Play time is so important for people and pups. In fact, the more you can mentally and physically work with your canine companion, the happier and healthier you both will be. Luckily, there are plenty of hobbies you can do with dogs. Here are just a few fun activities for you to explore.
Fun Hobbies to Do With Dogs
Keep your dog's size, health and capabilities in mind when choosing which activities are best suited for you both.
Mushing, also known as dog sledding, is the official state sport of Alaska and a great hobby you can do with your dog. You do need snow to take part, but since the dogs must stay fit all year round, there are clubs you and your pet can train with in the off season. This sport is most appropriate for people who have medium to large dogs since they need to be strong enough to pull the sled. However, there's no reason a smaller dog can't ride along with you as you cheer his larger canine companions on.
Canicross is basically a running activity for you and your dog, but it's also a way to keep mushing dogs in shape when there's no snow available. Dog and owner teams run a cross-country course attached together by a special shock-absorbing harness that keeps your pet from jolting you while essentially pulling you across the course as you run behind. It's a great hobby for people with dogs of all sizes, but you still need to consider the terrain and distance since small dogs likely won't have the same stamina as bigger dogs.
Bikejoring, also referred to as urban mushing, is an amazingly fun hobby to do with dogs. It's a snow-free alternative to mushing where you ride a bike while your dog helps pulls you along. Most large dogs can easily do this activity with their owners, but you can also adjust it for medium and small size dogs by pedaling as needed to keep the two of you rolling along.
Carting, also known as drafting, is a sport that has been around for years and has grown popular again with people who have large dogs. This is where your dog pulls you in a very lightweight cart. In some cases you race others; in others, it is a group of carters out for a day of pleasure carting. You can actually take carting classes at some dog training facilities. Traditionally, it's a sport for large, strong dogs. However, with a little ingenuity, you can adapt it for a smaller dog by using a very small cart to pull a lightweight item. Only do this if your little pet seems to enjoy the activity.
Agility is an exhilarating sport that is akin to running a doggie obstacle course. Competitors take turns running the course, and the winner is the dog who completes the course in the fastest time. This is also a sport that dogs of all sizes can take part in.
6. Disc Dog
The wonderful sport of disc dog has been growing since it first became popular in the '70s. It's a bit like playing Frisbee with your dog, and teams are awarded points based on the distance of the catch. Contests are held all over the world, so you can learn and join in on many levels. This a great sport for any dog that displays some athleticism.
7. Field Trials
Field trials are competitions where hunting dogs get to use their pointing, flushing, trailing and retrieving instincts. The trials are run like real hunts, so expect the sound of gunshots. This sport involves a lot of training before a dog can take part, so look for your nearest gundog club to learn more.
Sharing Hobbies With Dogs Benefits Everyone
It is often stated that the more you play with your dog, the more likely you both will stay together. Play also offers a triple benefit as you are able to bond, train and mentally stimulate your pet. Not only that; it can help tucker out Fido and ensure a little happiness. Fido will be happy because he got to play and spend time with you, and you will be happy because Fido is ready for a rest and not antsy all night long. Just make sure both you and your dog are healthy enough to participate and then get out there and have some fun!