Are you one of the many lucky humans who have experienced the unconditional love and devotion of a great dog?
I have loved many dogs in my life. It is always a heart-wrenching experience when the time comes to say “goodbye.” However, the beauty of the human–animal bond is that after the grief fades, the wonderful memories of the relationship remain.
Thinking about those memories, I decided to craft the ultimate “bucket list” for dogs. In other words, activities I would like to experience with my dogs during their lifetime.
Life is short. A dog’s life is even shorter. So grab the gusto of each day, starting now — try some of the following 99 amazing activities with your dog.
1. Cross-Country Road Trip
In 1960, author John Steinbeck embarked on a trip to experience America before he died. Steinbeck left Long Island, New York, in a pickup and camper with his Standard Poodle named Charley.
The pair drove to Maine and across to the Pacific Northwest, down to California, across Texas, threading through the Deep South and back to New York. The entire trip involved more than 10,000 miles of driving, and Steinbeck chronicled their adventures in one of his best-selling novels, Travels With Charley.
Regardless of the size of the trip, any road trip with your dog provides the opportunity for an amazing adventure!
2. Swim With Dolphins
The spectacle and majesty of these gregarious, intelligent aquatic mammals have long romanced humans. It’s no surprise that swimming with dolphins is another ultimate dog activity.
It’s the above viral video of Kira, a Labrador Retriever from Mozambique — featuring her enthusiasm for swimming with the dolphins — that prompts adding this amazing experience to this dog bucket list.
If you (and your dog) prefer a more Zen existence, try doga — which is yoga doggy style. The practice was developed by professional yoga instructor Suzi Teitleman, who designed yoga poses that allow dogs to fully participate.
She notes, “Dogs come with so much yoga built in — their unconditional love, their ability to be in the present moment, their patience.” According to Teitleman, dogs are the ultimate yogi. Namaste!
4. Learn to Dance
Oh, the joy of the dance. It really doesn’t matter if you are technically inclined or rhythmically challenged — the bliss is the abandon of inhibition.
The activity is growing by leaps and bounds. Many communities offer doggy dance classes. So, bust a move and groove to the beat!
One of top 10 items on any bucket list is skydiving. Humans are intrigued to feel the rush of free-falling from an airplane at 10,000 or so feet and then catching the fall with the pull of a rip cord and the deployment of a thin, silk parachute. According to people who skydive with their flying pooches, the dogs love it as well.
Wonder what the canine translation of “Jeronomooooooooo!” sounds like?
6. Take a Cruise
Ahoy, matey! At least one transoceanic liner rolls out the gangplank for pooches. Cunard offers the ultimate pet cruise with all the style and entertainment afforded to human guests. A kennel master ensures that your pet’s every need is attended to. The liner provides cushy beds, supervised playrooms, gift bags, pet name badges and a gift portrait.
7. Visit a Few Pet-Friendly National Parks
What goes together better than a dog and a park? Nothing! Plan to visit at least 5 pet-friendly national parks during your pup’s lifetime. From coast to coast, some of the best include:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
- Redwood National Park, California
8. Experience the Greatest Dog Show on Earth
Most bucket lists include attending a mega championship event of passion: Super Bowl, World Series, Masters, Kentucky Derby, World Cup, Olympics. For dogs, that pinnacle of canine competitive events is the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
It’s no surprise that the award-winning, pet-friendly New York Pennsylvania Hotel is named the host hotel for the big event. With everything from fire hydrant potty stations and a doggy concierge to the relaxing S’paw and Paw Mall, the pageantry of the event promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience — even if your dog can’t get a ticket to the big show itself. (Service dogs, like Addisen pictured above at Westminster, are allowed in by law.)
9. Watch the Puppy Bowl
You need not be a diehard football fan to appreciate the antics of the superstar players who take the field in the Puppy Bowl. The event is televised annually on Super Bowl Sunday and features shelter puppies in a mock version of the famous football championship game. The dogs play “football” inside a miniature stadium, and the play-by-play action is broadcast on Animal Planet.
About 70 puppies are involved in filming the show over 3 days. The best part of the Puppy Bowl isn’t the hedgehog cheerleaders, the kitty halftime show or even a big trophy. It’s the national attention to the many shelter puppies available for adoption. You and your pigskin pooch will love this game-day action.
10. Be an Extra in a Movie
Dogs are in demand as movie extras. If your buddy is well socialized, packing personality and medically vetted, contact a pet talent agency. Pet extras must be able to show up on a minute’s notice, but who knows … maybe you and your dog can fulfill numbers 10 and 11 (keep reading) on this bucket list in one swoop.
11. Meet a Big Canine Star
If your star-struck pooch can’t score a big movie walk-on, don’t despair — you may still rub paws with an A-lister.
