Basic care, General info, Training

18 Ways To Spend More Time With Your Dog

All of us want to give our doggos the best possible life since unfortunately, they don’t live as long as we do. That’s why it’s important to give them all your love and attention. Basic care is a must but actually spending extra time with your dog doing fun activities will be mutually rewarding.

If you’d like to know how to spend more time with your dog, I’ve compiled a list of activities you can take inspiration from.

Am I spending enough time with my dog?

Dogs are social animals and shouldn’t live along with humans but with them. They thrive under their owner’s attention and care, so it’s important to spend as much quality time with your pooch as you can. They will love it, you will love it – it’s a win-win! If you think you aren’t spending enough time with your doggo, then you probably aren’t. 

How much time should I be spending with my dog?

The amount of time spent with your dog also depends on the breed; some dog breeds require a lot of exercise and Weimaraner is one of them. Adult Weimaraners need at least 2 hours of exercise a day plus add the time spent training and teaching commands, playing with toys, going on a walk, etc.

So what should you do? Here are 18 tips on how to spend more time with your pooch.

1. Go on walks

Pretty obvious, isn’t it? This is what you should be doing a few times a day anyway. Just a walk around the block isn’t very exciting though. Try to incorporate play into your walk, take a few treats and throw some in the grass, encouraging your pup to find them. It’s also an opportunity to train obedience commands in a highly distracting environment. 

Nelly in a new environment

You could ask a friend to come along to switch your usual routine. Change directions instead of your usual path, this has new smells and new experiences for your pooch. You can even change the pace. Let them sniff as much as they want, or even let them lead you where they want to go!

If you live in a hot climate or have very hot summers and you live in the city, please first make sure it’s safe for your pup to walk on the sidewalk. If it’s hot for your palm, it’s too hot for your dog. Either invest in a pair of doggy booties or wait with the walk until it’s cooler.

2. Bring it to work

The official Bring Your Dog To Work Day is on June 22, however, many employers allow their employees to bring their pup to work every day. A study from 2017 shows that having your pet at the workplace can lower stress, be your social support and even improve relationships in the workplace. (source) Make sure to ask your boss first and if you work in an open space office or share an office with multiple people, make sure they won’t mind your dog being there. After all, some people may not like dogs or they can be allergic.

If your dog is a high-energy breed like the Weimaraner, make sure to exercise them for about an hour before you go to work and make sure to walk them a few times during your work time.

3. Go on holidays or take a day off

Do you take your dog on vacation with you or do you leave them with a relative, dog sitter or in a doggy hotel? Why not take them with you? There are a lot of dog-friendly places and accommodations across the US and of course, internationally as well. DogFriendly.com is a great database to search for your next vacation spot with all the travel info you might need.

Whether you take a week or a day off, a new environment and exciting experiences will be great for both you and your dog.

4. Workout together

If you’re the owner of a high-energy breed, you can take the opportunity to pick up jogging, running, roller-blading or cycling. Your pup will appreciate it and you will get fitter as a result. 

Always make sure that the workouts are suitable for your pup’s age and health.

5. Schedule play dates

If you have friends with doggos and they’re well acquainted, you can schedule a playdate in your or their yard. If no one is available, go to your nearest off-leash dog park to meet new friends to socialize and go crazy with. Always be vigilant when meeting new dogs for the first time to prevent any undesirable behavior or fights.

6. Teach them a new trick

Dogs need to be stimulated mentally as well and teaching them a new trick can be a fun way to spend more time with them. When they’ve got the basic commands down, you can start teaching them tricks. The classics like give paw, roll over or speak are good starter tricks. You can try one of these following too:

  • Hide and seek
  • High-five
  • Dance
  • Sit pretty
  • Roll up in a blanket
  • Put their toys away into designated space
  • Play soccer
  • Balance a treat on their nose
  • Open/close the door
  • Walking weave

There are tons more that you can teach. Of course, only teach tricks with positive reinforcement, you can use a clicker if you’ve trained your dog this way previously.

7. Go to the pet store together

If your pup is friendly, sociable and doesn’t mind other animals, adults or children, you can take them to the pet store which allows dogs inside. If you’re taking them for the first time, observe any signs of anxiety or fear: some dogs can be scared of all the noises and new environment.

Nelly in the pet store

Make sure you have your pooch on a leash. They should be house trained or at least walked before visiting, so they don’t leave any mess behind that you’d have to clean up (of course, accidents may happen still and that’s okay, they’re used to it). We have a pet store a walking distance from our house, so it’s easy to stop by on our way from the walk. 

It goes without saying that your dog shouldn’t just pick up every toy and snack they see, so teaching them ‘drop it’ and ‘leave it’ commands can be very handy in this situation. No one wants other people’s dog’s slobber on their toys!

They can sniff at things and if your wallet is up for it, you can join the “Buying everything my dog touches” challenge that’s been going around on Youtube. You can keep a few things but I’d strongly encourage you to donate the rest to dog shelters.

8. Take them for a ride

If your dog isn’t prone to car sickness, take them somewhere new! A lot of dogs enjoy car rides with their owners. You should never let your dog stick their head out of the window though, it can be dangerous for many reasons! Always make sure your pooch is safe, whether you’re using a harness in the backseat (Sleepypod is crash tested and CPS approved, you can check availability on Amazon) or they’re riding in the trunk area behind a pet barrier or in a travel crate. As a result, both you and your dog will be safe. You’ll be more focused on the road and traffic ahead of you without worrying about your pooch. 

