August is National Dog Month, and there are still a few weeks left to celebrate with some super fun activities for you and your dog. Check out some of the cool things you can do to enjoy and strengthen your bond with your treasured canine friend.
You’ve surely heard of yoga, but have you ever heard of doga?
Yoga is one of the most beneficial and healthy things you can do for your body and mind so now imagine combining this awesome exercise with your dog.
If you are a yoga practitioner and a dog owner, perhaps your dog has inadvertently joined you for one (or two) of your practices. And perhaps you have been annoyed when they find their way under you when you are trying to perform a plank pose? We urge you to look at your dog’s willing participation differently and to enjoy and be together in a fun and healthy way. Here’s why doga is a wonderful practice for you both.
Time to Bond
Sure, you and your pup surely have a close tie to one another but doing doga together can only enhance your bond. By working together on some challenging poses, your dog will come to trust you even more, therefore strengthening your relationship.
Lots has been written about the health benefits of yoga for humans, and it goes without saying that there are similar health benefits for your canine companion. Overweight dogs can lose weight through regular doga practice. The stretching exercises in yoga help dogs become more flexible. Dogs with health problems like arthritis and hip issues can benefit from the body strengthening of doga.
Lessening of Anxiety
If yours is a nervous, highly anxious dog, doga is bound to help to introduce him to the concept of relaxation. Likewise, hyperactive and dogs with behavioral issues are bound to calm down through regular doga practice.
Fun and Socialization
Face it – yoga is fun, and doga is at least twice as much fun. Do a Google search for doga classes you and your dog can attend together. You can also check on YouTube where there are a number of doga videos.
Dog Friendly Restaurants
Nothing is as enjoyable as bringing your pup with you for a pleasant afternoon brunch or dinner on the terrace of a favorite restaurant. More and more places have become dog-friendly these days, but how do you go about finding them? One of San Diego’s favorite haunts for human and fur-friend is McP’s Irish Pub and Grill. A few other outdoor places that welcome pups include Fred’s Mexican Café, The Landing Grille, and The Patio on Lamont. Best yet is a little coffee nook, Rocky’s Doggie Café that welcomes dogs and donates all proceeds to the SPCA and Humane Society.
You want to make sure you are welcome time and again after your first visit to any dog-friendly place, so here’s what you need to do to prepare your dog for your restaurant visit:
- Good behavior: good behavior starts at home (or in an obedience training class). Make sure your pet responds to basic commands including sit, stay, come, down, and off.
- Potty break: take your dog for a potty break and make sure he does his business before you arrive at the restaurant.
- Well-behaved: make sure he does not jump up on chairs, tables, or people.
- Be prepared: know your dog and be prepared for any unexpected triggers, such as another dog either at the same place or walking by.
To find some of the many other places that welcome dogs, and their humans, of course, use “dog friendly restaurants” as your search term doing a Google search.
Pretty as a Picture
How about a modeling session for your dog with a professional pet photographer? Finding the right photographer and location for the photo shoot is key. There are quite a few pet photographers in the San Diego area who you can find using a basic Google search with the terms “Pet photographers near me.” Yelp has a list of pet photographers in the area along with reviews by customers.
What Should You Look for in a Pet Photographer?
- Does the photographer do both in-studio and on-location shoots?
- Ask to check the photographer’s portfolio: most will have photos online.
- Does the photographer have a background dealing with pet behavior and body language?
- Does the photographer appear calm and patient in demeanor?
- Does the photographer ask you details about your pet and his personality, motivations, and behaviors?
- Would the photographer be willing to take photos with your pet on leash and then remove the leash during the editing process?
- Is the photographer willing to spend time with you to answer your questions before you book an appointment?
- Will the photographer be willing to travel to an outdoor location of your choice?
- Is the cost of the session reasonable?
- Check with one or two other photographers on price and approach before making a final decision.
The Big Splash: Water Games – what to do and where to go
Another super way to celebrate National Dog Month is to make a big splash with your pup in the many water resources that abound in our area. The options are limitless so it’s a matter of preference, safety, and the skill of your pet.
Water games can range from a small backyard kiddie pool to beaching it at one of our many, pet-friendly beaches, including:
- Coronado Dog Beach
- Del Mar Dog Beach
- Ocean Beach Dog Beach
- Fiesta Island
Many dogs love a fast game of catch while splashing along in the waves which is also a great bonding experience for the two of you.
Regular swimming pools can be a source of fun for you and your dog as long as you never leave your pup alone and you equip him with a canine life jacket. If your dog has never swum before, it’s time for a doggy-paddle lesson in the shallow end. With you also in the water, toss one of his favorite toys a few feet away from you to encourage him to swim to it.
Pool chemicals are harmful, so make sure he doesn’t decide to take a sip of pool water.
On the Lake
Our area boasts 20 freshwater lakes that are a reasonable drive away from San Diego. Closer to the city are 5 magnificent lakes, including:
- Lake Murray
- Sweetwater Reservoir
- Lake Jennings
- Dixon Lake
- Lake Cuyamaca
Check the guidelines for each lake to ensure that dogs are permitted.
If you’re tired of outdoor activities, consider a trick day! Of course, there are the simpler tricks such as sit, stay, come, shake, off, and kiss. But up a notch you can work on spin, roll over, speak, stand, drop it, and crawl. Whenever you are teaching your dog a new behavior, have plenty of treats on hand.