Take up a new hobby with your dog in 2023!
Do you fancy trying something new this year? Or have you started a hobby and want to try more of it in 2023?
We've collected together some ideas of great hobbies to take up with your dog, and we'd love to hear your ideas too.
Obviously we all walk our dog every day, but instead of taking the usual route, how about branching out and trying some new places.
Or you may pick some new routes whilst you are on holiday or day-tripping.
The National Trails website is packed with ideas for routes across the UK. You can search by area, distance, difficulty, type e.g. by water, hills, moorland, city and by theme e.g. history, food & drink, wildlife and more.
The Woodland Trust has an amazing list of accessible woods across the UK for you to visit. It also has a super blog full of things to look out for and activities to partake of during your walk.
The All Trails website is another brilliant resource for walk ideas. Again, you can search by area, difficulty and time taken.
You have to create an account to look at the routes, but it's free. Or, you can pay a sub to access extra features.
I must admit, I'm a fair-weather camper, whilst Gareth absolutely loves camping and doesn't even care if it's chucking it down. Whether you are a hardy-camper, or more of a reluctant companion like me, there are some unbelievably stunning places to camp with your dog in the UK.
Photo: Canopy and Stars
Here are a couple of websites that list just tons of dog-friendly campsites.
Do you have a favourite campsite in the UK? Let us know where it is in the comments!
How about trying a yurt, bell tent or even a tree house! Canopy & Stars has some truly amazing glamping options (that would suit even the most reluctant 'camper'!)
Photo: Canopy & Stars
I love nosing around beautiful gardens, but sometimes formal gardens and open gardens don't allow dogs. However, the great news is that both the National Garden Scheme (private open gardens) and The Great British Gardens website both have a great list of gardens where dogs are welcome.
Home - National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk) filter by 'dog friendly'
(screen shot of National Garden website)
RHS Gardens also have a list of dog-friendly venues and even the ones that aren't happy to see dogs all year sometimes have specific dates when they open the gates to well-behaved pups.
Beautiful open gardens to visit in the UK | Public gardens / RHS Gardening - filter by 'dogs welcome'.
A few of our pals on Twitter do agility and seem to really love it.
We tried a starter course with Bob at our local animal shelter. You may be able to find a similar 'try for a few weeks' course in your local area.
There are also hobby options available where you can go weekly and use the equipment at your own pace. Google for such facilities/courses in your area.
If you want to take things a little more seriously, then the video below from the Kennel Club explains how you get started.
A relatively new hobby sweeping the country is wild swimming and it keeps popping up on lots of programmes. We liked this blog from Outdoor Swimmer Magazine which talks about taking your dog with you whilst swimming.
We particularly liked their insights into safety.
"One minute of constant swimming is the equivalent of a one-mile walk" - Wild Swimmer Magazine
That's really interesting isn't it! How just one minute of swimming will use up as much energy as a mile walk. It's very important to make sure your dog is fit enough to swim with you.
Yipppee! Wild Swimmer Magazine recommend Ruffwear for your dog's life jacket - as do we, of course!
Bob loves the water, but he isn't a particularly strong swimmer. So, if we are ever playing in a river or the sea, he has on his Float Coat.
Remember, even a strong swimmer can get in to trouble in cold or fast flowing water. A Float Coat is also good for helping you to lift and assist your dog on to boats, paddleboards or canoes.
The Rukka Life jacket and floating lead are a perfect pairing for fun on the water.
The super light life jacket fits with velcro straps and extra clips. There's a lift and assist handle (use the handle in conjunction with holding your dog under their stomach) and reflective trim.
The floating lead comes in three lengths and gives you that extra step of security when playing in the river, lake or sea.
Wild Swimmer Magazine also recommends having a good quality and warm towel available, and our DogRobes are perfect for that.
Made in the UK from microfibre towelling, these robes will get you dry quickly and keep you cosy.
We all love taking pics of our dogs, don't we. Why not go a step further and have a go at producing some really great photography.
We've found this blog from Expert Photography which gives some great tips on getting started.
Do you take good photos? Have you got any tips you can share in the comments?
Make it fun by combining your photography with some great walks or visiting some interesting sites. Think of the seasons and maybe head to the woods during Spring to capture your dog in the bluebells, for example.
It's me, Bob, with some tulips! What's your favourite subject to take pics with?
Short-breaks (or longer stays)
There are some great dog specific websites now that offer genuinely dog-friendly accommodation.
Here are some of our favourites
We have used Sykes Cottages five times over the last few years to find our dog-friendly cottage in Devon and Cornwall.
Check out our previous blog about SUP with your Pup, which includes ideas on how to get started. Have you tried it? Have you got any ideas on where to go....let us know in comments!
It's me, Bob, paddleboarding with my dad in Torbay Harbour
My pal Denzil Joss 〓〓 🐶🐾🏴☠️🦜 (@DenziltheCocker) / Twitter suggested a #2minutebeachclean. What a fabulous idea!
You can find out how to get involved on the website below...
Park Run / Canicross / Running
There are lots of Park Run groups across the country. My pal Pebble (comment below) recommends it as a great activity!
You can also join a Canicross group if you want to take things to the next level.
The main difference between Canicross and simply running with your dog is that in Canicross, the dog is attached to the runner’s waist with a bungee lead. In this way, whenever the runner’s feet are off the ground, the dog pulls the runner forward.
The Trail Runners website has brilliant resources for finding out more about CaniCross, joining a group and more CaniCross | trailrunners
Ruffwear harnesses and leashes are perfect for taking up running with your dog.
Lightweight, strong, durable and comfortable, Ruffwear harnesses are made for the everyday and the extreme.
The Ruffwear Roamer Leash has a built in bungee which is perfect for running activities.
My pal Daisy suggests Geocaching! See this website for details Geocaching
It looks like great fun for all of the family! Have you tried it?
What is Geocaching? It's one big treasure hunt! You can chose from many locations and log your progress. It looks like the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors with your dog and the whole family.
Have you got any hobby ideas? Do please let us know in the comments!
Love Bob x