How much outdoor time does your dog need?
Your dog craves time outside. And it shows when he scampers excitedly to the door when you say the magic words.
When we talk about the importance of outdoor time for our pets, exercise so often comes top of mind. After all, open spaces provide the right environment to safely run and get their heart and muscles moving. Keep in mind that spending more time outside also engages your dog’s senses and mind. In many ways, outside is the perfect place to help dogs connect to their authentic doggy selves. That’s where outdoor enrichment comes in.
To inspire you, check out these physically and mentally stimulating outdoor activities you can do with your pet.
Work in the hikes: Penciling in an extra-long walk every week is the easiest way to show more of the world to your dog. You and your dog will benefit from the extra exercise, but he’ll also enjoy the many sensations the world offers: new and exciting scents on the path and in the air, the sensation of the sun and wind, distant sounds to detect and analyze. To make it easier, compile a list of lakes, nature paths and dog-friendly urban spaces to explore together.
Transform your backyard into an enriching space: Focus your dog’s energy on play and a variety of stimuli while he’s hanging out in the backyard. Rotate his toys to keep him from getting bored. Provide a wading pool and a sandbox for splashing and digging. To mix things up, treat him to a homemade jerky puzzle. Simply hide a jerky treat in a folded-up paper towel tube or a taped-up cereal box, and he’ll do the rest, as he happily shreds it open.
Plan doggy play dates: Dogs are pack animals, thanks to their wolf ancestry. When your dog is well socialized from puppyhood to play and interact with other dogs, you’ll delight in the canine body language on display, from the inviting play bow to the indignant “shake off.” Use social media tools to find like-minded pet parents you can meet up with for a backyard rendezvous with your furry friends.
Build a DIY agility course: With agility training, there’s no need to pressure yourself to get your dog into competition shape, where he runs and leaps at top speed and with laser-sharp accuracy. Teaching your dog to run (or trot) through weave poles, or leap over a broom handle, is a shared activity that stimulates your pet while also honing your canine communication skills. Here’s how to build a DIY agility course.
Go out on a sniffari: A sniffari with your dog can be enriching for your pet, while being meditative for you. Instead of you taking the lead, you take a step back and allow your furry friend to follow his nose where to go next. Your job is to hang on to his lead and keep your pet from wandering into trouble and onto other people’s property. Who knows? His powerful sniffer and sensitive ears may lead you to something new. A dog-led sniffari is a unique way to get on your canine’s wavelength and experience his perspective.
Acknowledging and celebrating the things that come naturally to dogs goes to the core of providing a long, happy and healthy life for your best friend. That’s the philosophy behind NutriSource’s Element Series. This advanced diet provides the high-quality animal protein your dog craves, with the top nutrition his body needs. Learn more at NutriSourcePetFoods.com.