Canine celebrity meet-and-greets are scheduled across the country and are often sponsored by pet food companies or big pet superstores. Tillman the Skateboarding Dog, for example, toured the U.S. for years before his death in 2015. Celebrity pups also support pet adoption events and charities.
Watch for advertisements of a fun event and take your fur-fan to meet his or her favorite 4-legged superstar. Don’t forget to grab the camera and work it, baby!
12. Make a Video From Your Dog’s Perspective
Technology offers many advantages, including super-smart, tiny electronic wonders. In this case, I refer to the microchip video camera.
DogTek is one company producing such a device. Their Eyenimal camera is about the size of a dog tag and is designed to fit on your pet’s collar and record a video from their point of view. Or you can strap a GoPro HD camera to your dog using this special harness.
How fun to capture “a day in the life” from your dog’s perspective.
13. Train for Competition
The dog world of sports offers something for everyone. From fierce Schutzhund competitions to funny wiener dog races, best of breed championships to “ugly mutt” contests, there is a niche for every aspiring competitor. Go to the American Kennel Club website to discover the many different competitions sanctioned, or check out an event specific to you and your dog’s range of talent and interest.
14. Learn a Foreign Language
Perhaps a bark translates the same in any language, but you and votre chien will enjoy learning commands in his language of ancestry. Google Translate provides a feature that not only lets you find the German translation for “sit,” but also offers an audio pronunciation of any word. Bravo Ragazzo!
15. March in a Parade
What’s more fun than a parade? A dog parade — and many communities are jumping on the bandwagon. From the annual Halloween Dog Parade at Tompkins Square Park in New York City to the rainbow- and glitter-painted pups of a pride celebration or the patriotic fanfares of Fourth of July parades, dogs are demonstrating the right stuff to entertain and delight crowds of all ages.
Get out the beads and strut your mutt in the Krewe of Barkus Carnival parade in New Orleans, and don’t worry about Fido flashing the throngs — just grab a mask and enjoy the ball.
16. Be a Pet Treat Taste Tester
“Wanted: picky palates or indiscriminating indulgers. We’re looking for pooches of all types to share ideas and try out some samples of our latest treat ideas for free.”
Paw Street Barkery and other groups frequently post ads like this for taste testers. What a job! Eat all the treats you want for free! Your dog will need you as a partner, though — marking those evaluation grids is a challenge with no thumbs and a mouth full of yummy dog treats.
17. Hike the Triple Crown
The goal of hiking even a stretch of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail or the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail is ambitious. Hiking the cumulative 7,900 miles of the 3 trails represents a lifelong commitment for even the most hearty distance hiker. In fact, fewer than 500 people have claimed this prestigious Hiking Triple Crown designation.
This feat may seem insurmountable, but then again, hiking any prong of the mission is a proud accomplishment for man and beast.
18. Hang Glide
Soaring through the air on a fabric wing is about the closest thing to flying with the birds that a grounded mammal can imagine. Tandem flight is a bonding moment to be sure, so plan to take your dog on the adventure of a lifetime.
19. Learn to Sail
The term “salty dog” is well turned. Dogs love the water and make excellent first mates. Learn to sail with your dog and find the true treasure of the sea: the time you spend there. Charters like Dog Gone Sailing in Cape Cod welcome sea dogs of all sizes and even provide life vests for human and dog passengers.
Sailing is one of the most tranquil, ecologically friendly ways to enjoy the best of the sea, sky and land. Don’t be surprised if your dog develops a distinct, seafaring B-aaarrrggg-K.
20. Learn to Surf
Hang 10 (make that 20) with your Moondoggy! Dogs take to surfing with waves of enthusiasm. The sport has gained so many followers that there are sanctioned Surf Dog Surf-A-Thons, dog surf apparel and even a Surf Dog Hall of Fame.
Grab a board and jump in the game, or just watch the fun at a surf dog competition. Dogs enter from all over the world. Winners take home cool prizes, not to mention serious bragging rights, and proceeds support pet charities.
21. Dig Up Some Roots
Embrace your dog’s heritage. Learn to herd, hunt, mush, track or retrieve! Tap in to your dog’s breed instinct. Even mutts with a melting pot of ancestors possess a strong inherent drive.
Unsure about your pup’s natural drive? Check out activity #65 later on this bucket list for dogs.
22. Go Bikejoring
Bikejoring is a fun activity derived from dog sledding but without snow.
The dog (or team of dogs) is harnessed to a towline. They run ahead of a partner on a bike, mushing or pulling like a sled dog. Other “joring” activities include skijoring, canicross, dog scootering and skatejoring.
23. Be a Part of a Dog Flash Mob
Flash mobs assemble in a public place and perform a synchronized, seemingly pointless act for a brief period. Groups practice routines and gather via social media communications.
One could argue dogs have the flash mob concept down pat — have you ever witnessed a pack in a dog park? Could be peer pressure, but the popularity of taking flash mobs to a higher level has gone to the dogs.
