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Things to Do with Your Dog on the National Day of Unplugging

March 8 is the National Day of Unplugging, where people pledge to unplug from social media and online activities for 24 hours. How about spending some of your newly-found free time with your dog? There are so many things you can do together. Some things depend on the weather; some depend on where you live; some you can do anywhere.

Train him. Remember, I'm a trainer! This is the perfect day for training because you have told yourself, "If I ever have the time, I'm going to train my dog to do X or to stop doing Y." Think of the times when you've been frustrated with his behavior, and take the time to train him to work through the issues. Keep your promise to yourself and to your dog. You can train him in obedience or tricks or a combination of both. Training doesn't have to be boring - you can teach him to Sit, Stay, Come, Lie Down or Roll Over, Shake Hands, Balance a Treat on his Nose, Crawl. Keep the sessions short, less than 5 minutes, (multiple short training sessions are much better for both your and your dog's psyche than long ones) and use lots of treats and praise.

Take him someplace new. You can go for a walk in the woods, to a pet-friendly mall, to the beach, on a picnic or to a dog-friendly coffee shop, just to name a few. You may even want to take a long ride in the car.

Play games. Fetch is always a great game because it teaches him to come to you and to share. Then there's Find It, where you hide treats and he has to sniff them out. You can do this both indoors and outdoors. Get some doggie bubbles and watch him chase and eat them. Teach him to play Tug or catch. Or simply play Chase where you chase him and he chases you.

Give him time around other dogs. You can throw a doggie party, take him to the dog park, go to your friend's house for a doggie play date, or even take a Doga or doggie exercise class.

Let him play outdoors. You can play in the leaves, in the snow, in the sprinklers, chase squirrels or explore a new area with new scents and scenery.

Do something that you don't ordinarily do. Make him a special treat or doggie ice cream, bake him some homemade treats, give him a massage or read to him.

Teach him a new skill. Agility, skateboarding, swimming, paddleboarding or accompanying you on your bicycle. Get him a puzzle toy that allows you to put treats in it and help him figure how to get the treats out.

Take him to a pet store. There you can let him pick out some new toys.

These are just a few things that you can do with your dog. The upside is that these activities not only provide him with physical and mental stimulation, but they also increase the bond between you both. Just do something you don't ordinarily do with your dog so you both will feel special - and have fun!

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