25 good things to do for your dog

For many of us, our pets are a vital part of the family, almost (or really) like children.  And while we may met their basic needs of shelter, food and water, I think there are a lot more things that might elevate their lifestyle.

Most dogs breeds were invented for a reason, and usually that had to do with serving a purpose for mankind.  Interacting with them based on their breed characteristics is a healthy way for them to work off pent up energy and make them think.

  1. make time for a long walk
  2. make time to play – Frisbee, toys, ball, tug rope, or just throw a stick (retrievers will love it), flyball
  3. Invest in some toys that make them think -Kongs are great for keeping them occupied licking peanut butter, or toys with hidden compartments where treats can be stuffed in
  4. Socialize – take her to the pet store or out to meet other dogs in a dog park
  5. play hide and seek
  6. have a professional grooming done even for a short haired dog
  7. play with water, if he likes it – a hose, the sprinkler, a child’s pool
  8. Visit a nursing home if your dog has a good temperament and likes people (and the residents will love it)
  9. Better yet, have your dog certified as a therapy dog
  10. Go through an obedience class together – dogs live to serve and you need to be in control
  11. Teach your dog to enjoy being brushed or combed at home – it’s a very personal interaction with them, and if you start with a puppy,, they will grow up loving it
  12. If your dog has the aptitude, take an agility class – it’s fun and they learn something new – many herding breeds take to this right away
  13. Go get ice cream ( I know, but our dogs know the store when we pull in…vanilla only, no chocolate)
  14. Go through a training class for search and rescue
  15. If you dog isn’t up to par, have your veterinarian do an exam.  Owners know their pets best, so when you say something is “just not right” your vet should listen and look for an issue you might not see
  16. Make a plaster of paris foot print…it will live in your heart long after your pet has passed (we used to do this for clients at the veterinary hospital who had to euthanize a pet – it often left them in tears)
  17. In addition to basic commands of sit, come, stay….shake, high five, and what we call “which hand?” – a treat in one closed fist, and the have to determine which hand has the biscuit
  18. Go for a ride – let him hang his head out the window when going slowly down a side road – too  much wind or possible flying debris can be a problem at high speeds
  19. Camping, or at least a day trip with some hiking
  20. Dancing…or singing if that’s more your dogs bailiwick
  21. Jog or bike together
  22. Make sure to protect against fleas and ticks- there are many effective products your veterinarian can
  23. Keep vaccines up to date – rabies vaccines are required pretty much everywhere by law, and the annual DHLPP protects against several nasty diseases
  24. Unless you plan to breed your dog (and I don’t recommend it for the average pet), have her spayed and him neutered.  Spays and neuters keep many diseases and serious medical conditions from occurring later in life.
  25. Nap together ….nothing better than having your best canine friend curled up with you.