24. Become a Canine Good Citizen
Developed in 1989, the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen training course is a 2-part certification program that stresses responsible pet care and good dog manners. A dog who successfully completes the program and passes the 10-step test receives the AKC Certificate of Merit. AKC-registered and mixed-breed dogs alike are eligible to participate.
Certification is a prerequisite for many other training disciplines, including therapy dog, agility, tracking, performance training, and sanctioned dog shows and canine competitions. The time spent with your dog in training will enhance the bond you both share.
25. Write a Book
Dozens of best-selling books began as a journal of love between a human and a dog. If you need inspiration, read one of these books:
- A Dog’s Life by Peter Mayle
- You Are a Dog: Life Through the Eyes of Man’s Best Friend by Terry Bain
- A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
- Amazing Gracie: A Dog’s Tale by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff
Start writing from your dog’s mind and discover your fur-muse.
26. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Many animal shelters and rescue groups encourage great canine ambassadors for the “feel-good” treatment at adoption fairs and fundraising events. Stop by an agency near you to discover the countless wonderful ways you and your dog can help the rescued, lost and abandoned animals not fortunate enough to have forever homes — yet.
27. Train to Be a Therapy Dog Team
A 4-legged angel! That is the description that best fits therapy dogs. Therapy animals are trained to provide comfort, education and entertainment to the people they reach. Therapy dogs visit residents in senior homes, rehabilitation centers and hospitals. They go to schools, clubs and other facilities to spread their special brand of joy.
The Animal Humane Society provides a list of training classes and suggestions on how to determine if your dog is appropriate for successful therapy dog certification.
28. Go Geocaching
A dog’s nose knows, but geek it up with a high-tech GPS (global positioning system) and add the intrigue of a good treasure hunt, and you are in for the game of geocaching.
The geocaching fun was started by Dave Ulman, a computer consultant who buried a treasure/cache then posted the GPS coordinates on a website he called The Great American GPS Stash Hunt. The idea captured the imagination of techies, travelers and trackers and geocaching.com was born.
Today millions of geocachers participate in hunts all over the world. It is the perfect activity for dogs and their adventurous companions. Always obey the geocaching golden rule: “If you take an item, you must leave an item of equal or greater value.” Dig it?
29. Hot Air Ballooning
It would take a pretty calm dog and a true love of flying to make a case for hot air ballooning with your pooch. But it can be done.
If your dream is to soar through the air in a basket with your fur-bud, then by all means — up, up and away. Just remember to fit your friend with a good pair of Doggles.
30. Learn to Skateboard
Like their people, dogs can learn to love the glide of the skateboard. Some training facilities offer classes to teach your dog to get gnarly on the board, and you can even buy a tricked-out customized board for your rising star.
31. Ride in a Convertible
Sometimes it’s the simplest pleasures that mean the most. Take your dog for a ride in a convertible with the top down. Expect lots of looks from spectators, plus comments and even an occasional treat tossed into the car as the pure joy of the ride takes over.
32. Go to Yappy Hour
Plan to bring your DD (designated dog) to unwind and take a wind-down break. Local community events, doggy daycare centers, pet superstores and even luxury hotels are getting in on the “yappy hour” action. Look for “yappatizers,” special cocktails, contests and dog-appropriate gift bags.
33. Go to Doggywood
Experience celebrity Dolly Parton’s famous theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and your pooch can enjoy the amenities at the canine-equivalent Doggywood. Hound-dog hillbilly comforts include doggy cabins, runs, pools and loads of playtime.
34. Go to a Pet-Friendly Beach
The freedom of running on the beach, playing in the water, chasing gulls, digging in the sand with your favorite fur-friend: priceless. Take a vacation to a pet-friendly beach. There are a number in the United States in every region. The top 5 on this list are:
- Fort DeSoto Beach, Florida
- Sleepy Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
- Del Mar Beach, San Diego
- Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago
- First Landing State Park, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
35. Dog Paddling Adventures
If you run out of creative ideas for outdoor fun with your dog, consider a dog paddling adventure.
36. Stay at a Luxury Pet-Friendly Resort
At least once, you should experience the indulgence of a luxury hotel with your dog. There are many pet-friendly resorts that offer full packages for man and beast. Luxury Magazine lists the top luxury pet-friendly resorts in the world, and 3 are in the United States:
- Hotel Valley Ho, in Scottsdale, Arizona
- Las Alamandas, in Costalegre, Mexico
- One Ocean Resort and Spa, in Jacksonville, Florida
- Barcelo La Bobadilla, in Loja Granado, Ardalucia, Spain
- Calistoga Ranch, in Napa Valley, California
PAW Accommodations Worldwide is a travel booking and reservation agency that specializes exclusively in luxury pet-friendly travel.
37. Jump on a Trampoline
There’s no special skill involved in jumping on a trampoline. It’s the pure pleasure of abandon, loss of all inhibitions and giving up to the enjoyment of the bouncy moment. Go ahead and follow this Bulldog’s example.
