Canine friends can play a wide variety of roles in a person’s life. They can be the food allergen detector, the stress reliever, the security officer, the travel companion and even the wingman. However, it’s a fact that they won’t be around forever. This is why you should treasure every moment you have with them—and what better way to do so than by ticking off a dog bucket list, right?
There are a lot of great dog bucket list activities that you can do with your pooch and here are just a few for inspiration.
1. Eat a Gourmet Meal
I have eaten many incredible meals at memorable restaurants in my lifetime, but finding a restaurant that serves gourmet meals for dogs can be a challenge. Sometimes, it would be better off to prepare the food yourself, which should be fairly easy to do. There are several delicious recipes on the web that can be easy to make like peanut butter cookies and chicken jerky.
2. Learn a New Trick
Depending on how long you’ve been training him, your pup likely already knows how to play fetch and roll over. Those are just the most basic of tricks that you could teach him though. There is also the army crawl, the salute, and the handstand which can leave other owners impressed once your doggy has mastered them.
3. Play Frisbee
If your dog already knows how to fetch a stick or a ball, it can be easy to advance a level with a Frisbee. Though Fido might have some difficulty with catching a flying disc at first, you have to be patient. Remember to talk to a vet first though to ensure that your pup is physically suited for this active dog bucket list sport. You wouldn’t want him to end up with an injury, after all.
Buy > Dog Frisbees on Amazon
4. Stand Up Paddle Board
I recently learned to paddle board in the Channel Islands of California. But, if you haven’t already noticed, a stand-up paddleboard just happens to fit one person and his dog(s). Honestly, this should be a good enough reason to teach your pet to SUP. To this end, you will need to rent or buy a board and train Fido to stay on the board while you’re on the water.
5. Have a Social Media Fanpage
You’ve probably heard of Boo the Pomeranian who has over 17 million fans on Facebook. Just like him, your pooch can become a social media superstar too! Start by taking lots of fun photos of your furry pal and post them on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Or possibly even start a travel blog for your dog, but make sure you don’t make the beginning blogging mistakes I did! Take note to update the page on a regular basis and if there’s a high cuteness factor you should see the list of followers grow.
6. Watch the Puppy Bowl
As tempting as it might be to switch the channel to watch your favorite American football teams going at each other, Super Bowl Sunday is the best time for you to binge-watch the Puppy Bowl with your pooch. Not only will you see puppies, but also other cute animal “tweeters” and “commentators”. You never know, you might find that squealing at fluffy furballs is a more enjoyable annual activity than screaming at sweaty athletes.
7. Go to a Dog Park
It can be a whole lot of fun to get your furry friend to socialize with other pets at a dog park. However, you need to have established a calm-assertive leadership over him by then. With this, along with remaining vigilant, you can rest assured that your dog will not become a fight magnet.
8. Get a Doggy Massage
You’re not the only one who can benefit from a trip to the spa every once in a while; your canine friend can too! Many owners believe that a doggy massage can help to provide strengthened immunity, increased circulation, stress relief and improved digestion in their pets. You may not be able to get him a Thai massage like the one I had in Chiang Mai, but definitely something more gentle will be available for your deserving best friend. So, schedule an appointment with your nearest animal massage parlor today to give your pup a well-deserved break after a hard day at the park.
9. Swim in the Ocean
Last time I swam in the ocean when was I was learning to surf in Costa Rica and there were plenty of swimming pooches around having a blast. If Buddy doesn’t already know how to swim, now is the best time for you to teach him. To make the training process easier and safer, make the necessary preparations such as providing clean water to drink, bringing a flotation vest, and establishing rest areas with a lot of shade. Start in a shallow part of the water then just coax him in farther with a toy or a treat. Using a positive tone of voice and giving lots of verbal praise can go a long way too.
10. Hike a National Park
Even when I hiked the active Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala there were plenty of horses and a couple of dogs along the trail. Generally, pets are permitted in National Parks but they typically have to be crated or restrained on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length. There are several reasons behind this NPS policy but the main point is to protect your dog along with park resources. To avoid any mishaps, remember to maintain proper trail etiquette including observing the rules for the right-of-way.
