3 Date Ideas for You and Your Dog
Megan Lewis, VSA-CDT
Your dog will always love you! Share a love-filled day with your dog with one of these date ideas. Or try all three! No one is stopping you.
1. (Sniff) Walk in the Woods
Whether you call it a sniff walk, a decompression walk, or a dog-led walk-- the goal is the same! Take your dog out and just let them be a dog. You can do this either with your dog off leash or on a long-line (30+ ft is best) and back clip harness. It's best to get out into nature a little bit, in an area where your dog can sniff and explore safely. Wooded areas, large fields, and beaches are the best for sniff walks! Any dog friendly hiking trail will work as well. Let your dog set the pace and direction as much as possible. Remember to be safe and take into account any other people, dogs, or animals in your area.
If you don't have access to an open natural area that allows dogs, you can still do a sniff walk in your neighborhood! Using a 15ft leash and a back clip harness, go on an urban sniffari. Let your dog and their nose lead you, and you may discover hidden "green" spots you never knew were nearby!
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence among trainers and dog owners as to the benefits of sniff walks, both for dog and human. Many people with reactive or anxious dogs have found calming benefits in these types of walks, and have actually seen a reduction in stress-induced behavior in their dogs. At Mod Dog, we personally find sniff walks to be a relaxing way to bond with our dogs. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!
2. Dinner Date
While we don't suggest sharing your dinner with your dog, as many oils and spices are not safe for dogs, you can create a special dinner for them to enjoy alongside you! Try out this stuffed Kong toy (or use any stuffable rubber toy) this Valentine's Day. This recipe is specifically designed to make cleaning your Kong toy easy!
3. Cardboard Party
Way more fun and cheaper than a cocktail party! If your dog loves to chew and rip things, they'll love you for this one. Gather up any extra cardboard boxes you have around the house and throw a cardboard party! Let your dog rip and tear and shred as much as they want while you supervise. You can even get in on the fun and help your dog by holding boxes and cardboard pieces while they tear at them.
If your dog isn't excited by cardboard alone, try building a food puzzle out of it! Use boxes, cardboard tubes, packing paper (brown ink-free paper only), and egg cartons. Sprinkle bits of dry dog food or treats throughout these items, rolling and packing them together into the box. Let your dog have at it! The food will entice them to rip and shred their way to find it.
Make sure to monitor your dog at all times during this activity and ensure they do not swallow any cardboard pieces. If your dog tends to consume paper products, this may not be the activity for them.
Happy Valentine's Day from the Mod Dog Team! We hope you have a love-filled day with your dog.