38. Learn to Sing
Maybe a stint on The Voice is not in your pooch’s singing future. But if your pup learns a song or two, YouTube history may be theirs (and yours) for the taking. Check out this adorable Husky and his singing tribute, which has netted millions of views.
39. Howl at the Aurora Borealis
Your dog may not be an enthusiastic howler, but the sight of the magnificent northern lights will provide ample yowl inspiration for canine and human alike.
Fairbanks, Alaska, is thought to be the best location for viewing the waterfall of light. The best months are September, October, March and April.
40. Order Food at a Drive-Thru
Oh, for the love of a greasy burger shoved through the window of a drive-thru. Of course your dog’s excitement may be the anticipation of a yummy treat at the other end much more so than the memory moment. Going for a burger now and then is awesome, but throwing your dog the keys for the drive may not be the best idea.
41. Get Your Bowl On
Can your dog rock and roll — down the alley, that is? The pup in the video above offers a few strategy hints for the perfect game.
If your passion is bowling, take your fur-bud to the lanes for a game or two. The score may need a handicap considering the lack of 2 fingers and a thumb, but keep your dog’s nose out of the gutter and you may have the perfect ringer for a strike.
42. Visit the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument
A visit to any of the military dog memorials across the nation is inspirational. Yet one monument stands apart: The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio is the only such memorial that has attained national monument status.
Designed to honor every dog that has served in combat since World War II, this is a significant dog bucket list experience.
43. Go Fly a Kite
Open spaces, a steady breeze, brightly colored fabric kite and an enthusiastic dog — the perfect formula for a day of fun memories. Try flying a kite with your dog. Many pooches take to the sport like the wind beneath your wings.
44. Make Pupsicles
Most people have fond memories of making ice cream or snow cones. What a treat on a hot summer day! Give your pup the same experience — by making pupsicles. There are a lot of good, easy recipes available online.
45. Foster a Kitten
Dogs have the ability to leave a legacy of love by fostering a needy, orphaned animal. If your dog has certain maternal tendencies, consider adopting a kitten pal. The experience will provide you those ohhhh-aahh moments forever.
46. Find Your Own Swimming Hole
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer had the right idea with frequent dips in the ol’ swimming hole. Find a pool and take your hound for a dive. If you feel an urge to cavort like a Mark Twain character by wearing only your birthday suit — well, all the better. Your dog will be wearing theirs.
47. Romp in the Snow
It is amazing, invigorating and down-right chilling to watch dogs romp in the snow. They love it! For the pure rush of delight, find some fresh snow and an area to let your dog off-leash safely. Just make sure you have a camera to record the fun.
48. Go Camping
Sleeping under the stars, getting in touch with nature and camping with your dog is a joyous experience. Find a dog-friendly campground, pack your gear and let your pooch guide you back to nature.
49. Break a Guinness World Record
One way to ensure a legacy is by earning a place in the Guinness World Records. Find your dog’s special trait and go for it. Guinness awards canine records for being tall (see video above), small, heavy, light and old. They also recognize the longest tongue, and biggest ears and eyes.
If your pooch lacks a physical feature that sets them apart, no worries. Guinness also has categories for the most dogs jumping rope, most tennis balls in a dog’s mouth at once, most dogs on a surfboard, fastest skateboarder and most photographed dog in the world.
If you aspire for greatness, Guinness may just offer something for your dog.
50. Learn to Jump Rope
One, two, buckle my shoe… Err, maybe that should be: One, two, don’t eat my shoe!
Whatever the rhyme, try teaching your pooch to jump rope. Rope jumping is a sure bonding exercise — as long as they are jumping, your hopping hound will depend on you as their trusty twirler! Check out this mind-blowing video.
51. Learn to Play an Instrument
Learn to play an instrument and express your life in music — or even better, attract millions of fans. Watch as this aspiring pianist channels his inner Wolfgang.
52. Attend a Dog Birthday Party
Lots of animal groups, health clinics, dog resorts, dog spas and daycare centers host birthday parties for dogs. It is a fun and lively event for everyone attending. Check local listings for venues and become a party animal. Here’s a vet-approved recipe for a dog-friendly birthday cake.
53. Consult a Pet Psychic
If your dog could only talk, imagine what they would have to say! Well, consulting a pet psychic may provide the next best chance for a dog/human communication channel. Pet psychics, also referred to as animal communicators, claim they can telepathically talk to a pet (dead or alive) and translate the information to you in human terms. If you want to be your own brand of Dr. Doolittle, check it out.
54. Be a Guest on TV
Late-night TV host David Letterman once made a franchise out of “Stupid Pet Tricks” — his show featured dogs sneezing, dogs talking on the phone, gargling dogs, singing dogs, and dogs fetching, jumping and driving a car.
