With the competition season underway, it can be hard for our retired dogs especially if you still have dogs who are competing. You don’t want to feel guilty about your older or retired dog missing out but you know they can’t safely compete anymore so what do you do?
My first recommendation would be to speak with your vet and vet physio about your dog's current health, especially if this is the reason you have retired from sports/competing. If your dog has an injury or even any areas of tightness after their last season you must get these seen first before embarking on a retirement plan for your dog.
So I’m going to assume that your retired dog is fit and healthy and just not up to long days competing anymore or maybe you’re like me and just don’t have the time to get to competitions much these days. If your dog is not fit and healthy you MUST speak with your vet and vet physio before trying any of these 3 ideas to give your retired dog a new lease of life.
1. Low impact sports
Why not try a lower-impact sport? Hoopers, tracking, mantrailing and scent work are all lower impact than sports like flyball, agility and working trails.
If you are low on time I suggest starting with some scent work as it’s so easy to work into your and your dog’s day-to-day life. From hiding their meals around the garden or house to getting them to pick out certain scents it can be a great way to keep them both physically and mentally tired without a huge time commitment or stress on you or your dog's bodies.
If you want something similar to agility but without the high impact jumping and contacts give hoopers a go. This is definitely one for the speedy dogs who haven’t slowed down yet but their handlers have.
If your dog is a people person then mantrailing will be right up their street. Searching for humans hidden in all sorts of places means that the track route can be specific to your dog's needs.
For more information on alternative dog sports speak with your local dog trainers about what might suit your dog.
2. Explore new places
Just like us, dogs can get bored if we do the same thing every day or always go on the same walks. So why not try something new?
Live by the coast why not try some hiking? Or if you’re usually walking city streets take a stroll in the rolling fields or vice versa.
If your dog’s not much of a walker why not check out some local dog friendly cafes or pubs. It can be a great way to keep their mind occupied and you get to relax too.
You could even hire a new dog friendly secure field or indoor play area just for you and your dog. If you’re feeling super adventurous you could always check out a breed meet up?
3. Learn something new
Want something you can do in the comfort of your own home? Why not teach your dog something new?
Learning new tricks is an awesome way to stay connected to your dogs whilst also keeping them entertained and helping to keep them physically fit.
Some of my favourite tricks are paw (promotes joint movement), sit/down to stands/beg (promotes core strength) and foot targets on different surfaces (again great for the core and to improve proprioception).
What’s your dog's favourite trick? Jacks (my dog) has to be a high-five (beg).
I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can do with your retired dog to give them a new lease of life. If you have any ideas of your own please let me know!