9. Play games

There are tons of games that you can play with your dog, you’re only limited by your imagination! Some of these games can be played both inside and outside, so bad weather is no excuse! Here are some examples:

  • Tug of war – it’s a classic, do I need to say more?
  • Fetch – a great way to burn off some energy but be careful if your dog is obsessed with the ball or fetching in general. I’ve written a post about fetch obsession and how to control it.
  • Hide and seek – start with treats or toys, then you can progress up with searching for people
  • Flirt pole – Great for tiring out your pooch! It’s simply a rope on a long stick with a toy fastened at the end. You stand in one spot and twirl the pole around, activating their chase instincts. Again, you can DIY a flirt pole at home, it’s pretty inexpensive.
  • Obstacle course – if you’re indoors, use whatever you have around the house. Plastic bottles, chairs, hula hoops will work great.
  • Bubbles – dog love bubbles and it’s even better if the solution is doggy safe and bacon flavored!
  • Employ their noses – grab a box, fill it with scrunched up newspaper and toss a few treats in it, play the cup game or create your own snuffle mat (check the video below). You don’t need expensive puzzle games or when a DIY approach will do!

I’m sure you can come up with more ideas but these are just to start you off. Don’t forget to praise a lot when your pup gets it right!

10. Grooming

It might seem like a chore but if you train your puppy to enjoy grooming from a very young age, you will both benefit. Brushing a dog’s coat can be quite calming (if your pup is calm as well), but don’t forget to check and clean their paws, nails, ears, and skin. Check for any injuries, unusual growths, or fleas and ticks. 

In recent years a doggy massage has become more popular. You don’t have to go to a specialist – you can do it yourself but you need to learn how to do it properly. The massage is a great bonding experience and helps both of you relax. I’m currently enjoying the video below by Victoria Stillwell on Youtube.

11. Snuggle or take a nap

Sometimes you don’t really want to do anything, especially on miserable cold rainy days. Snuggling with your pup in front of a fireplace, a good book, movie, TV show or video game is a good way to spend time with your dog. You can even take a nap, they will definitely join you.

The other day I took a nap after lunch because she woke me up at 5:30am. She happily snored away with me and we had a great nap.

12. Orchestrate a photoshoot

Instagram pets are all the rage now (are you following Nelly on Instagram? You should!), so why not join? And if you don’t want to have an Instagram for your pup, you can take photos for your family album. You don’t need any fancy equipment or even a photographer, though you can if you want to go the extra mile.

People love to dress up their dogs for Halloween and most dogs tolerate their owner’s ideas for a bit. Dress up your girl in a tutu and a flower crown or give your good boy a nice tie.

13. Practice obedience

Party tricks are all good but if your pup can’t follow basic obedience commands, it’s going to be hard. So it’s important to incorporate these commands into your daily routine. The fact that they can do the command doesn’t mean they don’t need to be practiced. Some of these commands can even save your dog’s life!

  • Sit
  • Lay down
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Wait
  • Drop it
  • Leave it
  • Stop
  • Heel

If you’re having trouble with the training, you can take dog training classes in your area. Which brings me to the next point!

14. Take doggy classes

Maybe your puppy is harder to train or maybe you just want to make sure you’re training them correctly. The American Kennel Club (AKC) encompasses a lot of clubs that specialize in dog training. If your puppy passes through, they can get an official AKC title. To find the nearest club to you, head over to the AKC website.

You can find clubs that are focused on one breed or you can join a general one. If the club isn’t AKC certified, make sure they are reputable and only use positive reinforcement/clicker training.

15. Work on agility

Nelly on the agility bench

An exercised dog is a happy dog! Why not try an agility course? There are many options from benches, tunnels, hoops, hurdles, seesaws and more! While you can compete with your dog in agility competitions, it’s perfectly okay to do it just for the fun of it! Your pooch might be scared at first, so keep some tasty treats close and make sure to put him on a leash. Baby steps and a lot of praise, don’t forget that positive reinforcement is the way to go!

16. Hunting

There are several hunting breeds and each is used for a different purpose. Whether or not you actually use them for this purpose is up to you, although you might encounter many opinionated people who don’t like that you’re not using your dog for what it was bred to do. Don’t listen to them, you do you. As long as your dog is getting enough exercise, you’re all good!

But back to the point, if you have a hunting breed such as the Weimaraner, German Shorthaired Pointer or similar, you can practice tracking, pointing and retrieving either a fake stuffed animal or go in the field and practice with live birds, rabbits, and other small animals.

17. Competition

There are many ways your doggo can compete against other dogs. If you have a purebred dog, you can attend conformation shows, which judges dogs based on how well they conform to the breed standard. Next, you can compete in a list of trials, from obedience, agility trials to field and novelty trials and more.

18. Volunteer as a therapy dog

If your doggo is very obedient and calm around strangers and other dogs, maybe you could think about registering your pup as a therapy dog. If you and your dog pass all the screenings and health checks, you can visit places like hospitals, schools, airports, rehab facilities, mental health institutions, nursing homes and more. That way you spend more time with your dog and at the same time bring smiles and joy to other people.

Conclusion

I always say that the time spent with your dog is time well-spent! Both you and your pup benefit from this bonding experience 100%! I hope these tips above inspired you! What is your favorite way to spend time with your dog?



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