Sadly, Letterman retired in 2015, but opportunities still abound on TV for talented pooches. Can your dog perform an odd trick on command? If so, reach out to producers to try to book some time in front of the camera.
55. Meet Cesar Millan
There are amateur dog trainers and there are professional dog trainers. There are even celebrity dog trainers. But few people have taken the art of “dog rehabilitation” to the iconic level of Cesar Millan. Love him or hate him, he stars in a popular television show viewed by fans in dozens of countries worldwide.
Millan brands a successful line of dog products and publishes a magazine dedicated to the human–canine relationship. He has written several books and produced a franchise of dog training DVDs for home use. Yes, as a dog lover or a star-struck canine, meeting the Dog Whisperer is a doggy bucket list item … tsch!
56. Dress Up in Fun Costumes
When Carol Gardner found herself unemployed, in the middle of a nasty divorce, drowning in debt and depressed, her attorney advised her to get a dog or a therapist. She chose a dog. A cute little Bulldog named Zelda entered the picture. Gardner fell in love. She found a form of healing therapy by dressing Zelda in funny costumes and taking pictures. Throw in a few funny one-liners, and the successful franchise Zelda’s Wisdom was born.
Now Gardner is worth millions, and she and Zelda bring humor and comfort to fans everywhere with a line of greeting cards, books, calendars, gift items and more. All this because as Gardner explains, “Two underdogs were looking for unconditional love.”
Oh, and she dressed her dog up in costumes. Shouldn’t you? At least once? Here are some ideas to get you started.
57. Go Reverse Trick-or-Treating
While you’re waiting for your costumed canine to become a cash cow, you might as well let them strut their stuff — especially on Halloween. Never let a good costume go to waste. Come up with coordinating outfits for the human part of the team and go reverse trick-or-treating.
Visit a nursing home, hospital, school, rehabilitation center, senior center or veterans center with a bag of approved goodies. Delight the surprised residents with a gift and take home the best treats ever: big bags of smiles.
58. Become a Canine Model
If you think your darling dog has the flash to be a spokesmodel, there are dozens of companies ready to see them strike a pose. Dean and Tyler Products, Iams, PetSmart and Hills Brands are among the companies that offer contests to actively solicit fur-fitted print models.
59. Adopt a Fire Hydrant
OK, maybe it’s a little cliché, but why not adopt a fire hydrant in your dog’s name?
Communities offer a variety of adoption options for sponsorship. Be prepared to keep weeds away and clean snow (yes, even the yellow kind) from your fire hydrant. Some municipalities provide a brass placard with the designated sponsor’s name on the hydrant. Others offer contests throughout the year with awards for best paint job, best landscaping and best decorations.
Proceeds from fire hydrant adoptions may benefit animal rescue shelters, community fire departments or local education funds. If your community does not have an adopt-a-fire-hydrant program, get busy and collect signatures to petition for one.
Adopting a fire hydrant is a simple way for you and your dog to help your community.
60. Ride Bikes
There are dogs that enjoy chasing bikes, even towing bikes (see #22 above). Some dogs love riding in bicycle baskets, on the handlebars or in a side car — but a dog riding a bike solo? Yep, it can be done. Who knows, maybe a Tour de Chien is the next great sport competition.
61. Attend a Major League Baseball Game
The American summer pastime: peanuts, popcorn, hotdogs and a great Major League Baseball game with your best friend — your dog, of course. Various MLB teams have dedicated a day each season to human fans and their 4-legged buddies.
The Atlanta Braves’ “Bark in the Park” is one of the most attended games of the season’s lineup. The event has become an annual game day celebration and packs the ballpark with fans howling in support of the home team.
62. Volunteer to WWOOF
So, WWOOFing may be a stretch, especially if your canine colleague lacks a green paw. Still, the acronym is derived from dog speak, so it demands a mention. What in the world is WWOOFing?
It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, a loosely organized movement that places volunteers on organic farms around the globe. Volunteers receive exposure to diverse, organic and ecologically sound gardening methods. Host farms provide training, housing and food in exchange for labor.
Duration of volunteer assignments may be a few days up to a few years. WWOOF host farms are registered in 100 countries, and the list is growing. It may be possible to WWOOF-harvest honey from bees on Kangaroo Island, pick Syrah grapes in the Clare Valley or harvest coffee beans in Northern Thailand. Look for opportunities that include your ecological pet partner.
63. Go Island Hopping
Don’t worry; be happy! Take the time to experience island hopping with your dog. Island hopping is simply moving from one island to another, usually in a sequence or a region. Transportation can vary: planes, boats, cars, rafts, even swimming.
Charter day trips are available in nearly any port. You can island hop the Florida Keys, Caribbean, Hawaiian Islands — or, of course, the Dog Islands!
