Fun activities to do with your dog can create a very special bond between you. After all, for many, they are family, and in some cases, maybe the only family. With there being many different physical activity levels for the dog owner, as well as their dog(s), not all activities are suitable for everyone. For this reason, I wanted to talk about a couple fun things anyone could do, along with a couple competitive events that require a more active owner and dog team. I even threw in a few health benefits to consider!
Hiking Or Nature Walk
Don’t let the word HIKING scare you! I know for many, they interpret that word as walking many, many miles, up mountains, thru rivers, carrying a 50lb backpack, etc. Yes, there are those that do just that! I am here to tell you that you can hike any distance you like. The definition by www.thefreedictionary.com that says “To go on an extended walk for pleasure or exercise, especially in a natural setting” is my favorite! What is the true definition of an extended walk? I’d like to think its any distance we want it to be!.
There are thousands of hiking and/or nature trails everywhere. I sometimes know its hard to just get you and your dog up and ready to go. Remember……. you get to choose the distance, and the scenery! And guess what?? Other than just plain good exercise for both you and Fido, there are more amazing HEALTH benefits too!! Check these out:
- Increases energy
- Stress reducing
- Improves mood
- Increases one’s ability to focus
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps to lower blood pressure
- Accelerates healing and recovery after surgery or illness
- improves your sleep
These are some wonderful benefits for both you and your dog(s)! Put aside all stresses, and breathe in a little of what nature has to offer!
Taking your dog to the beach is another wonderful activity to do together. Depending on where you live, you may have dog designated beaches or beaches that allow all. The peace and solitude of the ocean waves, the grounding/earthing of being barefoot in the sand, walking shin-deep in the water… It’s all so calming. I have even witnessed my dogs just standing there with a gaze, looking out to the sea. They feel it too!
On top of the calming effect of the sea, it can also be a place of GREAT exercise for you and your dog! You get to walk as far as you like, depending on your activity levels, of course, play ball, swim, play with other dogs, socialize, etc. The BEST part of all, and something we don’t think about….there is HEALTH BENEFITS to being at the beach!! Take a look!
- Lung Health – Scientists have found that salty air is good for your lungs. Studies showed that people near ocean air with lung disease reported fewer flare-ups, reduced infections, and overall easier breathing.
- Vitamin D – Sadly, a very high percentage of people are low on this very important vitamin, mainly because of lifestyle, and not getting outside for absorption. Being near a large body of water outside will help give you a large dose from the sun rays reflecting off the water. The importance of Vitamin D to our body includes bone and teeth health, health and function of the immune system, nervous system and brain, diabetes management, and heart and lung health
- Magnesium – Skin absorbs thru salt water. According to www.draxe.com the benefits of this amazing mineral are increased energy, calms nerves, helps you fall asleep, digestion/constipation, muscle aches, and spasms, regulates calcium and potassium levels, heart health, prevents migraines, helps prevent osteoarthritis
- Relaxation – Who doesn’t want to feel happy and relaxed?!
- Natural Antibacterial – The salt water will help heal cuts, scrapes, wounds, etc. much faster!
Dock diving is one of the fastest growing, and fun sports for our dogs, as well as their owners. North America Diving Dogs (NADD) has turned this sport from its initial form of entertainment to now being a full-on titling sport through the American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the United Kennel Club (UKC).
This is an exciting sport where your dog runs down a dock that’s raised above a pool, and leaps into the air and into the pool after the thrown toy, or after the target held above the pool. The owner or designated person is the one who throws the toy into the pool or holds their dog until the official says go, to then release their dog to run and jump for the target.
These are only two of the events they can participate in with dock diving. Of course, the object is to jump the furthest or the highest! Any energetic dog who loves the water, and or to play fetch will LOVE it!!
According to the NADD, Your dog DOES NOT have to be an AKC/CKC registered dog to participate in a North America Diving Dogs trial. Dogs without an AKC or CKC Pedigree may join the AKC’s Canine Partners Program and/or the CKC’s Canine Companion Program titling recognition programs. The United Kennel Club (UKC) requires your dog to be at least 6 months old, and be registered with them as of the day of the event. They do NOT need to be Pedigreed purebred to participate.
Although the name may not sound familiar, you’ve probably seen an agility competition. According to www.akc.org, their definition is as follows: “Designed to demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work with his handler in a variety of situations, agility is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training, and teamwork. Dogs and handlers must negotiate an obstacle course while racing against the clock”.
The handler will be directing their dog thru many obstacles, including zooming through tunnels, jumping over hurdles, scaling ramps, sea-saws and weaving poles.
As you can imagine, agility takes a lot of practice, but it’s a wonderful form of exercise and bonding for both you and your dog! For many, they start out by taking
a class just for the fun of it, to then become serious competitors!
Through the United States Dog Agility Association (USDAA), www.usdaa.com other than being registered with them prior to competition, dogs can be purebred OR mixed breed to compete.
So here are just a few fun activities to do with your dog that I thought you might enjoy. Depending on your activity level, there are SO many things you can do besides sitting at home. It’s good to get out, even if it’s just for a 10-minute walk. You are the designer! The important thing to remember here is that we ARE what we eat! A healthy diet for both you and your dog will give you BOTH a healthier, happier, longer life together!!
Feel free to leave any comments below about these fun activities! What do you do for fun with YOUR dog??
Be sure to check out my website at http://www.healthyeatingdog101.com for more information on feeding your dog a healthy diet, including treats!!