By Jennifer Hinders as seen in Animal Wellness Magazine
If you’re looking for something to do with your dog this summer, and aren’t sure what to do as the pandemic winds down, check out this list of seven fun and simple ideas.
Even as the pandemic seems to be winding down in some places, it remains important to follow existing restrictions as long as they’re in place. So if you’re looking for some fun things to do with your dog this summer, and aren’t sure what’s available to you, check out this list of seven fun and simple ideas.
1. Enjoy a long walk
You and your dog need regular exercise. Taking a long walk is a great way for you both to stay fit. Fortunately, you can still enjoy walks with your dogs and stay within COVID rules. Be sure to bring along your mask in case you encounter other people.
For a dog, going for a walk is more than just a potty break – it also provides mental stimulation and socialization. And it’s a great way for the two of you to bond and enjoy the outdoors together this summer.
2. Do a summer photoshoot
Find the perfect location to take pics, while being sure to follow any social distancing rules. Bring lots of treats to motivate your buddy to keep posing, as well as some water in case he gets thirsty. Try one of these locations as a backdrop – just make sure beforehand that they’re dog-friendly, and follow the regulations:
Beach — Water, sand and sun make beautiful settings for a photoshoot. Choose a time of day that gives you the best sunlight without too much shade. Mornings and evenings are great, and won’t be too hot for your dog. Allow your pooch to romp in the surf or run along the beach for awesome action shots.
Favorite park — Parks provide plenty of natural beauty in dog photos. Every season offers a unique backdrop. In the summer, colorful flower beds make a great setting – just don’t let your dog trample the gardens!
Field or wooded area – If safe and permitted, allow your dog to run around in a field or wooded area while you take photos (watch out for ticks, though). For different effects, choose different times of the day to take your pictures.
Backyard – Sometimes, the best place to take photos is in your own backyard. Give your dog a new toy to play with while you take pics of him, or throw a ball for him to get some action shots.
3. Engage your dog in interactive play
Playing with your dog reinforces communication, strengthens your bond, and improves obedience. Try a variety of toys to see which one he likes best. Once you find his favorite, try to make it even more fun by moving it around or throwing it for your dog to chase. Some of the best-loved dog toys are often those that have been around for years like balls, Frisbees or rope pulls.
4. Practice basic commands
Giving your dog a training refresher doesn’t have to be work! In fact, it’s a fun way to hang out together. It keeps your mentally sharp and physically challenged. Revisit the basic commands you’ve taught your dog — or teach him some new tricks such as high five, or jump through a hoop. When you teach your dog new tricks, it not only improves his health, but boosts your confidence as a dog parent.
5. Go swimming together
Whether you have a pool in your backyard or just bought a kiddie pool, your dog will love splashing and cooling off in the water with you this summer. Afterwards, don’t be surprised if your dog runs around the yard or rolls around in the grass. Called the ”zoomies,” this familiar behavior occurs when a dog gets a rush of energy after a bath or swimming. It’s thought this activity could be a release of nervous energy — or it could be that your dog just feels good after his time in the water!
6. Create an agility course in your backyard
A backyard agility course doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Use items you have around the house such as two laundry baskets to hold a broom handle for jumping over, a children’s playground slide or cloth tunnel. Agility courses provide many benefits for your dog such as mental stimulation, exercise, better obedience, and an improved relationship with you. They also give your dog a full-body workout since he will need to jump, climb, crawl, and run through the various obstacles. Once your dog has learned the course, challenge him by changing out the obstacles or move the course to a different part of your yard. This is guaranteed to be fun for both of you!
Having fun with your dog this summer doesn’t have to stop because of the ongoing pandemic, and these ideas are just the beginning. Get creative and try new activities with your dog!