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40 Ways to Spend Time With Your Dog

We get busier while they retain the same level of free time.

It’s a trend that does not bode well for dogs. The modern canine – far removed from his survival-focused ancestors – has found a new threat in boredom. As dog owners become increasingly busy with other aspects of their lives, their pets’ levels of enrichment and stimulation tend to suffer.

For many Americans, busyness has grown to near-epidemic proportions. We work longer hours, have more responsibilities outside the office and sleep less than ever before. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that nearly 50 percent of Americans say they regularly lie awake at night because of stress and are more stressed now than they were five years ago.

Yet, despite our collective reduction in leisure time, our propensity to own pets has not lessened. We still crave the companionship offered by Labradors and hounds…we simply have less time to devote to fostering a strong relationship with those pets.

While dog daycare and other modern pet services can help ensure your dog receives proper exercise and interaction during your absence, these options are simply no substitute for quality owner-dog time. Your dog yearns for your attention, and it’s up to you to create time for him, even if doing so requires creativity and adaptability.

Here are 40 ways to spend time with your dog.

At Home:

1. Play fetch in the backyard.
2. Cuddle up to watch a movie.
3. Jump in a pile of leaves.
4. Sit by a window watching the world go by.
5. Run through a sprinkler.
6. Play hide-and-seek in the basement.
7. Sleep in together on the weekend.
8. Turn broom sweeping into a game.
9. Dance together to your favorite song.
10. Create a backyard obstacle course.
11. Share a meal together (separate food of course).
12. Offer world-class belly rubs.
13. Take a catnap together on a hammock.
14. Rewrite song lyrics to incorporate your dog.
15. Treat yourselves to your respective favorite snacks.
16. Tell a bedtime story.
17. Romp around in a fresh snowfall.
18. Hold a fashion show.
19. Have a staring contest.
20. Keep each other company while getting work done.

I n the Car:

21. Cruise around together with nowhere in particular to go.22. Visit your favorite ice cream drive-thru.23. Roll down the windows to take in the sights and smells.24. Let your hair/fur blow in the wind.25. Disassociate car rides with trips to the vet.

In the Great Outdoors:

26. Check out your local dog park.
27. Track down a scent together.28. Hike your favorite path.29. Host an outdoor picnic.30. Play frisbee at the park.

Around the Town:

31. Find a pet-friendly restaurant or coffee shop patio.
32. Visit friends – both human and canine.
33. Visit the vet for a regular checkup.
34. Pick out something special at the pet shop.
35. Make a splash at a dog-friendly pool or beach.

On Vacation:

36. Explore your new surroundings together.
37. Stroll down the beach.
38. Safely climb to a scenic overlook.
39. Put on your life vests and take a boat ride.
40. Bring your pole to the nearby fishing hole.