fun activities and ideas to help you get the most out of pet ownership
Outdoor activities not only provide exercise and mental stimulation, but also help curb bad behaviours by giving your furry friend a chance to release excess energy.
• Everyone knows about “show” dogs, but did you know there are lots of performance sports for you and your dog to enjoy? “Agility” involves negotiating a course of obstacles and is the fastest growing dog sport in Australia. “Flyball” is like a relay race for teams of dogs; “earth dogs” race through tunnels underground, as well as retrieving and tracking trials. Most dogs want a job to do, so why not find out more?
• Join your local dog training club to find out what activities they offer. As well as training classes they often provide an assortment of activities and social days for dogs and owners.
• Visit a community family fun and pet day – your local council will advertise these events in the local paper, newsletter or website.
• Visit an outdoor cafe with your dog on-leash and enjoy some people watching time together.
• Many dogs love water – take them to a designated beach and dive for toys in shallow water, have a splash war, play fetch on the sand or even go for a surf together. Remember, not all dogs can swim.
• Outdoor fun isn’t just for dogs. With the right preparation, cats can get in on the action too. If you have a yard with a high fence, you can take yourcat out for some supervised exploring, or create a cat run with adjustable shelves and ramps to enhance play time. While some cats don’t take to a leash, some will with a bit of training.
Playing games with your pet is a fun and inexpensive way to bond with your furry friend. The only real expense is some treats! Games don’t have to be complicated, just something to keep you both occupied when you can’t get outside for some exercise.
• Buy a chewy rope and play tug of war with your dog.
• Play hide and seek – hide yourself, toys or treats. Reward your pet with tiny treats every time they are successful in finding you. This is an excellent game for cats!
• Simon Says – use time to train new puppies to sit, stay, lay, roll, come, beg. You can also use this time to work with older pets to use a leash or follow a variety of other commands.
• Pamper your dog or cat – you’ll make them feel just fabulous with a wash and a groom.
• Plan a pet-friendly day trip – you and your pet have several options when choosing a day trip. Some things you could do together are visiting a new dog park, hiking along a bush trail, taking an afternoon picnic together and then relaxing in the glow of a beautiful sunset. Find a new dog-friendly walk with the help of Great Sydney Dog Walks.
• Holidays – with the growing trend being to take yourpet on holiday, a lot of destinations have altered theirpolicies to welcome family pets. There is a range of pet-friendly accommodation around Australia, from B&Bs to resorts, camping grounds to upmarket private hotels.
• Off-leash dog parks – parks and beaches are excitingplaces for dogs. A good off-leash park will provide water, shaded areas and seating, as well as bins where you can dispose of your dog’s poo.
• Organise a play date – play dates are an excellent way to keep your dog’s socialisation skills sharp.