Walks are great, but there are a few reasons why we might be looking for more to do with our SideKicks.
First, this is Wisconsin and there are only a few months (if that) of great, actually-want-to-get-outside weather a year; so, it makes sense to take advantage of it in as many ways as we can and enjoy our time outside!
Second, walks around the block are usually not enough exercise for your SideKick. Even if they're getting a couple walks a day, I often hear from my clients that their SideKicks are bouncing off the walls still or the walks haven't put a dent in their energy levels. Exercise is important for keeping your SideKick in shape and for giving them a "job" (directing their energy for good and preventing behavior issues born from boredom).
Finally, walks can get...well, a little boring - to us and to our SideKicks. Imagine if you went to the gym and only ever ran on the treadmill; even if you chose a different treadmill each time, you'd still get bored after a time and it would be pretty difficult to get excited about going back the gym. Adding variety to the exercise you and your SideKick get keeps it fun and something you both look forward to!
Below is a list of options for getting out in the beautiful weather, getting much-needed physical exercise, and getting active with your SideKick this Summer season:
Blow bubbles for your SideKick to chase in the yard (or at the park)
Take your SideKick swimming at a local doggie beach or you can set up a kiddie pool for them to romp around in right in your yard! Toss a few dog toys or treats in there to chase or fetch for some extra sprinkles on top.
Go rollerblading/skating with your SideKick; of course, ensure that this is something your SideKick is comfortable with
Go for a run! Also known as Canicross, this is an easy, go-anywhere, do-anytime activity you can do with your SideKick; there are clubs you can join or you can take hit the pavement solo!
Take up cycling together! Whether you use a leash or you use an attachment for your bike, again, ensure that it's something your SideKick is comfortable with and start with small rides so you can both get acclimated to the new activity.
If you've got a SideKick that likes to dig, build a sandbox for them to explore in! It can be as simple as a small kiddie pool filled with sand and toys.
Go camping with your SideKick; there are lots of dog-friendly campsites around the state of WI and camping often includes a variety of other activities on this list - hiking, running, swimming, etc.!
Go hiking! There may not be a lot of elevation in Wisconsin, but we've got a state with a diverse geography to explore with trails all over the state!
Get started with some simple, backyard agility; you don't need much to get started in your own yard or at the park - a bar to jump over, a platform to target, a hula hoop to jump through, an inexpensive tunnel (depending on the size of your SideKick, a cat tunnel may even suffice!) and you've got yourself an amateur agility setup!
Learn how to play frisbee together!
Play a game of tug in the yard or at the park!
Set up a sprinkler in the yard or let your SideKick chase the garden hose (assuming, of course, that your SideKick is a fan of water or will not be frightened of this idea).
Check out a local dog park! If a dog park is a good fit for your SideKick (I wrote a post a while back to help you determine that), Milwaukee County has several dog parks to explore! A couple of my favorites have trails to discover and explore!
Play human sports with your dog like soccer or volleyball with a balloon, beach ball, exercise ball, or the real thing.
Learn and sign up for other dog sports with your SideKick: treiball, flyball racing, retrieving, dock jumping, the list goes on - there are so many cool things for you to do with your SideKick!
Walks are great, but...there's so much more you can do with your SideKick that is fun for both of you!