Staycation garden fun
Hands up who’s having the summer holiday they expected. If you’re anything like us, the usual holiday plans have gone out of the window.
So long, long-haul trips. Hello, air bridges. And as for getting travel insurance at the moment, well, that’s a whole other game.
All things considered, we’re happy to embrace the home staycation.
Having a holiday at home
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, there are definitely worse places to be this summer. Especially once you’ve added an inflatable pool complete with ride-on lobster / unicorn and a tipi for that at-home festival vibe.
But how about your dog? What are the best ways to keep your pooch entertained during this summer’s staycation? Here are six of our top tips.
1.Splash-tastic fun in the pool
Paddling pools aren’t just great for kids; they’re perfect for your four-pawed friends too. In a pool, they can exercise, keep cool and be happily distracted for ages. Try filling the pool with plastic balls for double the fun or using a floating fetch toy.
Make safety a top priority by always supervising your dog in the pool (this is especially important for puppies), and making sure they’re not out of their depth and can get out easily. Also, ice cold water could give your pup a shock on a hot day, so tepid water is best.
2.Fling a frisbee
Time flies when you play frisbee with your dog. Meanwhile, your pup gets the chance to develop their aerial acrobatic skills. If you get good enough, you could even enter a Disc Dog competition where the two of you compete in events such as distance catching and freestyle catching.
Next, which kind of frisbee to choose? A cheap plastic frisbee isn’t going to be kind to your dog’s teeth and a hard plastic disc might cause problems if you accidentally fly it into a window or your greenhouse. We like the Kong range of rubber flyers which, as they say, make for a more ‘forgiving catch’.
One last thing. Don’t throw your frisbee too high or make your pup jump up at awkward angles, or they could end up harming themselves.
If you’d like an activity where you can sit comfortably in a sun lounger with the drink of your choice while your dog burns off some energy, bubbles are your friend.
Simply choose some dog-safe bubbles, then get dipping and blowing. These bubbles can come with a fun, dog-friendly scent like peanut butter - we like the look of these Pet Touch Scented Dog Bubbles.
This is an activity that’s made for Instagram, although you might need to recruit a passing child to snap some pictures for you while you’re busy blowing bubbles.
4.Teach your dog some tricks
If your dog’s best garden tricks involve digging up your newly-planted bulbs or chasing next door’s cat, why not take this time to teach them some tricks that will make both of you happy?
Check out our recent health guide on new tricks, which covers teaching your dog how to:
- High five
- Jump through a hoop
- Fetch their lead
- Roll over
- Cover up with a blanket
5.Set up an agility course
An agility course is an excellent way to entertain your pup over the summer. What’s more, by training together, you’ll make your hound / human bond even closer. Have a look at our guide on how to make a dog agility course in the garden for some great ideas.
Just by using bits and pieces you already have around the house and garden, including cardboard boxes and laundry baskets, you can make:
- An obstacle course
- A doggy ramp
- A tunnel
- Weaving obstacles
6.Score high with doggy football
Dogs love balls, so football should come naturally to our furry friends. However, the challenge here comes in encouraging your pup to move the ball along with their nose, rather than kicking it with a paw (very unlikely) or biting it with their teeth (very likely).
The trick is to train your dog in the rules of the beautiful canine game using a clicker and a pocketful of treats. First, get your dog interested in the ball by rolling it along the ground. Then reward them with a click and a treat whenever they move it with their nose. Once they get the hang of it, you could even set up some miniature goals.
Rubber footballs are most likely to stand up to the rough and tumble of the game.
If you don’t have a garden, most of these activities would work equally well in your local park. (Apart from the paddling pool, of course. You’ll probably already have your hands full without dragging along several gallons of water too.)