Being a good pet sitter involves a lot more than just making sure the dog is fed and is let out to do their business. It involves taking proper care of them – spending time with them, grooming, and making sure they get enough exercise. The dog you are watching is probably already stressed out enough without having its owner home and playing with the dog will help them burn off the nervous energy. It will also give you a breather when they lay down for a nap!
Talk with the Dog’s Owner First
Before you engage in any activities with the dog, make sure you talk to the owner and get approval. Keep in mind that some dogs may react unpredictably in certain situations, so be sure to ask the dog’s owner about any activities that are off limits.
Dogs may also have certain health conditions that prevent them from engaging in some activities. For example, a dog with hip issues may be restricted to how much they use the stairs, so playing catch up and down the stairs is probably not a good idea.
With that being said, it’s also a good idea to ask about the activities that the dog enjoys. Doing things the dog likes and is accustomed to will also help them feel more comfortable while their owner is away, especially if the dog is being cared for outside of their home.
The 3 Obvious Go-To Dog Activities
There are three main go-to activities when it comes to getting any dog some exercise:
Taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood is a great way for them to get some exercise. However, depending on the size and type of dog, or where you are located, a walk may not be enough.
Trip to the dog park
This is the ultimate playground for most dogs. Dogs are social creatures, and they love the freedom to run and interact with other dogs. However, if you are sitting an unfamiliar dog, it may not be the best place to take the dog. Perhaps a similar, yet more predictable activity is in order.
Perhaps the favorite activity for dogs is fetch. You use a ball, stick, toy, and virtually anything else that captures the dog’s attention. Plus, you can play catch indoors, in the backyard or at the park – providing you with multiple options, depending on how much time you have and your comfort level with the dog.
5 Great Uncommon Activities for Dogs
Whether you are stuck indoors or are short on time, here are some other less common activities to help wear out your new fuzzy friend.
We all know that dogs love their toys. If you don’t have the time to take the dog out, one of the best ways to tire them out is through some mental stimulation, using puzzle toys. There is no shortage of them on the market today. Most involve the dog trying to figure out how to get food or a treat out of the toy by performing a specific action. It can keep them occupied for hours, plus they’ll be ready for a nap in no time.
Another great item that is similar to puzzle toys are Kongs. They come in sizes for all dogs. One of the popular things to do today is to freeze food in the Kong or put some peanut butter inside it. It will keep your pup busy and happy for hours.
It is amazing how much a little obedience training and related games can tire out a dog. Playing simple obedience games that involve sitting, staying, and following other instructions will challenge them both mentally and physically. It’s a great way for you to practice your training, earn the dog’s respect, and get a better understanding of how they respond to you and your commands.
Hide and treat
Rather than playing hide and seek, why not hide some treats around the house for the dog to find? All you need to do is put the dog in another room, hide the treats, and let them at it. Just make sure you remember where you hid the treats. It’s also a good idea not to hide them in areas where the dog could knock something over or damage things.
A doggy play date
This is a great option if you have a dog yourself or know someone else with a friendly dog. Before setting up the doggy play date, make sure you get the okay from the pet owner, as well as any instructions for meeting new dogs. If you get the okay, it’s a great way for dogs to burn off some energy, interact with another dog, and maybe make a new friend.
Being a good pet sitter is about more than ensuring a dog gets the minimal care they need. It’s about comforting them while their owners are away. What better way to do this than to take their mind off things, let them get some exercise and tucker themselves out? As they say, a tired puppy is a happy puppy, and the above activities will surely tire out almost any dog.
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