Explore With Your Pooch: Four Alternatives To The Dog Park

While going to the local dog run may be a fine idea for owners of dogs who are both tolerant and social, it may not be an option for all dog owners. Some people have dogs who don’t do well in a run environment while others may feel uncomfortable going to the local dog run due to the few irresponsible owners who bring inappropriate dogs or fail to watch their charges. Whatever their reason, there are many dog owners that would rather stay out of the dog run and need alternative ways to meet their pet’s mental and physical exercise requirements.

If you need a break from hitting the dog run day after day, you can always give one of these four alternatives a try!

  1. Go for long sniff walks.

    A sniff walk allows the dog to walk at their own pace and move from scent to scent instead of only being allowed to sniff something interesting for a minute or two and then being forced to move along. Applied animal behaviorist Patricia McConnell noted in a blog that dogs primarily explore the world by using their sense of smell. One option can be to go to a local park where you know off-leash dogs and their owners don’t congregate so that you can let your pooch sniff their surroundings to their heart’s content. A sniff walk will help burn off some mental energy plus it’ll help keep your dog in shape.

  2. Have a play date.

    If your friends’ dogs get along fabulously with your own pet, why not have a play date? If one of you has a fenced-in yard, a large living room, or a couple of long lines (and a few skills) you can have a get-together. For dog owners who are crafty and want to really give their pets a workout during the play date, you can look up instructions on how to make your own agility equipment using PVC pipe and take turns using it. However, if you and your friends don’t have access to a large living room or backyard, you can still take long walks together around your neighborhood and your local parks.

  3. Go bike riding with your dog.

    If you can find a quiet path where you know you won’t encounter any off-leash dogs, another option is to take your pet with you when you decide to take the bike out for a spin. It would be a great way for both you and your dog to get some physical exercise. Once your pet is better at trotting alongside you, a more advanced option would be to look into bikejoring and slowly easing into that sport.

  4. Invest in food puzzle toys and learn to make your own.

    This option is perfect for owners of older dogs or owners who live in the city and don’t have easy access to a park. While you can certainly purchase fancy food puzzle toys on Amazon, you can also make your own if you are pretty thrifty. One thing you can do is to grab a cardboard box, put some of your dog’s toys in it and then hide a few treats inside so that they really have to hunt for them. Another good idea is to put a treat or two inside an old muffin tin and cover it with either tennis balls or plastic cups so that your pooch will be forced to use their nose.

Regardless of which option you chose, all four will help to strengthen the bond between you and your pet as well as provide a great outlet for your dog.

About the Author:

Amanda Ferris is an accomplished writer who has written for sites such as TheThings, IndieReader, Fashion&Style, and New York Family. For the past five years, she has volunteered for Bay Ridge, Brooklyn’s very own Love Wanted Pet Adoptions. She currently owns a laid-back 12-year old Bichon Frise named Esme, and a 3-year-old fearful mystery mutt named Zoe whose noise phobia and anxiety sparked her foray into the world of positive reinforcement dog training.

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