By Karen Cornish
Do you have a mental list of things you’d like to do in your lifetime? What about your pet?
What about your pet? Some dog owners are creating lists of activities for their pets to enjoy and have interesting experiences in their lives. Since dogs live shorter lives, cherish every moment with your furry companion.
Not all dogs like adventures, and only you know what your pet will enjoy. There is no universal dog bucket list that applies to all dogs. Make sure that anything you add to your pet's list is for their benefit, not yours. Be honest with yourself about the experiences they are likely to enjoy.
Here are some activity ideas for your pet's bucket list to help you get started.
1) Stay at a pet-friendly hotel
The UK has numerous pet-friendly hotels where you can easily find one that fits your budget. Additionally, you can find a hotel in your preferred location. Some hotels allow dogs for an additional charge. Others go above and beyond by offering dog beds, treats, toys, and even special menus for dogs.
Consider planning a weekend trip for you and your pet. Choose a new destination to explore together. Spend quality time bonding during the trip.
2) Have a meal in a fancy dog-friendly restaurant
In the UK, places that sell or serve food and drink permit dogs. Places where the food is prepared and stored, will most likely not allow dogs around.
Some of the UK’s top restaurants welcome dogs so you can experience fine dining with your pet by your side. Many of these restaurants have designated pet menus too, so your dog can have a special meal of their own.
3) Go camping
Dogs love the great outdoors and how better to immerse yourself in it than with a camping trip? If you want to sleep outside or in a vehicle, you must find a campsite that meets your requirements.
Many UK campsites allow dogs, but it's important to check for any restrictions and available facilities beforehand.
If your dog hasn't camped before, it's a good idea to set up your tent in your garden. This way, they can check it out before your trip. Remember to bring everything your pet needs for a trip, like a cozy bed for cold nights.
4) Have a go at a doggie sport
Try out a canine sport suited to your breed of dog, harnessing their natural skills and instincts. Active dogs can enjoy agility or flyball. Dogs that like swimming might prefer dock diving or retrieving from water.
Tracking is ideal for dogs that enjoy following scents. Lure coursing is a preferred activity for dogs that have a strong prey drive.
Try canicross - running with your dog attached to you via a waist belt and elastic line. It's a great way to burn energy together. It’s a great way to keep fit!
5) Wild swimming
If you have a water-loving hound, they are likely to enjoy swimming in a river or lake. Swimming is excellent exercise and a great way too cool off on a hot day. Always supervise your dog and consider using a long waterproof lead to keep them from straying too far. A dog life jacket is a good idea to protect your dog in water from hidden currents.
Before you let your dog dive into the water, be aware of any safety restrictions or wildlife conservation in the area. Never let your dog go into a lake or river if you can see blue green algae on the surface. It is a dangerous bacterium found in slow-moving water that cause serious illness to your dog.
6) Hike up a mountain
Want a physical challenge? Try climbing a high peak in the UK with your dog. Certain dog breeds are more suitable for hill climbing. Check if your dog is physically capable before attempting a climb.
Bring water, snacks, a map, phone, and first aid kit when hiking. If you're alone with your dog, tell someone your planned route.
7) Family photoshoot
You may have lots of pictures of your pet, but not many of you with your pet. Book a family photoshoot with a photographer that specialises in pets. They will know how to take great pictures of your dog. A family photo will be a special memory of your time together.
8) Take your dog to work with you
Some offices allow dogs on Take Your Dog to Work Day in June, but not all workplaces are suitable for them. If your boss allows you to bring your dog to work, prepare them by teaching them basic skills.
If your boss lets you bring your dog to work, teach them basic skills beforehand. Make sure to bring everything they need to be comfortable and entertained while you work. Additionally, remember to take them outside for bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Dogs Trust helps employers learn about the advantages and things to think about when allowing dogs at work.
9) Enter a fun dog show
In the summer, there are village fairs and local events with dog shows. They have categories like prettiest bitch, handsomest dog, best rescue, waggiest tail, and best trick. If your pet likes attention, they'll enjoy being in the show ring. They might even win a rosette or two!
10) Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme
This scheme organised by the Kennel Club is non-competitive, and focuses instead on personal achievement. All dogs can join. The goal is to teach dog owners to be responsible and to train their pets for everyday situations.
There are four award levels; Puppy Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The foundation level teaches basic training, whereas the advanced Gold level teaches more difficult tasks. These tasks include sending a dog to bed, doing an emergency stop, and doing heelwork without a leash. Find out more at www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dog-training/good-citizen-dog-training-scheme
11) Create some pawprint art
This is a chance to get messy with your dog while creating a wonderful keepsake to remember them by. Use safe paint or ink. Ask your dog for their paw and dip it in the paint or ink.
Press their paw onto paper where you want the pawprint. Combine several prints in different colours to create picture or use air-drying clay to make a pawprint impression.
12) Volunteer as a therapy dog
If your dog is friendly and calm around strangers, you can get them evaluated and officially recognized as a therapy dog. PAT dogs and their owners visit hospitals and care homes. They give an opportunity for people who are not typically able to be around animals to interact with them. Visits help to beat loneliness and depression in care home and hospital residents, as well as improving their overall well-being.
Children read to therapy dogs when they visit schools. Reading to dogs can help children better their reading skills, gain confidence, and have better mental health.
Find out more at petsastherapy.org.
13) Try stand-up paddleboarding
If you want to try something adventurous with your dog, try giving stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) a go. Your dog will need a floatation device (life jacket) and you’ll need a suitable board. The best ones for use with a dog are wider and longer, and so are more stable.
To make the experience enjoyable for your dog if they are unsure at first, use rewards and positive reinforcement. Also, ensure that they can swim. Try renting a board from a UK hire company to see if your dog likes it before you buy one.
14) Try yoga with your dog
Introduced to the UK in 2004 from America, Doga, also known as yoga for dogs became a popular activity for both dogs and their owners. It’s fun, can reduce stress and is a great way for dog and owner to bond. People say that Doga improves a dog's relaxation and soothes anxiety, while also helping to develop impulse control.
Find a nearby Doga class or get the book "Doga" by Mahny Djahanguiri to learn more about it. Classes are available nationwide.
15) Take a boat ride
Many canal and river boat hire companies allow people to bring their dogs with them on holiday. Try taking your dog on a quick boat trip before planning a longer vacation to help them get used to it. Day hire companies will often allow dogs too.
Ensure your dog wears a life jacket in case they go overboard, and keep them away from fishing gear and animals.
16) Give your dog a social media presence
Create a dog profile on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Share pictures of your dog doing things they love. You might inspire other pet owners to join in by making their own lists.
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