If you follow this blog, you know that I’m not a fan of the dog park. I guess that’s easy for me to say since I have an acre of land for my dogs to run and play but that’s not the case for everyone. Our dogs need exercise and some dogs live on lots of land and others in small apartments. If you’re bored of the typical dog walk, here are some ideas for safe play that are alternatives to the dog park.
Chances are you have a friend or neighbor with a dog or three. Almost every house in the United States has at least one dog! I own a house cleaning service in Dallas-Fort Worth and we clean thousands upon thousands of houses each year. It’s rare to see one without a dog as part of the family.
Set-up a dog play date with a dog and human that you’re familiar with. One that you know is current on vaccinations and parasite free. When choosing the play date, keep in mind the size differences of the dogs and their individual personalities. Your safe bet is to have your dog play with a dog similar in size so no one gets hurt.
Keep it to one dog at a time, at least until your dog is used to playing with one of the dogs. Too many dogs can cause stress or misunderstood feelings. If your dog has a bad experience while playing, it can leave permanent emotional scars which can forever affect his behavior. The safety THEN happiness of your dog is in order. Never leave your dog and his play date unattended. If bickering begins, separate the dogs briefly and calm them down before allowing them to play again. Of course, if negativity continues, it’s time for the play date to end.
Fun Games For Your Dog To Play
There are lots of other ways to exercise your dog, if socialization isn’t your goal of the day. Here are just a few:
- Throw a Frisbee or a ball. Dogs are bred to chase and they almost all love a good game of fetch.
- Roll a ball across a flat surface floor, even indoors. Chances are, your dog WILL chase the ball.
- Provide your dog with toys that allow him to pull, drop, tug, etc. Some of these may require you to play too but some don’t.
- Take a ride on a bike with your dog following on leash if you don’t feel like walking.
- Consider classes with your dog such as puppy classes, obedience classes, agility classes, etc. Not only will your dog learn something new, he’ll also get the chance to be around other dogs that are most likely well socialized and safer play friends than those at dog parks.
- Work on training commands. Mental stimulation is just as important (and tiring) to your dog as physical stimulation.
- Blow bubbles for your dog to chase. This is a REALLY fun game to most dogs and gets them jumping, tumbling, and chasing.