29 Things to Do With Your Dog for Contentment During Unsettling Times
If you’re a dog lover like me, you’re probably searching for fun things to do with your dog 24/7. However, during uneasy times, spending quality time with our dogs is not just fun, but also reassuring and relaxing.
In an effort to do our part during these unprecedented times, our family is hunkering down at home with Chloe (our Goldendoodle dog) and Bear (the Labrador we puppy sit) snuggled next to us.
What to do when you’re at home
In some sort of odd nesting habit, I’ve found myself cleaning bathrooms, making sure the laundry is done, and, of course, stocking the pantry and medicine cabinets.
However, there is only so much home readiness and family preparedness I can do before it’s time for a dog-loving break with my furry bestie. That’s why I jotted down the following list of things to do with my dog that brings happiness and contentment.
If you’re searching for things to do with your dog, I hope the list below inspires you. I’ve included things that are little indulgences, activities that are relaxing, some new dog-loving experiences, and some new dog-centric things to learn.
With 29 things to do with your dog on the list, I hope that you find a few that are just right for you and your doggo. Most of all, I hope that by hanging out with your dog, you both find contentment.
29 things to do with your dog for contentment
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1. Plan a special spa night with your dog.
Fluffy towels. Relaxing music. A favorite beverage for you. A bowl of water for your furry friend. Choose all your favorite comforts of home and treat yourself and your dog to a dog-friendly version of a spa night.
2. Improve your pet parenting skills by reading a positive dog training book.
Our veterinarian recommended to it us when we were introducing a new puppy to our pack. What makes this training book my favorite? For me, there are two reasons:
- Zak George is 100% focused on positive training
- He has coordinating YouTube videos (free) that demonstrate key points in each chapter.
3. Practice online yoga with your dog.
Chloe enjoys lying beside me on my yoga mat (or staring at me) while I do online yoga. My favorite online yoga program is Yoga With Adriene. She has a calming spirit. Plus, sometimes her dog pops in during her workout. Bonus!
4. Let your dog choose your outfit.
Have you tried this? Let your dog choose your outfit! If you’re debating on what to wear in the morning, go ahead and choose two options. Then show both of them to your dog and get your furry pal’s opinion.
The outfit that your dog sniffs first is your clothing decision for the day! Of course, it doesn’t have to be an outfit. You could let your dog choose your sweatshirt, your jammies, or a sweater. You get the idea.
Remember, give plenty of praise to your dog for a job well done.
5. Enjoy a day of “this or that” with your dog.
This is an amped-up version of #4. Let your dog make the decisions for you all day long (within reason and safety, of course). For each activity, present two options and ask your dog “this one or that one.” Let your dog choose by sniffing. The item your dog sniffs first, is the activity of choice.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Playtime: Show your dog a ball in one hand and a leash in the other.
- Dressing: Show your dog your jammies in one hand and your favorite hoodie in the other.
- Snack time: Show your dog a favorite treat in one hand and a bit of kibble in the other.
- Bandanas: Show your dog one color bandana in one hand and another color bandana in the other.
6. Brush up on brushing your dog’s teeth.
If you’ve been thinking about learning to brush your dog’s teeth, now is the time. You can start by committing five minutes now to reading my article on how to brush your dog’s teeth. Then plan to gradually introduce your dog to daily brushing. Not only is it a healthy habit, but it’s also another fun way to bond with your dog.
7. Birdwatch in your backyard with your dog.
Communing with nature, much like hanging with your dog, is good for the soul. If you have a backyard, grab your binoculars and do some bird watching with your dog. Another version of this, (and one that Chloe especially loves) is squirrel watching!
8. Get inspired by planning your next dog-friendly vacation.
Dog-friendly camping. Going to dog-friendly restaurants. Walking along dog-friendly beaches. It’s fun to imagine all the possibilities! Why not start a bucket list of vacations and places to take your dog.
When these unsettling times are over, it will be time to celebrate with a dog-friendly vacation or adventure.
If you’re looking for small-town charm combined with outdoor adventures, you might want to check out my post on pet-friendly Eureka Springs. Nested in the hills of Arkansas, it’s on Architectural Digest’s list of 50 most beautiful small towns in the country. Start dreaming of your next pet-friendly getaway with your dog by your side.
9. Enroll in an online course to teach your dog new tricks.
Have you always wanted to teach your dog some new tricks? Did you know that there are online courses in dog tricks that you and your dog can learn together?
I did a quick Google search and found an abundance of courses to choose from. While I can’t recommend one yet, I thought you might be interested. When I do find one that I love, I’ll share the news. If you’ve already taken an online dog trick course, I’d love to hear!
10. Brush or groom your dog.
I love brushing Chloe. Not only is it a necessity to keep her coat tangle-free and healthy, but it’s also a great way to bond with her. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to make brushing part of your dog’s nightly routine. Also, if you have a Goldendoodle, check out my article on brushing and learn which brush I recommend for Goldendoodle grooming.
11. Go bananas over dog bandanas.
Number 11 on my list of things to do with your dog is bandana-mania! After your dog’s groomed or brushed, why not make your four-legged friend’s day feel a little more special with a favorite dog bandana, hat, or bow tie. Chloe and Little Bear love wearing bandanas because it’s their cue that they’re going on an adventure or having their picture taken.
