The idea of having a dog often seems synonymous with having a yard.
But not all of us live in areas where yards are readily available.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your dog is doomed to a life of boredom and sadness. Our dogs just want to spend time with us, so with a little creativity and one-on-one time, they’ll be able to have plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Find a Dog-Friendly Hiking Trail
Rather than a simple walk around the block, up the physical and mental challenge for your dog by taking him on a trail walk. There will be more for him to see and smell, and he’ll get a good workout too. Make sure the trail is dog-friendly—some wilderness trails don’t allow dogs because they can disrupt local wildlife.
Go to a Local Park with Fencing
Many city parks will have fenced fields that can make a great place to throw a ball out for your dog. Be respectful of any policies on using the area with unleashed dogs. Also, give yourself a time limit since other park-goers might want to use the area themselves.
Take Agility Classes
Agility is a fun way to bond with your dog, fine-tune his coordination and training, and even compete. It is a very physical sport, so make sure your dog is in good physical condition. There are many classes available—just find one that suits you and your dog.
Try Nose Work
Dogs love using their nose. You can turn that passion for scent into a sporting activity. The sport of K9 Nose Work combines canine detection skills with fun competition. You can find a class or try working with your dog’s nose at home.
Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Remember that intense look on your dog’s face when you first taught him how to sit, stay, or fetch? The wheels really got working in his head and you could see it in his eyes. Dogs can continue learning throughout their entire lives—and they should. Find new tricks to teach your dog to keep those wheels turning.
Take Your Dog to Work
If you’re lucky enough to work in an office that allows you to bring your dog in, take advantage of the opportunity. Your dog will love all the new sights and sounds of the office, and he’s sure to have a lot of fun stimulation when your co-workers come over for a visit. Take him out for walks on your breaks and lunch break for some added activity.
Living somewhere without a yard doesn’t mean your dog will live in misery. In fact, it can provide you with the opportunity to find new and innovative ways to spend time with your dog while keeping him physically and mentally stimulated.
Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.