64. Become a Mascot
There are hundreds of new schools, businesses, athletic programs and civic organizations sprouting up across the country annually. Petition a group to use a dog breed as a team or business name. Volunteer your dog as the team mascot!
Think about potential names like the Baltimore Bassets, San Francisco Shepherds, Chicago Collies or the Detroit Dalmatians. Dog names have a nice ring to them and leave no fear of being politically incorrect. Go, Pugs!
65. Discover Your Dog’s DNA
Is your dog of questionable heritage? Do they have a mixed bag of attributes? Would you love to know what contributed to the potpourri of their traits and appearance?
Order a DNA test and discover all the hidden jewels in your pet’s pedigree. The process is easy, and the results are interesting. Ask your veterinarian for details.
66. Go Tubing
Floating down a lazy river, skipping across a lake or sliding down a snowy bank — the result of any type of tubing is the same: fun!
Grab your dock dog or your snow bud, inflate a tube, and take off. You’ll be tubing with your dog again and again.
67. Play Golf
The toughest challenge of taking your dog golfing may be finding a club that doesn’t discriminate against 4 legs and built-in cleats. Golfing with a dog is becoming more and more accepted on courses across the country.
If you’re concerned about how well a dog can golf, check out Anthony Finn’s account in A Golfing Dog’s Life.
68. Watch the Top 12 Dog Movies of All Time
Grab a blanket, a comfortable sofa, popcorn, a box of tissue and your cinematic canine for a movie fest. Published lists of popular dog movies vary, but you’ll almost always find these perennial favorites at the top:
- Marley & Me (pictured above)
- Air Bud
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
- 101 Dalmatians
- Old Yeller
- Turner & Hooch
- Hotel for Dogs
- Best in Show
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua
- Lassie Come Home
69. Plant a Tree
The idea of planting a tree is such a vital link to the survival of the world, it should be an annual commitment rather than just an item on this bucket list. Experts agree that trees save lives and even planting one tree makes a marked difference. One tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and produce enough oxygen to sustain 2 humans.
Dogs recognize the enormous advantages of a tree as well. Trees are natural habitats for all kinds of interesting critters. They provide much-needed shade on hot days and, let’s face it, a dog’s favorite place for a quick leg hike is the first tree, and the next tree, and the next tree and…!
What better legacy? Plant a tree a year for yourself, your dog and the world.
70. Certify for Search and Rescue
Dream of being a superhero? You may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but search and rescue training with your dog can be the next best thing. Most search and rescue dogs are privately trained.
It takes a significant commitment to master the classes required for certification. That’s a small price considering that the skills you and your K-9 acquire may someday locate a missing child, save a lost elderly person or rescue victims of a disaster. Besides, a search and rescue dynamic duo is way better than being more powerful than a locomotive.
71. Create a Dog Art Masterpiece
If great art is in the eye of the beholder, certainly a painting created by your beloved dog would qualify as a masterpiece. Check out the work of this aspiring Van Gogh and garner some real inspiration for your own canine creation for the ages. Let’s hope the effort doesn’t cost someone an ear.
72. Build Your Own Dog Park
Developing and building a quality, safe environment for dogs to socialize and play off-leash is an exhausting and time-consuming effort. What better way to honor your pet and enhance the quality of other dogs’ lives than to establish a dog park?
Contact your city or county community development department to start the process. Local humane and pet rescue organizations may provide a roster of enthusiastic volunteers to assist.
73. Ride a Motorcycle
Fuel your beast’s born-to-be-wild spirit and take to the highway on a hog! Bikerdogs MC International offers a world of suggestions on how to safely transform your dog from a yard shark to the leader of the pack. Bikerdogs MC supports dogs on bikes and their humans with a club operating in several countries.
74. Go Dog Sledding
Nothing represents a mighty working dog’s endeavor like the exercise of sledding. Perhaps your dog isn’t ready for an Iditarod race, but they can learn to sled. Imagine the thrill of joining a pack of powerful, strong, high-energy Huskies and mushing through the snow.
Maryland Sled Dog Adventures can hook you up with a packaged adventure that includes your own aspiring sled dog. Tours range from introductory packages for canines and humans to several days of mushing through scenic snow-covered terrain. No snow? No problem! Dryland sledding takes place year round.
75. Thank a War Hero
“My eyes are your eyes, to watch and protect you and yours. My ears are your ears, to hear and detect evil minds in the dark. My nose is your nose, to scent the invader of your domain. And so you may live, my life is also yours.”
The Military K-9 Promise represents a sacred trust. It is a vow between dog and handler, but it is also given to all of us privileged by the protection of these many heroes. Army Spc. Thomas Jackson says of his experience with a military K-9: “I am an American soldier, and he is my hero.”
Indeed, every American should express gratitude to the many soldiers who have fought for our freedom. Thank a war hero today.
