Does your dog need a hobby? Would your dog simply enjoy trying something new?
There are so many great hobbies you can do with your dog no matter your level of activity. There is truly something for everyone. The list I share here is by no means exhaustive but I hope it sparks your imagination. Don’t agonize over what is the best hobby for your dog either. Simply pick one that seems interesting, give it a try and, if it’s not quite right for you, try another.
Last week I shared some of the basic manners I like all my client dogs to know and mentioned I’d follow up this week with some fun hobbies to try.
In addition to the regular activities we love to do with our dogs like walking, playing fetch, etc., there are some fun and interesting hobbies that you can do together. When choosing a hobby to try, take into consideration your personality and interests as well as your dog’s so that you learn something you can both do and enjoy. Your dog’s size, age, breed and general athleticism will impact your choices as well but there is something for everyone. There are hobbies you and your dog can do just the two of you as well as group/team activities. You can take up a hobby just for fun or commit fully and compete for prizes and bragging rights. Above all, focus on having fun with your dog!
Here are just a few of the dog hobbies you can try:
Nose Work/Scent Work
This activity is much like it sounds. Your dog learns to detect certain scents apart from others and can be done for fun and competition. You can start at home by hiding some treats around to see if your dog likes searching them out. Scent work was developed to bring the concept of detection-dog style training to pet dogs. You can find out more about scent work at the National Association of Canine Scent Work and search for groups in your area.
Paddleboarding has become a popular past time for humans and now the dogs are getting into the action. Tori Mistick, one of my all-time favorite dog moms to follow gave it a try with her dogs this summer. Read about her experiences on this blogpost.
Dog Dancing/Musical Freestyle
This is synchronized dancing with your dog and looks SO fun to me. I tried it with Jake some years ago and he absolutely hated it! That’s Jake for you. However, your dog may love it. You can learn more and watch some truly adorable videos at the American Kennel Club. This is another one you can try at home on your own to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog.
Treibball is a great hobby for herding dogs which gives them an outlet for their herding instinct along with a great way to expend their energy. Treibball simulates sheep herding for dogs with large balls (similar to large beach balls) taking the place of the sheep. The American Treibball Association has a comprehensive website on this sport.
Another water related hobby for all the mer-dogs is dock jumping in which dogs take a running start to jump off a dock into water to see how far they can jump. This can be done for fun or competition like most of the hobbies on this list. The American Kennel Club’s Diving Dogs page is a great place to start for more information on this sport. If your dog is a good swimmer and just loves diving into a body of water, this could be the perfect outlet for all that doggy energy.
Canicross (a combination of canine and cross country) is a hobby you and your dog can do together as a duo or in groups and is appropriate for all activity levels. If you want to try out the sport to see if you like it you can get started using your dog’s regular collar/harness and leash. If you want to go further in canicross there are special harnesses for the dog. More details and the history of the sport can be found on the Canicross USA website.
See what I mean about there being something for everyone! The above hobby ideas will get you started down the road of the perfect activity (or multiple activities) for you and your dog. There are also more low-key hobbies like camping, RV road trips and hiking which you can do solo or on a trip to an out of state competition.
If you participate in a hobby not listed here, please share it in the comments!