Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, so they can get bored easily if they’re not provided with the proper stimulation. That’s why outdoor activities are so important for your pup. Walking, hiking and other outdoor activities will not only provide your pup with exciting new things to look at and to smell, but will also tucker them out. And a tired pup is less likely to display bad behaviors, such as digging and excessive barking.
Here’s my list of 41 fun things to do with your dog outside (including a few you’ve probably never heard of before):
- Sprinkler playtime
- Dog park
- Ball pit
- Take a pet-friendly vacation
- Go on a picnic
- Ride a motorcycle together
- Earthdog competitions
- Barn hunt
- Visit a dog-friendly beach
- Go kayaking
- Visit the mountains
- Stroller Ride
- Go Hiking
- Visit a farmer’s market
- Join a pack walk
- Yappy hour
- Dog parkour
- Visit a brewery or winery
- Go plogging
- Dine al fresco
- Play with a flying disc
- Dock diving
- Attend a pool party
- Go skijoring
- Teach your dog agility
- Attend a breed gathering
- Tracking trials
- Go to a baseball game
- Teach your dog treibball
- Do yard work together
- Attend a charity walk/run
- Dog carting
- Train for a dog rally event
- Teach your dog to pull a sled
- Go geocaching
- Road trip.
I’ve found that spending time outdoors with my dogs has really increased our bond, and we’ve both met many new friends — both humans and canines. We are also healthier. Do these 41 activities sound like a lot of fun? Are you finally ready to convert your dog from a couch pup to a healthy and fine canine? Then check out the information below to see which of these activities would work best for you and your pup.
1. Sprinkler Fun
Do you remember how much fun you had running through a sprinkler when you were a kid? Well, like you, many dogs also enjoy the cooling spray of a sprinkler on a hot summer day.
2. Let Your Canine Romp at a Dog Park
If your fur baby gets along with other canines, a dog park can be a relatively safe setting for it to meet other pups and to also enjoy some off-leash shenanigans.
Being able to run loose at full speed and playing with other dogs is also a sure way to tucker your fur baby out. Just remember to always keep a watchful eye on your dog and to be prepared to remove your pet if it starts to act aggressively or if you notice that another canine is starting to act up.
Dog parks are something you can enjoy with your dog all year long. In Winter, when it way too cold to romp outside in the park, head for a dog park that’s indoors.
Do you have a high-energy dog with a lot of smarts? Then, you may have a future flyball star on your hands.
Flyball is a team relay race, in which dogs jump over hurdles to reach a box where they hit a spring-loaded pad to release a tennis ball. The dog is then supposed to catch the ball and return it to its owner. As the dog crosses the finish line, the next member of his team can start the course. This is an action-packed sport that is suitable for all dogs.
You can read more about Flyball here.
4. Take Your Pup Swimming
Most dogs love to swim.
If you don’t have your own backyard pool, take your pup to a lake. Never allow your canine to swim in stagnant ponds or creeks, as these can contain dangerous bacteria, algae or parasites.
For smaller dogs, you can always fill a kiddie pool full of water.
Your dog should always wear a life vest when it is near deep water.
It’s also a good idea to wash your pet after it has been swimming.
How long should you dog swim for a good workout? Have a read of this blog post.
5. Create a Puppy Ball Pit
Do you own a dog that is not a fan of water? Then instead of filling your kiddie pool with water, fill it with the small colorful plastic balls that are used in kiddie ball pits. Your dog will love leaping in and out of the pit and retrieving the balls that “escape.”
6. Go on Vacation Together
Many hotels, rental homes and campgrounds are now dog friendly, so why not take your pet with you on your next vacation? Your dog will be thrilled to experience new surroundings and to be with you rather than having to spend his “vacation” locked up in a boarding kennel.
7. Enjoy a Picnic with Your Fur Baby
Pack up a lunch, take your fur baby on a hike and enjoy a nice meal in the great outdoors together.