76. Visit a Dog-Friendly Winery
Enjoy a “bark less, wag more” experience with your hooch pooch, such as the one offered by the Mutt Lynch Winery in Heraldsburg, California. The company’s website promises a “wonderful world where wine and all things dog collide into something truly special.”
Besides making a doggone good wine, the winery was honored by Dog Fancy: “With the possible exception of Paris, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more canine-inclusive place to sip wine.”
So have fun and enjoy — but obviously, never provide alcoholic beverages to mutts or minors.
77. Spend a Day Living on the Street
Nothing resonates with reality like walking a mile in another’s shoes (or on their paws).
How long could you make it homeless? Try. Take your dog on a leash and start a day on the streets. No cellphone, no money, no transportation, no kibble, no treats. Most privileged humans cave and head for home in a matter of hours.
The U.S. Census estimates that nearly 1 million men, women and children are homeless in the country. The number of dogs who end up on the street is estimated in the millions.
It’s easy, given the sheer numbers, to desensitize yourself to the desperate plight of those who live on the streets. But you can help. Borrowing a phrase from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, “The trail home starts with you.”
78. Learn Canine CPR
Dogs are curious creatures. They experience much of life on their tongue, and that leaves a huge potential for choking or ingesting something that may kill them. Could you save an animal’s life by administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation?
There are classes available to teach canine CPR and first aid. Check with your veterinarian or visit Dog First Aid 101 for information.
79. Go Whale Watching
The opportunity for a close look at a magnificent whale is a magical experience. Whale-watching tours abound and, like other savvy, ecologically sound enterprises, the captains of the blue have made pet-friendly excursions available.
Listen to the tonal songs of the kings of the ocean, enjoy the mystic waters and take your dog whale watching for the thrill of a lifetime.
80. Build Sand Sculptures
Doggy sand sculptures are just beachy! Take your dog to the beach for a day of making sand sculptures. With practice, you may have a creation that’s heads and tails above the rest.
81. Celebrate a St. Francis Blessing
St. Francis of Assisi is the Catholic Patron Saint of Animals. In 1931, the secular world embraced the nature-loving priest’s legacy and offered animal blessings as a celebration of World Animal Day. People and animals of all faiths are welcomed to the annual Blessing of the Pets celebrated in churches and open ceremonies around the world on October 4.
82. Visit the World’s Largest Pet Store
That Pet Place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a “store like no other.” The 110,000-square-foot retailer dedicated to all things for pets is the largest pet store in the world. Take your pooch for a shopping excursion to delight: That Pet Place invites all well-behaved, leashed pets.
83. Go to Woofstock
The first weekend in June transforms Toronto’s hip, historic St. Lawrence Market neighborhood into the largest dog festival in North America. Woofstock is a quirky, free-admission, nonstop party. The annual event, originally billed as the “summer of canine love,” draws partiers from around the world.
84. Visit the Top 10 Dog Parks in the United States
A dog will tell you there are no bad dog parks — but there are a few dog parks that are so spectacular they belong on a top 10 list. Such parks deserve an audience, so plan to visit these special attractions during your dog’s lifetime:
- Jackass Acres K-9 Korral, in New River, Arizona
- Pilgrim Park Bark, in Provicetown, Massachusetts
- Kenton Paw Park, in Covington, Kentucky
- Cosmo Dog Park, in Gilbert, Arizona
- Puptown Dog Park, in Chicago
- W.O.O.F.P.A.C Dog Park, in Santa Maria, California
- Herman Dog Park, in Los Angeles
- Prairie Pastures Dog Park, in Clinton, Iowa
- Wantage Dog Park, in Wantage, New Jersey
- Bow Wow Beach Dog Park, in Stow, Ohio
85. Try Zorbing
Is your dog mesmerized by a hamster exercise ball? Do they obsessively follow you around, no matter where you go?
If so, you should try zorbing with your friendly, 4-footed stalker. Zorbing involves rolling downhill in an orb — like a hamster ball designed for people. The orbs are pushed on gently rolling hills or flat surfaces. Your dog is better suited to the water version of zorbing, which you can see in action in the video above. It’s a giant inflatable bubble that lets you and your pup walk on water.
86. Visit the AKC Museum of the Dog
Queeny Park in West St. Louis, Missouri, is the home of the beautiful American Kennel Club’s Museum of the Dog. The museum is in the historic Jarville House (1853) and boasts one of the world’s finest collections of art devoted to all things canine. The AKC Museum of the Dog is worth a visit for any connoisseur of fine art or the art of the dog. Well-behaved leashed dogs are welcome.
87. Go on a Photo Safari
A trip to Africa is not necessary to produce an interesting safari. All you need for a photo safari is a camera and the ability to follow your “guide dog” through the jungle of a back yard, park, forest or even the neighborhood streets. A dog’s curiosity will reveal shots that the human eye would never catch otherwise. Have the camera ready, keep a finger on the trigger and always be prepared to shoot at a moment’s notice.
