Expert Author Kay Ringelstetter

One of the best things about being a dog owner is the ability to enjoy some outdoor fun with your friend. Your canine pal will always be more than happy to share in the excitement of the outdoors with you, no matter what you choose to do. They will never complain and always be the finest companion. So think big and plan some new adventures.


1) Play fetch with your dog. You can do this in your backyard or in your local dog park. A good old-fashioned game of fetch is fun. Dogs are born with the instinct to hunt and retrieve and they look forward to returning to their happy owner again and again. Fetch will give your dog his needed exercise, will help strengthen the bond between you and will get him in the habit of happily returning to you. There are many fetching toys available, but a simple tennis ball will be sufficient.


2) Swimming is great exercise for both of you. While not all dogs are natural swimmers, most will learn to enjoy it. Enjoying the water during the summer months will cool off your pet while they also are immersed in the physical activity of this low-impact sport. Swimming won't stress the joints, yet it works many muscles at the same time. Take a few buoyant fetch toys along to toss for your canine pal to retrieve and return to you.


3) Take your dog camping with you. Camping is a wonderful way to experience the outdoors and your dog will be a willing and ready companion. If you choose to camp near a lake or stream, your dog can play in the water while you relax nearby with a good book.


4) Dog parks, including dog agility trails are both real boons for the urban dweller. Dog parks will allow your pet to romp and play off-leash with other dogs and with you, their owner. The best parks are filled with well-socialized dogs and owners, are large enough to allow unlimited running and are strongly fenced. More and more parks are now offering agility trails, designed to give your pet a fun and challenging workout. Your pet will enjoy obstacle courses consisting of ramps, hurdles, balancing bridges and many other obstacles which they must navigate through and around. This is becoming a growing new sport for your active pet.


5) Go for a hike. This is not just your leisurely stroll down the street, but an extended hike through new and exciting territory. This could involve a trip to a local state park or simply exploring a back country rood or open or wooded area nearby. If you live near the ocean, an excursion to the beach will be an experience you will both treasure. The new views and different terrain will be welcome changes for both of you. Please be aware of the prevention needed for Canine Lyme Disease and also remember to bring water for your dog and for yourself on your hike.


6) Consider biking, rollerblading or jogging with your well-trained pet. If your dog has been trained to stay by your side with no yanking or pulling, you will be able to bike, roller-blade or jog with your friend by your side. You may want to consider protective doggie shoes for their sensitive pads. Certainly remember to bring additional water, too.


Outdoor exercise is critical to your dog's health, but there is no reason why it must be boring. Try a few of the fun outdoor activities noted above and enjoy the bonding, the fresh air, the mental stimulation and the fun exercise with your dog.

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