8. Take Fido on a Motorcycle Ride
Just like humans, some dogs love the feeling of being aboard a motorcycle. Fortunately, there are several products on the market that allow a dog to enjoy the wind blowing through its fur. My dog Cody, for instance, rode in a specifically designed pet carrier that strapped on the back of my husband’s motorcycle.
Cody loved to go for long rides and would get very excited when he heard the motorcycle rev up.
I’ve seen other dogs ride in motorcycle sidecars.
Just be aware, though, that some pups find the noise of a motorcycle or the sensation of being on an open-air vehicle scary. So, make sure to introduce the idea slowly to your canine. And if your pup seems uncomfortable, don’t force the issue.
9. Try an Earthdog Competition
Some short-legged dogs, such as Dachshunds, and certain breeds of terriers, such as Welsh and Cairn terriers, have been bred to chase prey underground.
An Earthdog competition encourages this natural behavior. Dogs search through man-made tunnels to locate a rat that is safely caged out of the dog’s reach. Only certain breeds of dogs are allowed to compete in Earthdog trials, so make sure to read the rules before signing your pup up.
10. Go Barn Hunting
A barn hunt competition is similar to Earthdog trials, except that it is open to all breeds, including mixed breed dogs. During barn hunt, dogs search through obstacles, such as hay mazes, to locate a safely caged rat.
11. Visit a Dog-Friendly Beach
Most dogs enjoy splashing through the surf and playing on the sand. Just make sure that a beach is dog-friendly before you take your pup for a romp or you could risk getting a ticket.
Also, it’s important to read and carefully follow the rules as many beaches restrict the times and locations when dogs are permitted.
You should also have your pup wear a life vest as the strength of the ocean’s current could overwhelm your dog.
12. Go Kayaking
My Wire Fox Terrier, Vinnie, absolutely loves gliding on the water. He will wait patiently by our kayak in the hope that someone will take him for a ride. He has even been known to try and climb into other people’s kayaks in hopes of hitchhiking a ride!
If you decide to take your pup on a kayak ride, make sure to try a few practice runs close to shore to ensure that your pup will feel comfortable on the water.
Your dog should also wear a life vest. While out kayaking, it’s fun to stop and explore exposed sandbars and small islands.
13. Head to the Hills
During the hot summer months, many dog owners enjoy taking their pets up to the mountains, where the temperatures can be cooler. A day hiking in the forest and visiting waterfalls can be a heavenly escape for both humans and canines alike.
14. Take Your Dog on a Stroller Ride
Do you have a dog who is elderly or has mobility issues? I did. When my last dog, Cody, was 15, he was diagnosed with cancer. Getting around wasn’t easy for him. Yet, I still wanted him to enjoy the outdoors and going on “walks.” So I purchased a small dog stroller for him. He loved to sit in it and take in the sights as we strolled along the neighborhood bike path.
If you have a larger dog, you might need a wagon or a pet trailer that hitches to the back of your bike.
15. Go Hiking
Whether you’re just exploring the trails in a neighborhood park or heading out into the back country, hiking is a fun activity to share with your furry best friend. Your pup will definitely enjoy the exercise and the change of scenery.
If you have a small dog and would like to try hiking, take a look at these 8 safety tips.
16. Visit a Farmer’s Market
A farmer’s market is full of interesting scents and sights for a pup. Most farmers markets also have at least one or two vendors offering healthy and homemade treats for canines.
If you do visit a farmer’s market, make sure that your dog is well-socialized and won’t be a danger to others or to itself.
17. Join a Pack Walk
Have you been looking for a way to socialize your pet and also get it and you some much-needed exercise? Then consider joining a pack walk. Not sure where to find one? Then check out Meet-up to see if one is available in your area or talk to other pet owners to see if they’re interested in creating such a group.
18. Take Your Dog to a Yappy Hour
Some businesses are now welcoming pups and their owners to their patios to enjoy specially priced drinks and appetizers. Unlike other canine activities that focus solely on pup socialization, yappy hours are a good way for their owners to socialize, too.
