A quick walk around the block on a leash isn’t enough physical activity for dogs. Dogtime recommends 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, depending on the type of breed and how active they are.
But what if you don’t live near a dog park for additional play? Make a dog retreat in your backyard complete with an obstacle course and design an inspired resting area. Here are five aspects you need to create a dog-friendly backyard that is fit for a king.
Dogs love playing and resting in the sun, but can get overheated after a day of play. Create a shady retreat in your backyard where human and dog friends can cool off. Position benches, an outdoor chaise or a porch swing attached to a tree to cool off. Make sure to put some of your dogs’ favorite calm down toys and lovies nearby so they can nuzzle and gnaw in the shade.
Place a few bowls of water out and break out the frozen treats to make it a family affair. Sugar-free popsicles or cucumber ice water for the kids and grown-ups and Frosty Paws for the dogs are a good place to start.
Doggy Dining Area
Dogs are loyal companions and want to be where the people are. Situate your outdoor patio furniture in a shady area, or add patio umbrellas to block the sun. Roll out an outdoor island or bar cart to stock with snacks and treats. Get inspired by the W Hotel’s Fido’s Kitchen in Los Angeles where patrons and pooches dine together with an organic dog menu of Apple Crunch cakes and blueberry scones.
Dogs often flee their yards because they’re bored or curious about the greener side of the grass next door. Set up your own agility obstacle course with tunnels, a teeter totter for running and balancing and plenty of things to jump through to keep them occupied. Try tying a tie to a rope and hang it from a tree limb that’s low enough for Fido to soar through. Situate a line of PVC piping to let your dogs weave in and out of the course and show off their skills.
A fence is necessary for dogs and children to play safely in your backyard. But that doesn’t mean you need to let an unattractive wooden or chain fence distract from your dog-friendly retreat. Add green vines or paint a wooden fence with a mural or your favorite dog motif to turn it into a canine-inspired beautification area. Your dogs will feel more at home in their natural retreat and can watch the butterflies and birds playing along the green vines and flowers along your fence.
Dogs love to dig, so give them a place to do it that doesn’t involve your flower beds. Set up a dirt or sand box in a small wooden encasement and let your dogs dig and bury to their heart’s content. A tiny wooden fence or retainer around the box keeps the dirt where it belongs.
Arrange some favorite toys or bones nearby so your dogs can hunt, dig, hide and retrieve. If you discover your dogs are actually using their digging depot as a bathroom spot, create a separate dirt spot alongside it and put a small doghouse around it that makes it easy to hide and clean up later.