It's spring, the sun is shining and summer is approaching! With all this, you probably have only one thing to do: take your dog to stretch his legs and you with him. Beyond the daily walks to take him to do his business, there are lots of activities you can do with your pet, close to your home or on your vacation spot!
Today, there is no lack of possibilities, you can do many activities by yourself. Let's take a look at the 10 best outdoor activities to do with your dog.
Activities with a dog in the sea or river:
Before you consider water activities with your dog, you need to make sure your dog is comfortable in the water. This is easy to do. Go to an easily accessible body of water that is pet-friendly. Test his reaction to water: Does he approach it spontaneously? Does he react with fear to this perhaps unfamiliar environment? Try throwing a stick or one of his toys into the water and wait for his reaction, especially without forcing him. If your dog is reluctant to enter the water, try land-based activities. If your dog is reluctant to get into the water, the following activities may work for him!
1. Water rescue
This activity was originally a sport with very strict rules. Only certain breeds of dogs registered in the LOF (Livre des Origines Françaises), generally large dogs (Newfoundland, Retriever, Polish Shepherd, etc.), can participate in competitions. This sport consists in performing rescue exercises for people or boats. Without entering the competition circuit, if you and your dog enjoy being in the water, you can adapt the activity by throwing floating objects into the water, for example, which your dog will fetch. If you're staying at the water's edge, any floating object will do (a stick, a ball, a plastic ring). If you're venturing into deeper water, consider outfitting your pet with a life jacket that's appropriate for his size. This will not only build up your pet's stamina and flexibility, but it will also strengthen your bond!
Have you ever heard of stand-up paddling? This activity, which has been very popular in recent years, consists of standing on a paddle board on the water. The goal is to move in this way in balance with the help of a paddle. Although the boards look stable, the activity is more complicated than it seems and requires a great deal of control over your balance. Once you have tamed your board, why not take your dog with you? Once again, equipped with a life jacket (which also applies to you), place your dog at the front of your board and take off slowly. Although your dog may be confused at first, after a few minutes he should adjust and enjoy the adventure. If you don't have a board, don't worry! Many clubs now offer canoe paddling lessons, whether it's on the water, in the river, on a lake or at a water base. A little research on the Internet should direct you to the club closest to your home.
We don't think of it spontaneously, but it is possible to go canoeing with your dog. This activity, also in full development, has now found its little name: the cani-canoë. Like cani-paddling, you can choose between your own boat or a dog-friendly canoe-kayak base. First, let your dog discover the boat at the water's edge, walk around it, help him get in and observe his reactions. After a few minutes, you can try a few paddle strokes with your dog on board. If the experience is validated, you can then leave for several hours with your pet. Among the instructions to respect, we remind you that a life jacket is necessary for all the occupants of the boat. Also, even if you can bring a leash for the stops on land, never tie your dog to the boat, under penalty of seeing it sink if the canoe capsizes.
Activities with your dog in the wilderness:
4. Hiking and its derivative, the cani-rando
If you love the outdoors, the mountains are a wonderful playground for you and your pet. Whether you're an athlete or not, don't miss the opportunity to take your dog out for some fresh air. The great thing about hiking is that there is something for everyone. If you and your dog are not very hardy, go for a short hike with little or no elevation gain. On the other hand, if you are used to walking, don't hesitate to go for a hike on a terrain with more difference in altitude, which should give you the opportunity to discover beautiful panoramas. Be careful, however, that the trail is animal-friendly and does not include risky passages (climbing or crossing a monkey bridge, for example). If you want to develop complicity and trust between you and your pet, why not try the cani-rando? In this version, you and your dog are linked by a rope or an elastic cord. You, attached to a wide belt and your dog to a comfortable harness. You must adapt to each other's pace. Your dog will also be responsible for guiding you.
6. Frisbee or ball toss
Here are two other activities that are very easy to set up. All you need is enough space and either a Frisbee or a ball. Dogs are often more agile than we are and can jump easily, making them excellent partners in either of these activities. It simply involves throwing the object of your choice and letting your dog catch it, ideally in the air. This develops his agility, relaxation and speed. On your end, little movement is required, which may be appropriate for those with limited mobility.
7. Towed Rollerblading
If you are a rollerblading enthusiast and a bit of a daredevil at heart, this is a very interesting towed sport. Just like the cani-rando, you are connected to your dog by a lanyard. The difference here is that you have less room to maneuver and stop your animal. You will have to make sure beforehand that your dog responds well to the directional commands (right/left/stop) in order to limit the risks of accidents. These are things that you can easily teach him while walking. Other constraints: you must have a flat and well-developed track (bike paths often do the trick), and your animal must be powerful enough to pull your weight. Once mastered, this discipline is perfect if you are a thrill seeker.
This sport has the advantage of being suitable for all dogs, big or small and for all types of terrain. It is simply a jog during which you are harnessed to your animal. Ideal for all fitness levels, you can start with short runs and increase your training time as you go along. Plus, your dog will come in handy when you start to tire, thanks to its pulling action. And you'll never feel alone in the effort, so morale will always be high! You can use your usual route, plan a route in the wilderness or even on more rugged terrain, in which case it will be called a "cani-trail".
Activities for your dog on suitable terrain:
9. The Agility course
Agility is both a sport and a fun discipline, during which your dog will have to pass obstacles (slaloms, tunnels, jumping obstacles...). Very appreciated by dog owners, it is also very pleasant to watch as a simple spectator. You will need a dog who can jump and pass obstacles, who is at least obedient and a more or less enduring master who will have to accompany him throughout the course. This is the interest of this sport: beyond the playful aspect, it is a good way to develop your dog's obedience and your relationship of trust since you guide him during the event. If many courses exist today and allow you to have access to them (especially with dog trainers), you can buy course elements to install in your garden, or with a little imagination and elbow grease, make them yourself!
10. The oberethemy
Oberimetry, also known as rhythmic obedience or dog dance, is an activity that combines movement training with music. In competition, the choreographies last 4 minutes and are presented in front of a jury. As a leisure activity, oberhythmics is a good way to improve the complicity between you and your dog, his obedience and his response to movements, as well as to work on your synchronization. No doubt you will be able to find a training club near you, or have fun at home with your pet.
The variety of these activities and their accessibility should give you some ideas for practicing with your dog. Don't forget to feed your pet a balanced diet that will suit his physical activity. In addition to enjoying the outdoors and exercise, you will develop an unparalleled bond with your dog. So many reasons to become a canine sports enthusiast!