19. Dog Parkour
Also known as urban agility, dog parkour is a challenging activity where dogs must crawl through, climb up, jump over and balance on a variety of obstacles. This is a particularly good activity for an athletic, smart and high-energy dog that enjoys to work and please its owner.
A good dog is a tired dog:)
20. Visit a Brewery or Winery
Many wineries and breweries are dog-friendly. So, if you’re searching for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon with your dog, head over to one of these venues so you can enjoy your favorite beverage with your fur baby at your side.
21. Go Plogging
You can be a good neighbor while exercising with your dog when you go plogging. What’s plogging, you’re probably asking? It’s a movement that started in Sweden that combines picking up trash with jogging. The word plogging combines the Swedish phrase “plocka upp” (pick up) and, of course, jogging.
When you plogg with your dog, you’ll be adding some different movements to your running routine, including crouching, bending and stretching, and you’ll also be doing something good for your community.
22. Dine Al Fresco at a Restaurant with Your Pup
Many restaurants with patios will allow a dog to dine with their owners. Some venues will even bring out water and/or treats for your pup.
Always call ahead, though, to ensure that a restaurant does allow dogs.
23. Play with a Flying Disc
Show your dog how to chase and catch flying discs.
Start with short straight throws. Then, as your dog gets better at catching the disc, increase the distance and height of your throws. If your dog shows exceptional talent at catching a disc, you might want to consider entering it into a disc dog competition.
Disc dog is also referred to as frisbee dog.
Disc/Frisbee dog is considered an official canine sport. Fancy teaching your dog how to catch a disc/frisbee? Have a read of this article.
24. Try Dock Diving
Dock diving is a competition where dogs leap into a body of water. The one who jumps the farthest or the highest is the winner. To get a dog to jump off the dock, its owner will throw a ball or a favorite toy for the pup to chase after.
25. Float on a Paddleboard
Although, it might look difficult, many dogs are naturals at standing on a paddleboard. This is a fun way for them to enjoy a day on the water. If you decide to take your pup for a paddleboard ride, make sure to have it wear a life vest – like the pooch below.
26. Go Camping
If dogs could write down their idea of a dream day, it would probably include hiking through beautiful wilderness and a night of snuggling close to their favorite humans. That sounds like camping to us.
Before you head out into the wilderness, though, make sure that your pet is wearing proper identification and that the campground, RV park or cabin where you’ll be staying allows dogs.
Here at Outdoor Dog Fun, we love camping. Here are some useful blog posts to read about camping with your dog:
- Camping with your dog at the beach
- Want to leave your dog in a tent? Think again! Here’s why.
- Dog camping – what to bring with you
- Looking for the Mega Dog Camping guide? We got you covered here.
27. Go Boating
In general, dogs love being on a boat. That is great if you own your own boat.
But if you don’t own a boat, don’t despair.
Some small cruise boats offer special pet-friendly tours. For example, Hornblower Cruises in San Diego offers an annual one-hour cruise called Pet Day on the Bay, and Potomac Cruises in Virginia offers a 45-minute Canine Cruise once a month.
28. Take Your Pup to a Pool Party
At the end of the pool season, many communities will host a dog swimming day before they clean up and close for the season. These wild romp sessions combine the fun of a dog park with the joys of swimming.
Check with your local pool to see if this is an event that they offer.
29. Go Skijoring with Your Dog
Do you have a high-energy dog that loves to run in the snow? Then chances are high that your pup will be good at skijoring.
The word “skijoring” is derived from a Norwegian word that means ski driving. And that’s basically the description of this exciting sport, which combines cross-country skiing with a sled dog — except that there is no sled. Instead, you, the human, become the sled. Of course, the proper equipment is necessary if you plan on skijoring with your canine. Your pup, for example, will need a skijoring harness and you will need a hip belt. You will also need a lead line that will attach the dog’s harness to your belt.
