Home > Pet Ponderings > Why do we do so much with our dogs these days?

Why do we do so much with our dogs these days?

j0178643As a friend and I walked around the dog park yesterday, she shared her experience with “nose work.” She and her dog, Ellie, are into their second set of classes and Ellie is absolutely loving it. So much so that she can’t wait to get out and do it again as soon as she is done!

Like many dogs these days, Ellie has already done and experienced so much. She has already been through basic and advanced dog obedience and has her therapy dog certification. She has gone on camping trips and loves going with her mom on her kayak adventures. She is an active dog with a mom who loves to do things with her.

It got me to thinking about how much has changed in our world when it comes to dogs. Sixty or seventy years ago, a dog would have been great entertainment for the kids, might have been taken on walks in the neighborhood,  and sometimes went hunting in the spring and fall. But, that’s about it. They did not have the enriched lives that many of them experience today. Activities rarely centered around them and their fun.

There are so many more choices for us and our dogs. We can do almost anything with them these days, including:

  • agility
  • nose work
  • hunting
  • geo caching
  • traveling
  • hiking
  • going to the dog park
  • backpacking
  • fly ball
  • freestyle musical dance
  • sheep and goat herding
  • tracking
  • trick training
  • circus dog training
  • search and rescue
  • dock diving
  • frisbee competitions
  • doggie puzzles
  • Treiball

These are only some of the things one can do with their dog. The list really is endless.

Realizing how many choices we have these days made me wonder, what changed? When did our dogs not only become so much of our lives, but also become a focus of the activities we do in our lives? Why do we do so many things with our dogs these days?

I’ll admit that I am no different. Jasper has gone experienced sheep herding many times. Daisy and Jasper and Cupcake have all gone hiking in the woods, and we play with doggie puzzles.. I like doing things with my dogs. I like that they get me outdoors and doing things I might not normally do. But, I also know that I could be doing other things. I could be traveling or crafting or attending classes. Instead, I choose to do activities that include my dogs. The question I am pondering today is, why? What motivates me to include them in all I do?

Do you do one of the above activities with your dog? What motivates to want to do so? What keeps you doing it? Why do you think we do so much with our dogs these days?



  1. May 6, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    Nose work is great, I enjoy it that Easy has fun and that he is dogtired after a while :o)

  2. May 6, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    Yep, we do quite a bit of stuff an that list. Personally I just enjoy being with my dogs. It’s the companionship I suppose. Plus they would be pretty sad if they stayed home all the time.

  3. jan
    May 6, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Any activity with a dog is fun, even if it is just watching TV. A walk through a familiar neighborhood is always an adventure.

  4. May 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    We probably do less of the list than everybody, simply because we can’t bring Donna everywhere. I personally want life to be about the human as well, not all about the dog. So we’re still on our way figuring out how to best balance things 😉

  5. May 6, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Reblogged this on healingchoicesvet.

    • Mel
      May 7, 2014 at 7:07 AM

      Thank you for reflagging!

      • May 7, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        You’re very welcome. It was an interesting read. Well done.

  6. May 6, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Because they are my best friends and who doesn’t want to be with their BFF all the time? 🙂

  7. May 6, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    I traveled across the country with Eko and my road trip was infinitely better for it. Dogs offer a unique perspective and energy which enlivens anything we do. If I can, I try to bring Eko wherever I go for exactly that reason.

  8. May 6, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    I definitey try to include my dogs in as many of my plans as possible. Personally, I see bringing the dogs along as making just about any activity better.

    Dogs are masters of living in the moment. Witnessing their unbridled joy and openness to new people/experiences can really keep things in perspective. I think this is one of the reasons it is so fun and heartwarming to be around them.

  9. May 7, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    We do all kinds of things with Cookie. Mostly to keep her busy and out of trouble. But also to teach her things and to bond.

  10. John B.
    May 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    The culture we find ourselves in has declined in it’s standards so precipitously that we humans find great comfort in the peace we experience with our pet animals.

  11. May 7, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    Peoples’ perception of their pets, especially dogs and cats, has shifted; we now consider them members of the family. We want them to be happy, healthy, and have the very best. I’ve taken every obedience class with my dog, trained her to be a therapy dog, and tried obedience rally and agility. Currently looking for an opportunity to do nose work with my Husky. We take our dogs hiking, on vacations and cross country trips, to cafés, pet friendly events and festivals, even shopping; basically everywhere they are allowed!

  12. Maggie
    May 7, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    I think for a long span of human history we just assumed that other animals weren’t thinking, feeling creatures. We’ve come a long way in that regard, and I think that understanding sparked a desire for people to enrich their dogs’ lives… because I don’t think there was ever a lack of love… it was just a lack of understanding. I try to do as much with the boys as possible, though it’s much easier to go on adventures and training with some than others (Lucas.) 🙂

  13. Sue
    May 7, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Whille they may not be easiest all the time, it’s a major stress relief when you get out and walk with your dog. You have to forget all those things that got you all worked up during the day and focus on the dog….playing, interacting, watching and laughing. It’s the best therapy.

  14. May 8, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    We’ve taken obedience classes, agility and disc dog. And we do lots of hiking and camping. We have definitely become more obsessed with dogs as a culture, I think. Or maybe it just seems that way. Very interesting!

    • Mel
      May 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

      I think you are right Lindsay. I think we have become more obsessed with our pets these days. It was just something I was thinking about after hearing about the nosewrok class. What changed? Families moving further apart? More single people? Less children? I find it so interesting.

  15. May 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    As pet owners we develop a personal relationship with our dogs and they become part of our families. With this, we want to experience things in life with them and have them a part of hobbies and important events in our lives.

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