Your dog celebrates you constantly. Have a bad day at work? Well, your dog isn’t totally sure what “work” is or where you go when you leave the house, but he’s more than willing to cuddle with you on the couch afterward. Going through a breakup? It’s okay — your dog will be by your side no matter what.
Just as many believe that every day should be Mother’s Day (your dog is definitely one of them), every day should be a day to show your dog how much he means to you. Here are seven easy ways to be the best dog mom ever:
Take an Agility Class Together
When you think of classes, you might think of things you can do with a human, like cooking classes or dance lessons. Fortunately, there are plenty of classes that your dog will happily partake in with you, like agility course training.
Even if your dog isn’t ready for the show ring, the two of you will be able to get a quality workout while creating memories. According to Mary Smallwood, a certified professional trainer at Keystone Dog Training in Pennsylvania, you can also use what your learn in your agility class to develop and reinforce key skills at home. She suggests focusing on recall games, nose work games, focus games and tricks.
Dr. Kathryn Psutka of Irondequoit Animal Hospital suggests treating your pet with some simple, healthy snacks he will love.
“Something as simple as thin slices of sweet potatoes baked until they are a little crisp are tasty and healthy treats,” she says. “You can also freeze low-sodium chicken broth or plain, nonfat yogurt with fruits, veggies, or peanut butter in an ice cube tray. If you enjoy baking, there are many options for making your own dog-safe cookies at home.”
Consider renting a paddle or sail boat and hit the open water with your pup. He’ll love the fresh air, and boating is a fun way to bond in the great outdoors. If you live near the water, take advantage of your easy access to it, and if not, the experience is definitely worth a short road trip.
Learn more about how to safely take your dog boating.
Cook Dinner for Two
dog food definitely exists for a reason — it’s the best way for your best buddy to get all of the vitamins and minerals he needs. But, some human food on occasion can be a nice treat.
“Things like carrots, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potato, apples, or bananas are safe for them to eat,” Psutka says. “Small pieces of plain meat with no fat or seasonings are okay in moderation.”
Consider cooking a dish you both can enjoy, then spice yours up after you’ve served your pup his portion.
Take a Dog-Friendly Vacation
The world is definitely opening up to our four-legged friends, and there are plenty of places that’ll have no problem welcoming your dog. For example, more and more “barkeries” are opening up throughout the country. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like — a bakery for your dog. Why not tour a few of them and see which treats your dog prefers?
Visit a New Dog Park
You might have one dog park that you’re loyal to, but there are so many out there that offer a variety of different activities and smells for your pup. If you’re willing to travel, there are a few parks that are notorious for being a great place to play. One example? Pilgrim Bark Park in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which has both large and small dog areas and is located on idyllic Cape Cod. And then there’s Millie Bush Dog Park in Houston, Texas, which is 13 sprawling acres in size.
Dog parks are a fun way for dog-friendly pups to make new friends, and who knows? Maybe your dog will connect with a pup whose owner you can plan doggie playdates with.
“Dogs are pack animals, so I think socialization through play dates, doggie day care, or dog parks is very beneficial to their well being,” Psutka says.
Enroll in a Dance Class
“While they can’t tell us, I do think dogs like music,” Psutka says. And while dancing to a catchy beat with your dog may sound a little silly, many dog owners find it to be a truly a rewarding experience. Canine freestyle mixes obedience training with dancing, and will help you and your dog connect in a brand new way.
Karen Belz is a writer from Pennsylvania, born and raised in New Jersey. She also writes for sites like HelloGiggles, Bustle and Previously.TV.