30. Teach Your Dog Agility
In agility, canines race through an obstacle course under the direction of their owners. It is a test not only of a dog’s speed, but also its ability to listen to its owners while off leash.
Some of the obstacles a dog may encounter on an agility course include jumps, teeter totters and weave poles.
31. Attend a Breed Gathering
Large gatherings of one breed of dog have become common lately — think of them as a doggie version of a family reunion.
My 2 dogs, Vinnie and Kuzy, are Welsh Terriers. Welsh terrier owners, for example, have an annual gathering they call the Stink Eye, and there is also a gathering of doodles in Dewey, Delaware that is — surprise — called Doodles in Delaware. During these events, your pup can enjoy mingling with their doppelgangers.
How popular are these events? Well, in 2018, for example, 700 people and 345 doodles attended Doodles in Delaware. Activities included a costume parade and playtime on the beach. That sounds like fun!
32. Tracking Trials
Does your scent hound always have its nose to the ground? Then you might want to encourage your pup to follow its instinct by training it to compete in tracking trials. In this competition, a scent trail is laid down by the event’s organizers, and your dog’s job will be to locate the “missing” person that belongs to that scent.
33. Go to a Baseball Game Together
Some major and minor league teams host games where canines are welcome. Check with your local team to see if such an event is offered. Make sure to read the rules before going, so you won’t be disappointed at the gates. The Pittsburg Pirates, for example, require that you show proof of rabies vaccination before you can enter the stadium with your dog.
To make it more fun, deck out your dog in the jersey of your favorite baseball team,
Treibball — which means “push ball” in German — is the perfect sport for all dogs but is especially suited for herding breeds.
In this sport, a dog uses its head or shoulder to herd a number of large exercise balls (like the ones you can find at the gym) one by one into a soccer net.
It’s an excellent alternative for dogs who don’t have access to a herd of sheep.
Fans of this activity, which originated in Germany, say that it is an easy sport for dogs to learn and also a low-cost one.
Find a local Treibball event in your area by checking out the American Treibball Association.
35. Do Yard Work Together
Have you ever looked up while working on your garden and seen your canine staring at you wistfully through the window.
Next time, invite your fur baby to join you in the garden or tie it outside with you as you rake up the leaves.
For safety reasons, do not have your pup outside when you’re mowing.
36. Walk for a Cause
Participate in a pet-friendly charity walk so that you and your dog can help raise money for a good cause. It’s a fun way to get a little exercise, and your pup will enjoy seeing all of the other dogs at the event.
37. Try Dog Carting
Did you know that dogs were sometimes used to pull carts (and in some areas, they still do)?
If you have a big dog — such as a Bernese Mountain Dog — carting or drafting can be a fun activity to try. But, first, you’ll need the proper equipment or you could injure your pet. For example, you’ll need a harness that has been designed specifically for drafting and a small cart that your dog can easily pull.
38. Teach Your Dog To Rally
A dog rally is a test of your dog’s ability to follow your directions. During a rally event, you and your off-leash pup will negotiate a course side by side. There will be different exercises — such as sit or stay — that your dog must perform on your command during the course.
39. Train Your Dog to Pull a Sled
If you think dogs only pull sleds in Alaska, think again.
There are a number of clubs throughout the United States that you can join to learn more about training your dog to pull a sled. And you don’t even need snow on the ground to train. Dog sledders often use ATVs to train their athletes during the off-season.
This sport is perfect for breeds such as Huskies, Samoyeds and Malamutes that have been bred for many years to perform this activity.
40. Go Geocaching Together
Geocaching is often described as a high-tech treasure hunt because you use global positioning satellite coordinates to locate a box that someone has hidden. The box typically contains a logbook so treasure hunters can record that they’ve found the treasure and, perhaps, a little trinket.
This is a fun sport for owners who enjoy a challenge while exercising with their pup.
To find a box hidden near you, check out www.geocaching.com.
41. Road Trip
A road trip is something a dog of any breed can enjoy doing. This could be the trip of a lifetime on your dog’s bucket list.
