Pupcation

This post will conclude the series on special activities for dogs and we’re going out with a bang. This latest activity is definitely not something you can do every day or even every month: a pupcation, or a holiday with your pooch. I don’t suggest you go on holiday just for your dog. But if you’re planning one already, why not take the four-legged family member(s) along?

New sights, new smells, amazing views
New sights, new smells, amazing views

Taking your dog along on a trip can be fun, however it can be a bit of a hassle and you have make thorough preparations. It all starts with choosing the right type of holiday: any kind of trip which just results in your pooch being left in the hotel room is a no-go. Instead, choose for an active vacation like camping or a nature holiday. Your pup will thank you.

Bringing your dog along on a pupcation has several advantages, for humans and pups. For one, you won’t have to look for someone to look after Fido while you’re away and you know he’s in the best hands: your own. This eliminates any chance of your dog pining and missing you. For your pup, as for you, a holiday means a change of scenery and exploring new things and places. And if you choose for an active holiday, it will mean lots of exercise too. This will lead to a tired, but very content pooch.

pupcation luggage
A Suitcase for every family member

However, as I mentioned there is also a downside to a pupcation. Accommodation being the major one: you will have to look for places that allow your dog. The same goes for any activities you might have planned, be sure to look online whether they are dog-friendly. Of course, it’s OK to plan an activity which doesn’t allow for dogs, as long as you don’t leave your pup on their own devices for an entire day or don’t plan too many of these. Otherwise, it would defeat the point of bringing your dog along and they’d be better off being looked after by a family member or in a kennel.

Taking your pooch along also means packing their suitcase. They will need their food, toys, bedding and such too. A more extensive list can be found here. Also, don’t forget to bring a doggy first aid kit and the number of your vet and a local vet. If you travel by car, please make sure to secure your dog properly. However, as long as you prepare well, the pupcation will be a fun trip for all family members.

Have you and your dog ever gone on a pupcation? If so, where did you go? Feel free to give some recommendations in the comments!

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Tricks and Treats

They can't read, so they need other ways to keep busy
They can’t read, so they need other ways to keep busy

To keep our dogs busy and healthy, we don’t only have to make sure they get enough physical activities like a stimulating walk or swim. Like the body, the mind has needs too and needs to be used. Preventing boredom is of the essence. Most of you will probably have some (funny) anecdote showing that boredom leads to trouble, in dogs and humans alike.

One way to keep a dog’s mind occupied is to teach him of her tricks. Most people know about the basic tricks and commands such as sit, heel, down. These are things every dog should know to operate and be safe in our society. However, dogs are capable of learning much more than that. They might even pick up a few tricks on their own, whether you want them to or not.

To teach your dogs new tricks, you don’t need much: a list of tricks, patience, perseverance and lots of treats. However, if you don’t really know where to start and the internet is no help, you don’t have to do this on your own. There are dog schools and trainers who will gladly help you and that offer more advanced classes that go beyond basic obedience. Though, make sure you transport your pooch safely in the car, with a crate or pet barrier, when you go to these classes.

dog treats
Lots and lots of treats

You can find a lot of dog tricks online. Here’s a list of some tricks I liked:

Fun ones:

  • walking backwards
  • barking on command
  • slalom
  • jumping
  • crawling
  • a classic: play dead

Useful ones:

  • difference between left and right
  • opening and closing doors
  • picking up toys
  • switching the light on and off
  • Leave it, for refusing strange food and other non-edible things
  • baring their teeth, useful for brushing those pearly whites
  • find my keys

Does your dog know any fun or unusual tricks? Is there a something you would like him to know? Let me know in the comments!

Group walks: the more the merrier

Group walk in the park
Everything is better with friends by your side

Two weeks ago I wrote about taking your pooch to the dog park. This has a lot of benefits, the main ones being that your dog gets exercised and is able to socialize with other dogs. Another great activity that grants both of these is group walks. After all, the more the merrier.

Walking your dog in a group can be achieved in different ways. For example, on a regular walk, you’ll often run into the same people with their dogs. Why not invite them to a group walk? Or maybe you could ask some of your neighbors along. This is a great way to get to know them better.

