Pet ownership is wonderful for your happiness and health. Getting active with your pet can help you form a strong bond, too. Most dog breeds love to take long walks but the possibilities don’t have to end there. There are plenty of opportunities beyond a stroll in the park if you want to improve your relationship with your dog.

Let’s look at some of the different ways you can safely exercise and bond with your pooch, and how doing so can also benefit you as an owner. 

Activity Ideas

Walking the dog, playing fetch, and visiting a dog park are considered staples of life for many pet owners. During the summertime, spending time at a lake and swimming with your dog is also a great option to get outdoors. You may also be lucky enough to have a pet-friendly pool in your area. If you are participating in water sports with your dog, it is important to practice water and pool safety. Never leave your dog unsupervised near water and provide fresh water so they can stay hydrated. You should also always rinse off your pet after they get out of the water, so any contaminants or chlorine can be removed from their fur. 

Outdoor Adventures 

Owning a dog can help you get outside and reconnect with nature. This can have a profound impact on your day-to-day happiness and help you bond with your pet. You might also be inspired by some of the adventure dogs that have been popping up all over the web as they accompany their owners while they climb, mountaineer, and paddle.

It is always important to start slow when introducing your dog to new activities. For example, you can start with a smaller hike, or spend one night in a tent in a car camping ground before you take on a larger backpacking trip. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and the limitations of their bodies too. Not every pooch will want to go paddle boarding with you. They might also be too small to carry heavy equipment or walk extra long distances. 

If you are going to be traveling with your dog, it’s also important to take the appropriate precautions. You want to travel safely with your dog in the car by restraining them using an appropriate harness or seatbelt modifier or placing them in a crate. You can also add rubber mats, which can help prevent your pet from losing their footing while you drive, and seat covers to keep dirt and mud off of your car’s upholstery. And never leave your dog in the car if it is warm outside. 

If you are going to engage in more adventurous activities with your dog, you may also want a way to track their location. FitBark’s GPS trackers can give you peace of mind by allowing you to find your dog if they get off the leash if you are in an unfamiliar area, or if you want to know what they are up to in the backyard. FitBark’s technology also allows you to monitor your dog’s vital stats and health and wellness.  

Games and Puzzles

But what if your dog is looking for something a little more stimulating than just basic exercise, or isn’t up to climbing a mountain? There are ways to increase your bond with your dog while increasing their mental sharpness.

A good place to start is to pay attention to the characteristics of the breed. For example, working dogs need plenty of stimulation and will be prone to boredom if you do not give them challenging games to play. Examples of highly stimulating games for working dogs include:

  • Agility courses
  • Indoor food puzzle hunts
  • The name game (e.g. asking them to “find the tennis ball!”)
  • Put toys away (yes, they really will put their toys back if you train them to!) 

You can also incorporate an indoor workout into your routine that is specifically designed for dogs. These activities stimulate your canine companions' minds and will provide plenty of fun for you. 

Exercise Benefits You Too

The idea of adopting and raising a puppy is exciting. However, once you’ve had your pet for a few months, you may find that you take less time to bond with your new animal companion. This is a serious misstep, as your pet still relies heavily on your bond while they’re getting used to their new home.

Taking time out with your pet is a great way to destress, have fun, and strengthen your bond with your animal companion. Running around the house with your pooch can help you embrace the benefits of pet ownership, such as:

  • Improving Your Outlook: Getting your heart pumping is a surefire way to improve your mood and help you see the world in a different light.  
  • Stress Relief: Engaging with your pet can be particularly helpful if you are feeling anxious and need to break out of a disruptive thought spiral. 
  • Structure: Like our pets, many humans crave structure. Taking time out of your day to spend with your dog helps you stick with other health-positive actions. 
  • Socialization: A trip to the dog park is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and bond over the shared love of animals. This is particularly powerful if you feel lonely or isolated in your day-to-day life. 

Caring for your pet to strengthen your bond can help you feel happier, too. This can be an important first step towards living a more fulfilling life as a pet owner. Even five minutes of tug-of-war or chase can meaningfully improve the quality of your bond and help you burn off some steam after a long day. 


Active dogs are happy pets. As an owner, you can strengthen your bond and improve your health by engaging in activities that help you unwind with your pet. Start simple and as your understanding progresses, consider planning more elaborate games like agility courses, food hunts, and reward-based games.