You could pack your dog and drive to places where you can a lot of the previous 40 activities I’ve chatted about as fun things to do with your dog outside:
- Take the road to a regional competition for frisbee dog, agility, Treibball, Earthdog trail, tracker trail and the list goes on!
- Drive to a nearby city and do geocaching or urban agility together with your dog
- Take your car and dog to the California Coast and enjoy their dog-friendly beaches
- Hiking, camping and swimming through Montana’s Scenic Route.
- Michigan. Enjoy a picnic with your dog at Sleeping Bear Dunes and then head dog-friendly brewery to quench your human thirst.
- Grand Canyon. What dog would not enjoy that spectacular view?
- How about beach and beer combo? Go toTexas. After you’ve enjoyed the dog-friendly beaches in Galviston, on the Gulf Coast of Texas, head to Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden for a special homemade sausage made for your dog.
- More dog-friendly hiking at camping in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. Then continue west to Vermont to visit Dog Mountain. Visit the Dog Chapel. Book accommodation at the Paw House Inn.
Do you have a favorite dog road trip? be sure to let us know in the Comments section at the bottom of this blog post.
Related Dog Gear
The following are some of the items you should keep on hand if you’re planning on taking your dog out to enjoy the great outdoors:
- Portable water dish
- Treats (good for training or luring a pet back that is off-leash)
- Dog waste bags
- Life vest (for swimming)
- Identification on your dog
Which of these activities are fun things to do with your dog before they die?
- A vacation. What better gift to give your dog than extended time with you?
- A picnic. If your pup doesn’t have the strength for a long trip, why not plan a nice outdoor picnic that includes its favorite food and special time with his beloved family?
- Road tri[.
Don’t have time to go anywhere? What are the fun things to do at home?
- Sprinkler play
- Chase a flying disc
- Splash in a baby pool
- Ball pit
- Al fresco dining
- Go for a motorcycle ride (if your human is a rider).
What activities could make an elderly dog bucket list?
- Stroller or wagon ride
- Gentle hike
- Slow stroll in a dog park
- Road trip
- Do yard work together – well, let your elderly dog do the supervising and you do all the work!
- Swimming. It is wonderful therapy for an arthritic dog.
- Go to a breed gathering and mingle with the dog retirees.
- Try some al fresco dining with the humans.
Top 10 suggestions for things to do with your dog in the Summer
- Go hiking
- Go to the mountains
- Go boating
- Visit an al fresco restaurant
- Visit a dog-friendly beach
- Teach your dog to dock dive
- Go camping
- Try paddle boarding
Be a Responsible Owner
Unfortunately, an irresponsible owners who doesn’t clean up after their pet or brings an ill-mannered dog to a crowded venue can ruin the fun for everyone. An irresponsible owner can even put his or her own dog’s life at risk. The following are a few rules of thumb (or paw) to follow when enjoying the great outdoors with your bestie:
- Always clean up after your pet.
- Avoid taking your pup to public areas or around a lot of other dogs until approximately 10 to 14 days after its last vaccination booster. Typically, this is around the time your pup is 14 to 16 weeks of age. Before that point, your pup may be susceptible to catching a number of dangerous, sometimes even fatal diseases, such as parvo or distemper.
- Make sure that your dog is properly trained and socialized if you plan on taking them to an outdoor event or venue where a lot of people and/or other canines will be in attendance.
- Ensure that your dog is wearing identification. You never know when a dog might slip out of a harness or a collar might snap. And in the event that should happen, you want to make it easy for you to reconnect with your pet. It’s also a good idea to have your canine microchipped, as well.
- Keep up on your pet’s vaccinations and preventatives. If you’ll be in the great outdoors, your pup should be protected against ticks and mosquito-borne illnesses, such as heartworms. And if you’ll be in an area frequented by a lot of other canines, you should also make sure that your dog is vaccinated against kennel cough, parvo and other contagious diseases.