Participating in hobbies and activities can have a wide variety of benefits for both you and your four-legged best friend. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran dog owner, a newbie with a cuddly new pup, or a dog sitter simply watching over a neighbor’s dog for a few days . . . there are plenty of things you can do together with your furry friend.
The Benefits of Pursuing Hobbies with Your Dog
Getting active with your canine by your side can open you up to a world of different benefits. For instance:
- Many hobbies involve physical activity. This can naturally help both you and your dog maintain your physical health.
- When a hobby involves commands and obedience, it can be good practice for both of you and can serve to keep up your doggy discipline.
- Knowing that your pup depends on you to benefit from a hobby is a great way to help you, yourself, maintain a commitment to a healthy hobby-focused habit.
- Hobbies are already well-known for aiding in maintaining mental health. When you add in the fact that dogs help you fight back against negativity, participating in a hobby with a dog can do wonders for your mental health and wellness.
While there are many benefits that come with participating in a hobby with your dog, often it’s the simple act of choosing one that can hold up the process.
Finding the Right Hobby For You and Your Dog
The first thing you’re going to want to do when considering a human/canine appropriate activity is to consider your own personal preferences. Do you and your dog like to be active? Where do you share similar interests (e.g. you like to run, go swimming, bask in the sunshine, or be lazy). What differences do you have (e.g. your pup likes social interaction and you don’t or vice versa).
Once you’ve considered the unique interests and proclivities of both your dog and yourself, it’s time to choose a hobby. Below are a few suggestions. These can be taken verbatim, tailored to your situation, or used as a launching point to brainstorm your own unique activity with your pooch.
Everyone is told to walk their dog. Those who are avid athletes will even run with their dog. But if you want to turn your ambulatory excursions into a hobby-level adventure, you may want to try hiking with your dog.
Hiking provides a slew of different benefits, including exercise, mental peace, decreased stress, and a change of scenery — for both you and your dog. You can hit up local trails or even plan for longer trips to more famous hiking locations.
When you hear “volunteering” it may invoke images of serving in a soup kitchen or helping with a charity auction, both of which are not necessarily dog-friendly venues. However, there are many ways that you can volunteer both your and your dog’s time.
For instance, if your dog is well behaved, you can spend time visiting the elderly, many of whom struggle with social isolation — more than one in four seniors live alone — and love visits from friends and animals alike. You can also participate in fundraising events like a 5k race or a picnic with your canine companion right there by your side.
Another hobby that has become incredibly accessible in recent years is photography. While your dog can’t literally start snapping pictures with you, it’s easy to select natural, outdoor locations where you can bring your dog along with you for a photo shoot.
While photography can feel like an overwhelming hobby to take up, the basics are actually quite straightforward. It’s also the kind of hobby that you can easily participate in, whether you’re a beginner on a smartphone or a professional with Nikon D850 hanging from your neck.
If you’re older or even if you and your dog simply prefer to take life at a slower pace, you don’t necessarily have to take on an 8-hour hiking trail or learn an entirely new skill from scratch in order to get into a hobby.
Metal detecting is a great way to get up and stay active without the need to commit to a high-intensity or high-impact activity. It still provides benefits aplenty, such as easing stress, stimulating the mind, and giving you an excuse to stretch your legs on a regular basis.
Picking a Dog-Friendly Hobby
Just because you’re a happy dog owner doesn’t mean you have to forfeit the right to pursue a hobby as well. There are many different activities that can be immensely fulfilling for both you and your dog, especially if you take the time to engage in them together.
So pick a hobby — either from the list above or something else you’ve thought of — and then start finding room in your schedule to accommodate your new activity. Both you and your dog won’t regret it.