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Six alternative ways to keep your dog healthy and active

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Want to keep your dog happy, healthy and stimulated but think they need more than a walk? We've got lots of ideas on activities to keep your dog's body and mind active

french-bulldog-obstacle-course

Dogs really are Man’s Best Friend - there are approximately 8.5 million residing in the UK alone. However, canines come with a lot of energy that must be released; it is estimated that adults take their dogs on 1.51 billion walks a year in outdoor areas. But what if you want to change it up? What if ‘walkies’ isn’t cutting it anymore? 

Here are some pawsitively great alternative activities that you can do with your dog this summer which should not be sniffed at!

Strike a pose at dog yoga

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Considered by some to be a transitory fashion trend, dog yoga or ‘Doga’ has certainly piqued the interest of many dog-owners in the UK. With dedicated studios popping up throughout the country and with certified dog yoga instructors available to hire, there is no better time to hop on the bandwagon. 

But what exactly is dog yoga?

Broadly, it is a way to bond pet and owner by encouraging movement, stretching and meditation. It is thought to be a great way to form more positive connections, and while the movements will differ between classes, the benefits remain the same. Amongst other things, dog yoga can help reduce stress and encourage better behaviour as well as being a great way to mix with other dogs. 

Whether you’re a yoga connoisseur or a newbie looking to bond with your pet, you should find out if there is a dog yoga studio near you!

Get a latte at a dog cafe

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Not to be confused with a petting cafe, a dog cafe provides a space where you can bring your own dog, allow it to mix with others of the same breed and feed your dog from specially designed doggy menus. You might even make some friends in the process, too!

These pop up events are held throughout the country for a variety of breeds. Pug Cafe organise events for both pgs and dachshunds across the country. They told us: “Pug Café transforms regular cafés and coffee houses into cafés for pugs for the day. This is the paw-fect opportunity to treat your pampered pooch to a unique café experience. Share a slice of cake, a coffee and a puguccino and make plenty of curly tailed friends!”

Visit a dog playground

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Image:woodsilver via Pixabay

Don’t have any large park areas nearby? Or maybe you’re sick of the same old routine? There are numerous dog playgrounds and activity centres up and down the country where your pup can have an adventure and mix with other dogs at the same time. Many of them also offer kennels for an overnight stay, as well as grooming facilities and behavioural training exercises. Popular centres include Hull’s Dogs Playpark and The Dognasium in Swansea. 

Alternatively, if the nearest centre is far away, why not create your own agility course in your garden?

Go to a specially designed dog event

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Image: Katrina S via Pixabay

If you want to really treat your dog, research into touring dog events that may be coming to your area. These can differ depending on the purpose of the event, from special grooming and pamper days to agility courses and more. 

One of the shows providing a fun space for dogs of all shapes and sizes is the All About Dogs Show, which offer everything from My Dogs Got Talent to Aqua Sports throughout their activity weekends. With shows scheduled throughout the UK, this tour lets you bring your dog along for free with an adult ticket, and you’re even able to enter it into some of the just-for-fun competitions that are held during the event.

This is perfect for the whole family – with even an option for weekend camping options on some of the sites. There is even an option to meet rescue dogs which are looking for their forever home!

Go on an organised dog walk

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Image: Sangudo via Flickr

Okay, so this is technically a walk, but it's a walk with a difference. Over 1,000 dachshunds took to the streets of London for an organised charity walk - including our Admiral Pet Insurance Ambassador, Monty! The good news is that this not an isolated event, with organised dog walks taking place all over the country throughout the year.

Hearing Dogs For Deaf People are just one of the charities doing some of this amazing work, organising the Great British Dog Walk. Search on their website for countryside walks near to you, or see if any charities in your area are doing similar things. 

Join a doggy daycare scheme

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Daycare isn’t just a place you take your dog when you’re going away – it can be fun for the owner, too! Many places over the country hold activity weekends where you can relax and have fun with your dog by learning training skills, meet other dog owners and bond with your pet. Barking Mad Weekend in Shropshire is just one of them. They told us: “Typical breaks include scenic dog walks, obedience training, flyball, agility, hoopers and fun games. 

"Over the past 10 years, we have met literally hundreds of wonderful dogs and made lots of new friends from all over the country and from all walks of life.  

"Most people come on their own with their dog and discover new skills and enjoy an opportunity to bond with their dog - it is all about the dogs. We even run a ‘borrow a dog’ scheme for ‘would-be’ dog owners.”

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