However, there is another way for your dog to have a walk with a group of dogs. If you have to leave your dog alone at home when you go to work, chances are you have a dog walker. Instead of looking for a walker who will just take Fido out for a short walk, you can opt for someone who will take your pooch along with some other clients. This way the merry band can hang out and have fun together for a while.

All tuckered out
All tuckered out after his walk

No matter which way you do it, group walks are a good idea. As with any walk, it means your pet get a chance to release energy. Group walks have the added bonus that they are also a great opportunity for our four-legged companions to socialize. Especially for younger dogs who still have to learn doggy manners and protocols, these walks are a great help. But for any dog, they are a way to meet new friends and maybe see some new places.

If you are considering group walks, keep in mind that for some dogs an entire pack of strangers can be intimidating. Be careful when introducing the members to each other and keep an eye on them. If your dog isn’t comfortable in big groups, a group walk can also consist of just one or two others. After all the whole point is the have fun and be merry, not to scare your pooch.

Activities: Dog Sports

This week’s activity is aimed at people and dogs with a lot of energy who like being active. So all the two- and four-legged couch potatoes can stop reading right here. If, however, your pooch is a bundle of energy and you are looking for a way to let him blow off some steam, why not try out a dog sport.

dog sports agility

There are a lot of dog sports out there. You’ll probably have heard of agility and flyball before, but what about dock jumping, hound trailing or scootering?  There are too many sports to list here, but you can see the list over here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dog_sports

There are a lot of advantages to doing sport with your pooch:

  • Exercise is healthy for both of you
  • It will stimulate your dog’s mind as well
  • A good way for your pooch to release some of that energy
  • It will strengthen the bond with your dog
  • A way of meeting new human and doggy friends
  • It’s just fun
Strengthening the bond
Strengthening the bond

If now I have you thinking that you’d like to try this, good! However, before jumping into this recklessly, do your research. Not every sport is suited for your dog’s breed and, especially, his or her personality. If you have found a sport suited for you, look up what it entails and how much time and effort you have to invest in it. If you are not willing to commit, you can save a lot of time by not starting it in the first place. If all this information hasn’t dissuaded you yet, you can start looking at clubs and schools in your area where you can learn the ropes and to guide you in the whole process.

Also, and this goes without saying, but make sure your dog is healthy and fit enough to participate in any of these activities. And when driving to the club or venue, make sure your dog is properly secured in the car with a crate or pet barrier.

But now, go out and have fun!

Is there a dog sport you’d be interested in? Are you and your four-legged friend active in a dog sports? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you like about it.

Doggy activities: The Dog Park

In the series of things you can do with your dog to keep him happy and active I have so far tackled taking your pooch to the beach and advised you to make a (small) change in your walking route. Today I will be talking about taking your beloved four-legged friend to a place a lot of you will be familiar with already. However, for those of you who are unfamiliar with them or who have some doubts, let me introduce you to… the dog park.

Dog park this way
Dog park this way

Off-leash dog parks are a wonderful place where you can let your pooch off-leash and run around and play with his friends. Because in most states and counties, dogs have to be leashed during their walks, they can be hindered in socializing with their fellows. In their hearts, dogs are still animals that roam, but we keep them in our houses and backyard, thus limiting their space. In the dog park they can be more true to their nature, lose some of their pent-up energy and, most importantly, have fun! And frankly, you can do the same as dog parks are a great place to meet new friends, human or canine.

Making friends and having fun
Making friends and having fun

I my post has convinced you to try out the dog park, please keep the following in mind. These parks are a great benefit for every dog and dog owner. However, in order to keep everyone happy and to keep these lovely places open, it is important that you follow the rules. Some parks have restriction on how many dogs can be inside at the same time. In others there are separate areas according to the dog’s size. And in some of these dog parks children are not allowed in. However, all of these parks have one rule in common, the one rule that all visitors must adhere to: cleaning up the dog’s waste. Following these rules will make the city happy and keep the park open, which makes your dogs happy, which will make you happy. So why not give it a try?