At Lafayette Veterinary Care Center we’ve become masters at play time. Through the approach of letting dogs tell us how they like to play, we’ve learned many new games. Match this with the adventurous spirit of our animal and nature loving team and turns out, we’re a hot spot of fun for people and pets! Here’s our top list of activities guaranteed to help you ‘spring’ back from winter!
Hide & Seek- This can be as thrilling for your dog as it was for you as a young kid. Start by hiding & calling your dog until they find you. Be ready with a toy or treat to reward them. For variety, and during learning, you can also call dogs back and forth between family members and reward each interval. Once you master the game you can take it outside!
Get Some Steps in Together- Studies prove that exercising with your dog drastically improves weight-loss efforts! Dogs are reliable motivators for our physical activity and guess what…they love it and benefit just as much! Whether you head out around the neighborhood, find a trail or walk down-town, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re together and enjoying your time.
Enjoy Nature Together- Head out for a nature walk and see where your dog’s nose leads you! Sniffing and exploring is calming yet stimulating for dogs and Acadiana is plush with beautiful parks, walking spaces and trails that the whole family can enjoy.
Agility- Don’t be intimidated by pros you see on TV. Set up your own agility course at home. The internet is full of ideas at all price points- all which deliver a ton of fun for you and your dog! Try starting with a weave pol stand and tunnel- you can even make an obstacle course from things around your home or yard. Create and enjoy!
Learn Together- Engaging in new challenges is healthy for all. Make it fun by teaching them new tricks and rewarding them along the way. Need help? Involve a dog trainer for ideas or consider a class. Lafayette Veterinary Care Center offers several training options.
Plan Some Play Dates- Although dog parks aren’t for every dog, playing with other dogs can be thrilling for socialized dogs. Consider trying out Doggie Daycare at The Playground first so that our pack leaders can guide your dog through group play and give you feedback on their play style. After you know your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, consider meeting up with your friends and their dogs for play dates. Wherever you arrange play, know that the dynamics of play between dogs are physically exhausting and mentally stimulating- both which are very enriching for a dog.
Play in the Water- Swimming spots like the lake or pool can add a twist to tried and true activities like fetch and chase. Kiddie pools, sprinklers and hoses are great ways to incorporate water play home and keep them cool as the weather warms up. Even physically limited or older dogs can benefit from water exercise and play that keeps them cool and is easier on their joints. If swimming in water that’s too deep for your dog to stand, it’s important to use a life jacket.
Dig This!- Some dogs love to dig! Redirect them from your flowerbed to a sandbox or kiddie pool with dirt or sand and reward them with praise and treats when they dig their own space. Make a game of it by hiding goodies they can dig up!
Try a Scavenger Hunt- Use a command like “find it” and toss pieces of their dog food or treats out in front of your dog. As they catch on, the treats can be scattered out further and even hidden under objects to make a game of it.
Take them on a Date- Sociable canines benefit from shared experiences with you. Search out pet-friendly locations, like outdoor dining spots and pet-friendly shops, where your dog can join you. Need new inspiration- try BringFido.com https://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/city/lafayette_la_us/
Go for a Stroll- Physically limited dogs still enjoy the life outdoors and new sights, smells and even other pets. In fact, this stimulation can add years to their life and promote healing. Invest in some wheels like a wagon or stroller and take them on a stroll.
Sniff Out Some Fun- Nose work as an activity is becoming more popular. It can be both sport and leisure activity as dogs can exercise their natural tracking ability to search out scents they are trained on. Most search-and-rescue groups rely on volunteers to help them in times of need so they allow guests to train along with the team.
It’s important to remember that dogs who do the same activities day after day can become bored or under stimulated and without an outlet, that energy may come out in undesirable ways around your home and yard. Play is necessary and is often where the best memories are made. No matter what you do, be sure it’s enjoyable and natural for you and your pet.