working together
- Herding - it's all about the dog's instinct and desire to control and direct movement for the pack leader
- Hiking, Backpacking and Dog Walks - sharing our quiet moments, our contemplations is the essence of being a pack
- Hunt and Field Trials - working as a team is what drives these dogs
- Kids and Dogs - dogs and kids can be a wonderful pairing with a little learning to keep it safe and fun
- Mushing - for dogs who love to pull and people who want to let them
- Musical Freestyle - the ultimate in teamwork is working with rhythm and coordination
- Obedience - precision, focus and a great activity for perfectionist dogs, those who love to get it exactly right
- Performance Art (Tricks) - curiosity and a willingness to try new things makes this fun
- Pet Facilitated Therapy - for the dog who loves attention what better way to get it than visiting people in need
- Precision Drill Teams - the excitement of success, of meeting a challenge and being a part of the team
- Pulling - great for dogs who love to pull, and people who want to let them
- Racing - for the dogs who love not just running but being faster than the next one
- Rally Obedience - more focus on teamwork, less focus on precision, fun and relaxed for human and dog
- Ring Sport - a sport that says "I can be a contributing member of the family" Some dogs thrive on responsibility
- Rollerblade - a fun way for dogs and humans to share exercise and fresh air
- Schutzhund - tracking, obedience, protection, schutzhund is all about what a well rounded dog is all about
- Search and Rescue - for some making a difference is important, that includes dogs, they know it matters
- Skijoring - dogs love to pull, people love to ski. Put the two together and you have skijoring.
- Sniffer Dog
- Stock Dog Trials
- Treibball - herding balls instead of sheep
- Visiting Pets
- Water Work
- Weight Pulling