11. Attend the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
There is no better way to show off your amazing canine friend than by having him join this prestigious dog show. Apparently, cuteness won’t cut it in the big leagues though so you have to focus on improving other aspects such as cosmetic features and structure. This gives you all the more reason to drop by the animal spa every now and then, doesn’t it?
12. Ride in a Convertible
Just like you, your pup loves to feel the wind in his hair when cruising down the highways. The usual coupe or pickup is boring and confining though, so go on a drive on a convertible instead. Accessorize with cool sunglasses as you bask in the sun and you will feel like celebrities who have all the time in the world.
13. Have a Doggy Birthday Party
You should be able to lookup your pooch’s birthday on his pedigree. If your dog doesn’t have one, you can pick a date that’s convenient to you, so he can check off this goal on his dog bucket list. It would be wise to send out your invitations and book the cake early so you won’t end up going crazy over last-minute arrangements.
Read > Puppy-Themed Party Ideas
14. Visit a Nursing Home
There’s no denying the fact that playing with dogs can be therapeutic, especially to those who live in nursing homes. This is because friendly canines can encourage residents to leave the confines of their room and to recover faster from surgery or a stroke. Watching the older generation having fun with your pet is always worth the effort of driving to your nearest care home.
15. Be the Star in a Dog Calendar
Lots of organizations make calendars where owners can proudly display their pooches. The requirements for getting your pet in on the action can vary from place to place. Some clubs make it a contest to find suitable cover dogs while others are willing to print submissions. With companies like Shutterfly it’s also possible to create your own calendar with your favorite photos.
16. Walk on the Beach
With the summer season well under way, there’s no excuse not to schedule a day out frolicking on the sand. There are plenty of dog-friendly beaches around the US that you could visit, including the Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area in New Jersey and the Brohard Paw Park in Florida. Just make sure that you keep a look out for dangerous items and be mindful of sun protection so you’ll truly have a fun experience.
17. Play in the Sprinklers
Owning a lawn can do more than just boost the curb appeal of your home. It also gives you plenty of opportunities to frolic with the furballs, particularly when you have a sprinkler system installed. Take note though that some doggies find it more interesting to chew, bite or dig your sprinklers so you might want to buy a few sprinkler toys to protect your hoses and spouts.
Read > Top 10 Water Toys for Pups
18. Go on a Picnic
Some days you just want to relax rather than chase after Fido. The problem is that it’s highly unlikely that your pet will want to stay still for a long period of time. A picnic is the best way for you to meet in the middle. As he romps around in the grass, you can chow on some cake and roll on the blanket.
19. Take a Boat Ride
Now that you’re done swimming in the ocean, you’ll want to drop by a lake too for a ride on a boat. But you have to realize that not all dogs may enjoy the experience. What you need to do is get him acclimated to the boat before the trip to minimize his distress about not having his feet planted on solid ground.
20. Do Doga (Dog Yoga)
Now that you’ve ticked massages off the dog bucket list, you should also give doga a go. Though you may not be able to find a doggy yoga retreat and hot Bikram yoga is out of the question, doga is not limited to just doing a variety of poses together. It may also include eye-gazing to enhance the human-canine bond. Overall, it’s an experience that can help both of you to relax.
21. Go Camping
Want to embark on an camping or glamping adventure in the wild but don’t want to leave Spot behind? No problem—just bring him along! That is, if he is trained well enough to handle the activity. If he barks a lot or tends to snatch food from other people, you will want to rethink your camping plans.
22. Have a Doggie Play Date
If you’ve noticed that your pup seems to want playmates of his own species, you can find him one by setting up play dates with other people’s pooches. This shouldn’t be a problem when you know a few pet owners in your area, but if you don’t you can search for one in dog parks or at doggy daycares. Should you decide to meet outside of those places, do it in neutral territory as you don’t want to end up having to break up any fights.
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