What can you do to create super fun-filled memories with your dog?
We have comprised 5 super fun things that you can do with your dog today, and they won’t cost you a dime to do. The great thing about the items on this list is that they are diverse, and can be done by people of all ages.
1) Wrestle With Your Dog
It does not matter how old you are (or young for that matter), dogs love to wrestle with you. Yes, you. If you can make your way down to the floor to play with your dog, they will meet you where you are and play with you.
Don’t worry, your dog understands your limitations, and will respect those limitations when playing with you, just like a dog knows that they must be gentle around a baby on the floor. So don’t think that your dog will play too rough.
Your dog will only be as aggressive as you are with him. If they do push the envelope, or even cross the line, simply let out a whimper (not a yell), and they will lick your face or hands to apologize. Awesome memories are made here, for both of you. Trust me, you will look back on these times fondly.
2) Drive in the Country with the Windows Down
Dogs love to stick their heads out the window and smell everything the country air has to offer. You see, you and I have about 5 million scent receptors in our nose. Dogs, however, can have up to 300 million scent receptors, depending on the breed. Because of this, they smell way better than we do. We, on the other hand, taste way more than they can, (which is why they will gulp down a juicy steak while we will savor every last bite).
When a dog sticks his head out the window of a moving car, the wind passes through their nose allowing the odor molecules to come in contact with their scent receptors. When that happens, you’ve got one ridiculously happy dog! To your dog, his sense of smell is invigorated and if his face could smile like us, he’d be beaming from ear to ear.
Because your dog finds much more pleasure in their sense of smell over any other sense, being able to take in a plethora of scents by simply sticking his head out the window brings tremendous joy.
3) Go to the Lake and Throw a Frisbee
Dogs love to interact in a playful manner with people. This is why they love it when you throw a ball for them to fetch, or better yet, hitting a baseball with a baseball bat at the park! They get the thrill of chasing the ball, and the joy of serving it to you as an expression of love.
The same applies when throwing a Frisbee in the lake, but it’s more fun and more exhilarating for the dog when they deliver the Frisbee back to you because it was harder to retrieve. The more difficult it is to retrieve, the more pride they have when returning it to you, (and of course, the more praise you give them, which incentivizes them to do it all over again).
You obviously do not want to throw the Frisbee far out in the water, but just enough so that they might have a swim a little bit to get it. In fact, start out small by simply tossing it in just a few feet into the water. By doing this, you are teaching your dog confidence.
Helping your dog develop confidence is huge and should not be overlooked. A confident dog won’t be afraid of people. A confident dog won’t be afraid of going for a walk down the street. A confident dog won’t run upstairs when you turn the vacuum on or have company over.
Are you seeing the common thread here? Fear. Confidence will destroy fear and you should take advantage of any and every opportunity that will instill confidence in your dog, including throwing a Frisbee in the water. To your dog, this can be fun and exciting, and it will teach your dog that they can do it.
4) Take Your Service Dog to a Hospital or Nursing Home
If you have a service dog, you could take him into a nursing home or hospital to minister to those you visit, or perhaps take a elderly family member to the movie theater.
A service dog is a dog that is specifically trained to help people with disabilities. These disabilities are not just limited to visual or hearing impairments. They also minister to people with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and those who are not able to get up and around easily.
Nursing home residents and those who are in the hospital are typically lonely, especially the elderly and they would love to have visitors, especially visitors that they can pet. 🙂
There is something so fulfilling about expressing love to other people. When you and your dog “minister” to others, you really can make a huge difference in the lives of those you are visiting.
This is far easier to do than you might think. Simply visit them expressing kindness through conversation while allowing them to pet your dog. Don’t know what tot talk about? Talk about your dog! They would love to hear you talk about your dog and they will have a ton of questions for you.
If you do not have a service dog, and would still like to visit a nursing home to minister to their residents, simply ask them. Tell them about your dog, it’s size and weight, letting them know that it is “potty trained.” Just be up front with them and let them know the real reason that you want to come . . . to express love to their residents.
They may say “no,” but they may not. Just be sure that you make your request in person (not over the phone), and only speak to the Chief Nursing Officer. This person is responsible for all nurses who provide direct care to their residents.
While service dogs are specifically trained to be around people, your dog probably wasn’t. Keep in mind that your dog picks up cues from you. If you express kindness and love to someone, your dog will too. If you are in the habit of being nasty towards others, your dog will follow suit. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are nasty towards your dog, your dog will in turn, treat others the way that you treat him. A lot more could be written on this subject, but to the point, your dog’s demeanor is a reflection of you and the relationship you have with your dog.
5) Go Hiking in the Woods
There is nothing like letting your dog explore. If you are really out there, off the beaten trail, (in an area that is not known for mountain lions or bears), take your dog off of the leash and let your dog lead the way. This assumes that that your dog will listen and obey your every command without second thought. If they have not learned to listen to your every command, do not take your dog off the leash.
If you are off the beaten path, be sure to either bring a physical compass with you, and your iPhone as a secondary device in order to use GPS, should you actually get lost.
We have compiled a list of the most popular dog friendly trails throughout the United States for you, and I would encourage you to find a trail that is right for you and your dog by clicking here.
There, you will discover the most popular dog friendly trails in each state, (including Alaska, Hawaii and even the District of Columbia). We even provide directions from your exact location. Have Fun on your hike!
The point in doing any one of these fun outings is to build memories. Memories for you, and memories for your dog. At the end of the day, you both will have strengthened your relationship.
If you make it a point to do one outing on a regular basis, (perhaps for an hour or two every other Saturday?), you will be well on your way to developing a deep friendship that will make your dog your best friend. If you make this a priority, years from now, you will only be able to look back with fond memories.
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