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Welcome to the wonderful world of fur parenthood. Your life may be filled with a lot more doody bags – and you may very well lose a favorite shoe at some point – but all those snuggles and tail wags will be more than worth it. With your recent adoption, you’ve probably already covered the basics: food and water bowls, a cute collar, a cozy dog bed, and leash. Now it’s time to think about ways you can promote bonding with your new pup. Of course, these activities and suggestions work well for long-time pet owners, too!
Run a Dog-Friendly Race
What better way to both get your heart rate up and bond with Daisy than run a pup-approved race? There are numerous dog-friendly running events that you can sign up for, ranging from one-mile walks to slow-paced jogs to full-on 5Ks. The goal of these races is to help keep your dog fit, and they serve the double purpose of helping you bond both while training and on the day of the event!
Enroll in Training
New dog owners will want to do some basic at-home training, including housebreaking and creating good behavior patterns with other people and when you’re away from home. You can go one step further, though, by enrolling you and Spot into a dog training program. For dogs that are 10 weeks or younger, opt for a “puppy kindergarten,” which involves you, a trainer, and your dog learning basic commands (e.g. sit, lay, stay), as well as other foundational skills that facilitate good habits and healthy bonding. Training is also an option for older dogs, and it’s never too late to sign up! Or, if your dog is already well trained, consider enrolling in advanced training as a way to bond further improve behavior. Whatever the case, you may be surprised at how much you’ll learn, too!
Hit the Beach
If splashing around the shoreline on a hot summer day sounds like fun to you, Fido will definitely approve, as well. Play Frisbee in the sand, walk along the edge of the water, navigate through a river on a canoe for two, or dive into the cold water! There are also dog-friendly water activities you can sign up for, including doggy swim lessons and (easy) upright paddle boarding or surfing.
If your pup’s tail goes crazy over the phrase, “Wanna go for a ride?” then a mini road trip may very well be the perfect bonding activity! Keep the car ride relatively short, bring water and food, and make sure you prep your car with a towel or two to protect the upholstery. Some road trip destinations include a drive to a dog park, a friend’s house, or even a pet store. If the trip is on the longer side, make sure you stop often for stretching and bathroom breaks.
Cuddle it Up
Studies have shown that simply petting your dog can make you happier via the release of “feel good hormones” serotonin and oxytocin, so a full-on cuddle session is sure to make you feel really good! Turns out, it’s a good thing for Lucy, too! Cuddling, petting, and grooming decreases your pup’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone. That snuggle action also helps builds trust between you and your pup, so cuddle up often.
Take a Hike
Grab the leash and venture into the great outdoors! Whether it’s a moderate jaunt up a local foothill, a tree-canopied walk through the woods, or a stroll through a pet-friendly state park, your dog will love spending time with you exploring new terrain. Keep safety in mind and make sure to bring a leash, lots of H20 for both of you, poop bags, and a snack or meal for a mid-hike treat!