#1 - Go for walks
If dogs could speak, going for walks would probably be their number one activity. Dogs love walks and love going for walk with their human.
I live on a fairly large property with 3 dogs. if I do not take them for a walk they just sit and lay around.
Walks are a great way to observe your dog body language, how he interacts with his environment and get to know him better.
- Is he shy when you meet other dogs?
- Is he forth coming and may be even aggressive?
- Is he inquisitive or just walking beside you acting bored or disengaged? May be something is hurting?
Observing your dog regularly will help you notice change in his behavior, gate or personality. Dogs do not always react to pain the way we do.
Walking is a low key exercise accessible by anyone dogs or people regarding of age and fitness.
#2 - Play more
Dogs are one of the few adults animal that play into adulthood and senior years. Most dogs love playing. The play might change with the breed, the age or the fitness of the dog. It does not have to be something rowdy all the time.
Timba my Sherman Shepherd is crazy about balls, while Tara, Rottweiler cross is crazy about sticks. Bear on the other hand prefer a calmer game of hide and seek.
Play can happen outside or inside. As long as it is fun for both of you.
#3- Learn New Things Together
Learning new tricks or sports is a great way to keep your dog engaged emotionally and physically. For some dogs it might be agility or fly ball while other will prefer an inside play such as learning how to balance a cookie on their nose or wrap himself in a blanket.
#4 - Take Your Dog with You
Whenever you can take your dog with you. Always remember they are pack animals and more than anything love being with you. Dogs love car rides, going to the stores and running errands, meeting new people and feeling they are a part of the family routine. It will keep them stimulated and be part of training.
You do not need the in depth assistance dog training to have your dog laying by your feet while you do your banking or mailing a parcel at the post office.
You might be surprise at how many stores keep cookies behind the till and welcome dogs in the store.
#5 - Relax together
A good book or a good movie by the fire with your dog at your feet is a great way to spend some quiet relaxing time together. No words need to be spoken.
#6 - Massage
Massage is not only for people anymore. Massage is a great way to bond together. Help your dog relax if he is high strong, soothe stiff muscles and joints. Same with human, massage will boost the immune system and bring more oxygen in the body. The result is a healthier more relaxed and happier dog
#7 - At home grooming
Beside the obvious health check, brushing your dog is very calming and soothing for both. It is a great way to also check out the body for bumps or unusually feel under the fur or skin or inside the hear.
Bathing should not be needed more than a few times a year. Few dogs like to have their nails clipped. If you are uncertain it is best to check in with a groomer. You do not want to hurt your dog and turn the grooming session into a bad memories.
Bottom line, there are plenty of opportunity to spend some quality time together. Of course training is also a time of bonding and connection. Training should be short, fun and always followed by a play time session.