|Photo from Jordene Gates|
- Visit a Nursing Home-If you have an older dog that is very calm and loves people, consider visiting a nursing home. Many nursing homes will allow pet visitors so call ahead to your local home and see about scheduling a visit. You can also look into visiting mentally ill children and adults as well. Patients with severe depression and anxiety sometimes find petting a dog soothing and relaxing. Again, this activity is best for older and very calm dogs. I have taken my 6 year old Lab/Collie mix as well as my 2 year old Lab/Collie mix to do these types of activities, although both listen to commands very well, my younger dog gets times where he starts to want to run around or at least move around the room and doesn't like to sit completely still for over 30 minutes. (NOTE: Taking your dog for a walk before doing the visit will also help them be calmer while visiting).
- Participate in a Pet Parade- Many parades allow pet participants, and some of the best ones are Halloween and St. Patty's Day Parades where you can dress your dog up. Whether you buy a costume or make one, you and your pet are sure to enjoy this fun activity!
- Go Camping With Your Dog-The first time you try this it may be best to do just one night and then the next time try two or three, until you can build up to a week. Try to camp at a location that has easy access to clean water and plenty of shade. While camping, take your dog with you on hikes, share some grilled chicken from your evening campfire, and even go for a swim in a lake. Just be sure to have identification on your dog just in case he gets loose!
- Attend a Doga Session Together-Learn how to exercise and relax with your dog through Doga or Doggie Yoga. Although yoga with your pets can be done at home, it really is fun to try this in a class setting so your dog can meet new people and dogs. Check out the Yoga With Your Pets post for information on starting this at home and progressing to a class.
- Have a Birthday Party for Your Dog- Although other dog owners may be taken by surprise when they receive an invitation to a dog birthday party, this fun activity to try with your dog is getting more and more popular with pet owners. Be sure to have dog treats, water bowls, and plenty of toys all around for the dogs. Serve people food that is also safe for dogs, just in case the dogs get into the people area. You can also bake a dog birthday cake....there are lots of dog birthday cake recipes online; but skip the candle blowing!