12. Create a playlist of dog-themed or dog-friendly music.
What music does your dog seem to enjoy the most? Classical? Reggae? Jazz? Listen to a variety of music with your dog and then create a playlist that you both enjoy.
Before you get started, you might be interested to know that a study from Colorado State University found that classical music helped shelter dogs relax.
Additionally, according to a study by Dr. Deborah Wells in Queens College in Belfast, “dogs spent more time resting when exposed to classical (music) and more time barking when exposed to heavy metal.”
Also, if you’re up for a challenge, how many dog-themed songs can you add to your playlist? (Surely, there has to be more than “Who Let the Dogs Out.”)
13. Plan a movie night with your dog.
After your dog’s had some mental or physical stimulation, why not settle in and watch a dog-themed movie together? Eight Below is based on a true story and one of our favorite movies featuring amazing canines.
14. Watch your favorite dog events like the Westminster dog show, dock diving, or other sports shows with dogs as the stars.
Does your dog like watching other dogs on the TV screen? Are you interested in learning about dock diving or dog agility? Now is a great time to catch up on dog shows you may have recorded or wanted to watch on YouTube.
15. Learn how to clip your dog’s toenails at home.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that I would include educational things to do with your dog. This is it! I took an online tutorial on dog nail trimming and learned how to trim my dog’s toenails.
Now I trim both Chloe’s nails and Little Bear’s nails. You can master nail trims, too. To learn more, check out my article on how I learned how to trim my dog’s dark nails.
16. Make some Kong treats to have at the ready.
Make up a batch of Kong treats using Kong toys and peanut butter. (Important note! Check the label and make sure your peanut butter does not include xylitol, a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs.)
I keep peanut butter-filled Kong toys in the freezer for Chloe. They make a great distraction for her while I’m trimming her toenails too! (Always check with your vet to make sure you’re giving your dog foods that are safe for your dog’s nutritional needs.)
17. Read a good book aloud to your dog.
Your dog loves the sound of your voice! Rather than reading a book silently to yourself, why not read it aloud to your dog while your dog snuggles beside you.
18. Take your dog for a walk.
If you’re in an area where you can go for walks and it is safe to do so, take your dog for a walk. If you always take the same route, try switching it up and going the opposite way.
19. Practice basic commands.
Does your dog know basic commands? Why not give your dog a chance to shine by brushing up on basic skills. Chloe loves a chance to practice her favorite commands like come, sit, stay, and shake. Plus, it’s another way to bond with her while giving her mental stimulation, too. Remember to give plenty of verbal praise and maybe a special dog treat.
20. Facetime with your parents, grandparents, and siblings.
If family members love your dog like family, why not Facetime them and show them your dog’s cute mug! They’ll be glad to see your face and your dog’s too.
21. Learn how to give your dog an ear massage.
You’re probably already gently rubbing your dog’s ears, but did you know that there is a technique to it? Pet MD’s article, 4 Simple Dog Massage Therapy Techniques, explains how.
22. Create a social media fan page for your dog.
Does your dog have a TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook account? If not, it’s a fun way to be part of a community of fellow dog lovers. Here are our Happy-Go-Doodle social media accounts where we share happiness and dog-loving adventures:
- Twitter: @happy_go_doodle
- Instagram: @happygodoodle
- Facebook: @happygodoodle
- Pinterest: @happy_go_doodle
Please stop by, say hello, and follow along with us on all of our social media accounts.
23. Skip putting your dog’s kibble in a dog bowl and let your dog “find it” instead.
If you usually give your dog kibble in a dog bowl, why not switch things up and let your dog “hunt” for his next meal? Place your dog’s kibble in small bowls around your kitchen floor and let them find it. (Note: Always watch your dog so that they don’t eat something that’s not safe.)
24. Play indoor games.
When you play with your dog, you’re showing them your love in a language that they understand. Indoor games like hide and seek will give your dog mental stimulation.
25. Play outdoor games.
If your dog enjoys getting outside, grab a ball and play fetch! If you have two dogs, we’ve found that tug of war is a great way for them to play together. (The Kong Wubba Comet toy in the photo below is their absolute favorite!)
26. Give your dog a puzzle.
Stop by Amazon.com and order a dog puzzle game for your dog. Chloe loves her food puzzle ball that dispenses treats. Not only is it a fun thing to do, but it also keeps her mind stimulated too.
27. Take a selfie each day.
My 27th thing to do with your dog is a twist on an old adage. If “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” a selfie a day with your dog will surely bring a smile! Take a moment and take a selfie with your furry bestie.
28. Get pet prepped by keeping an extra supply of your dog’s food and medications
As part of my preparedness plans for difficult times, I have purchased extra dog food for Chloe and made sure we have an adequate supply of her preventative medicines.
29. End the day with a snuggle.
Whether your dog is a lap sitter who loves to snuggle or your dog prefers to have a little space but still be by your side, just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company is a great activity.
Our dogs give us so much to be grateful for through all of life’s moments. Even during unsettling times, spending time together with our canine companions brings immeasurable amounts of happiness and love.
What are your favorite things to do with your dog?
We’d love to hear. Please share your ideas in the comments.