88. Learn Canine Massage
Pet massage is hands-down one of the best human–dog bonding experiences you will encounter. Distance-learning classes are available online to teach sensory interaction and connection techniques for pet massage. There are also good reference guides for home use:
- Canine Massage: A Complete Reference Manual, by Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt
- Dog Massage: A Whiskers-to-Tail Guide to Your Dog’s Ultimate Petting Experience, by Mary Jean Ballnor
- Balance Your Dog Canine Massage, by C. Sue Furman
89. Meet Betty White
Betty White’s celebrity career spans more than 9 decades. She has earned a place in American history as a beloved icon. It’s not her impressive longevity in the entertainment industry that places White on our doggy bucket list — it’s her tireless work as an animal rights and pet health advocate.
White has long been an outspoken voice for animals. She works politically, publicly and financially to make a difference in the lives of all animals. She is a person of merit and someone this writer — and her dog — would love to meet.
Don’t miss our tribute to the amazing Betty White: “3 Things Betty White Can Teach Us About Animals.”
90. Take a Mud Bath
Dogs have known since the beginning of time, there are therapeutic values in a good mud bath.
Of course, they don’t seem to care about the mineral content of the water or the presence of optimum volcanic ash in the clay. Any available muddy hole is a perfect opportunity for a dog.
Jump in the spirit and book a mud bath to learn how relaxing covering your body in goop can be. Mud baths are thought to relieve everything from stress to body aches.
91. Make Paw Print Steppingstones
Keep your beloved dog’s paw prints on your heart as well as your yard by making paw print steppingstones for your home or garden. All you need for the DIY project is:
- Vinyl mold
- Special concrete mix
- Mixing paddle
- Mixing bucket
- One cooperative dog
That said, it’s probably easier and less expensive to buy a prepackaged kit (bonus: step-by-step directions). Paw print stone kits are available online and arrive complete with all materials for a beautiful stepping stone. They are also sold in craft stores, pet supply stores and general merchants.
92. Be a Super Green Team
You and your dog can be a real “Super Green Team” and walk the walk to keep America beautiful. Work with your dog to learn the art of cart pulling. Specialty carts are available. Hook up and start out on your mission: picking up garbage along community streets and in parks. Your superhero work to halt the crime of littering will be legendary — and you’ll be rewarded with loads of fun with your pet.
93. Hula Hoop
“Red ones and the green ones, yellow, white and blue
Young and old, man or dog, are spinning them too!”
With some creative liberty to the “Hula Hoop Song,” the fun begins with the hoop. Can your pooch hook the hoop? A few lessons from the video above may help.
94. Deliver a Special Message
Animals have been used to deliver messages for centuries. Thanks to modern technology, the delivery methods have changed, but the value of using a cute mutt to express your sentiment remains priceless.
One company takes the animal messenger vehicle to new levels: Jib Jab plants photographs of faces into electronic greeting cards and videos. Your dog can sing, dance, speak or smile your message to anyone. Online “sendables” may lack the warmth and presence of a live dog delivery — but still, the entertainment value and ease of use make a Jib Jab greeting a snap.
95. Walk Down the Aisle
Dogs are especially important family members. It’s no surprise we want them included in every significant life event — including weddings. Caution: Before your dog starts down the aisle, have someone walk them outside the ceremony so they don’t go “I doo-doo.”
96. Take Your Dog to Work
On June 24, 1999, Pets Sitters International sponsored the first U.S. Take Your Dog to Work Day. Three hundred companies nationwide participated in the event, which was organized to celebrate companion dogs and encourage adoptions of shelter and rescue dogs.
Today, Take Your Dog to Work Day remains a fun summer event as companies around the globe get on board and encourage people to work with their dogs for the good cause. The event is observed on the Friday after Father’s Day each year.
97. Get to Know the Most Powerful Dog(s) in the World
The Presidential Pet Museum, open for tours by appointment in its newest home in Baltimore, provides a repository of presidential pet artifacts, including relics from the more than 120 canines who have occupied the White House. Not limited to dog memorabilia, the museum is filled with many exhibits devoted to presidents and their beloved pets. A visit to the Presidential Pet Museum is guaranteed to delight history buffs and animal enthusiasts alike.
98. Play Frisbee
Ah, the simple art of Frisbee. What is it about this flying disc that so excites and amuses so many pups? Go outside and catch some fun with your pet.
99. Learn Something New Every Day
Pets are the most prolific learning tool on the planet. The partnership between human and dog opens opportunities for new discoveries every day. Seize the moment and learn from your pet.
You don’t have to pore over books, sit in a classroom or consult the internet for lessons. Consider the observation of Mark Twain: “If you hold a cat by the tail, you learn things you cannot learn any other way.” Your dog practices that theory. Learn from them.
I hope you enjoyed this ultimate bucket list for dogs! Leave a comment below and tell me which of these activities you can’t wait to try with your dog.