Taking your pup to the golf course can be a great way to combine your favorite sport with spending quality time with your furry best friend. But for dogs, more than 4 hours of companionship may be a long time, so how do you keep your dog happy while playing?
Here are some fun DIY pet-friendly golf course games to keep you excited and interested while swinging your irons. Remember, safety is always the number one priority for your dog and other golfers.
Twist to retrieve
What dog doesn’t love a good game of fetch? If your puppy loves chasing balls, they probably shouldn’t be on the golf course in the first place…unless, of course, they’re well-trained enough to wait for your command to fetch a ball.
Golf balls are a little small, so choose a slightly larger rubber ball to play with. In between shots, throw the ball for your puppy to fetch. Make sure you throw it away from greens, bunkers and water hazards – you don’t want your dog to damage the surface or get it wet.
Also, make sure you throw the ball away from other golfers. Do not launch the ball so far that your puppy could accidentally wander into another hole and be hit by a flying golf ball. Keep it nearby and if you’re golfing with friends, ask them to help you when it’s your turn to play.
Seek and sniff
If your dog is particularly fond of food or is totally into a particular toy, this can be a fun way to keep them entertained while you complete the course. You’ll need to do some preparation here without your dog seeing you, but if your golfing buddy can distract your dog while you’re busy, you’re good to go.
While your puppy is getting some love from your buddy, hide some treats or their toys somewhere nearby. Please note…this game works even better if your dog is a sniffer type!
Before you tee off, let your puppy smell the toy or show them some treats they can follow to find more. Make sure the search doesn’t put them in danger, such as holes or areas that could accidentally disturb wildlife.
Once they’ve caught the scent and are distracted, you’re ready to swing. Make sure your golfing partner keeps an eye on your dog while you’re swinging so they don’t get into any trouble.
If your dog doesn’t behave well off leash, invest in an interactive dog toy. You can walk your puppy from hole to hole on a leash, tie them to a nearby tree or pole, and let them play with interactive toys while you hit the ball.
Toys that dispense treats are a great option, especially if your dog happens to be very interested in treats. These are especially interesting for “working dogs” because they are intrinsically motivated to “work” something.
If your dog doesn’t enjoy playing jigsaw puzzles, something as simple as a peanut butter-filled Kong toy can keep them occupied and entertained for hours!
While your dog is enjoying the toy, try leaving it in the shade. Don’t forget that if they’ve been snacking during the day, they may need more water, too.
The golf course is probably the best place for obedience training. If you’ve been working on teaching your dog commands and you think they’re ready for some movement training in a new environment, bring them along for your next round of golf.
The course is all-natural and full of exciting scents and distractions. If your dog is completely new to obedience training, this may not be the best option as it may be frustrating for you and your puppy. For example, if your dog is barking like crazy at squirrels, it will be difficult to focus on making a great approach shot.
But it’s a good idea if your dog is already doing well in obedience training and needs a new challenge. Before each shot, practice the “sit” and “stay” commands. Between shots, use “heel” or other motion commands.
Tips and Notes
If you plan on taking your dog with you while playing ball, make sure you’ve thought it through and considered everything. Obviously the first thing to do is to check if the golf course allows dogs – not all golf courses do, so don’t assume as you may be turned away if you arrive with a dog.
Here’s a quick little checklist to make sure everything goes smoothly when your puppy joins you on the golf course and doesn’t end badly for you, your dog, or other golfers.
- Bring snacks as rewards.
- Bring one of their favorite toys.
- Bring plenty of water.
- When the weather is hot, bring a portable fan.
- If possible, tire them out before the game.
- Clean up after your dog if necessary.
- Be patient with them as they get used to the lessons.
- Keep them on a leash unless they are well trained.
- Respect other golfers by keeping your dog quiet and away from them.
- Make sure your dog is always protected from swinging clubs and flying balls.
Love golf and your dog? If you can find a dog-friendly golf course, it’s an ideal way to combine your two hobbies. But don’t think your pup will happily follow you around – try some pet-friendly golf course games to keep them occupied and entertained while you play.
Remember, safety should be your primary concern. Only bring your dog if the course allows it, you are sure your dog is safe, and you know they will not endanger other golfers on the course.