I Treated My Dog to the Ultimate Staycation

I decided to take advantage of a few free days and treat my dogs to some quality time at home.
By: Nicole Pajer
Dogs on a blanket

Life has been a little busy lately. It’s just been one of those periods. My husband has been manning most of the dog responsibilities and I’ve been desperately in need of some quality time with my pups. So when I had a few free days pop up, I decided to take advantage of the situation. While planning a weekend away was tempting, I realized that what my family really needed was some down time around the house.

Instead of fighting traffic, packing a suitcase and searching for hotels, we treated ourselves to a lovely little staycation. And while my dogs, Rocky and Lyla, do enjoy sticking their heads out the window and hitting the open road, they are so much happier relaxing in the comfort of their own home.

A staycation is a great way to spend time with your dogs. All it takes to pull one off is a clear schedule, a little imagination and your favorite furry friends. Here’s how we made ours extra special:

We Unplugged

The first step of fully immersing yourself in your staycation is to put away the phones, tablets and computer screens. I also logged off of social media so that I could dedicate all of my time to relaxing with my pups. I told people they could reach me on my cell if it was an emergency but informed them that I was taking the weekend off. We enjoyed not being interrupted by the noise of technology.

We Hung Out by the Pool

Summer has been hot in Southern California, so when we had a few days to hop in the pool and cool off, we took full advantage. My Doberman, Lyla, loves to swim and will take any chance she can to jump in the water. She loves to paddle around with us, so we did many laps of that. We also created a game where I throw her ball into the deep end of the pool and she leaps off the shallow end step, swims out and retrieves it. Once she gets the ball in her mouth, Rocky, my Rat Terrier, gets excited and chases her around that patio for 15 minutes. It’s a great way for both of them to get exercise.

Dogs swimming in pool

Rocky isn’t the biggest fan of swimming (he’ll do it if we put him in the water but it’s not his preference), so my husband and I trained him to hop onto a boogie board and lie down for some treats. After awhile, he got so comfortable that he was stepping onto it all by himself and floating around the pool in no time.

We Ate Dinner Outside

Dinner around my house usually consists of my husband and I eating in the kitchen and Rocky and Lyla scarfing down their kibble in the laundry room. Since we were on “vacation,” we decided to shake things up a little and decided to have our evening meals al fresco. I set up a blanket in the yard and we all enjoyed our dinner together. Since it was a special occasion, I filled the dogs’ bowls with a few fresh fruits and veggies, like carrots and berries, in addition to their kibble.

We Watched a Movie

Oftentimes at night, my dogs end up asleep at my feet while I’m watching something on television that they are really not into, like “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” They hang out with me while I relax but, I can tell they are really bored. This time, I treated them to a movie that they might enjoy: “Lassie.”

Dog snuggling on couch

As soon as that adorable Collie took the screen, Rocky and Lyla were tuned in. Whenever she barked, they barked. Whenever she whined or faced danger, their ears would perk up in concern. They didn’t have the attention span that my husband and I did, but they definitely glanced up at the screen a whole lot more than they did when “The Bachelorette” is on. And they were also big fans of the snuggling and extra attention.

We Played Games

On one of our days off together, it was too hot to spend time outside, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. We spent an entire afternoon playing a plethora of games, including hide-and-seek, find the treats and fetch, around the house.  

Hide-and-seek was a massive hit. I would tell Rocky and Lyla to sit and stay and would then quickly dart around my home and secure a hiding spot. When I yelled out, “Okay. Find me!” they took off full speed in search of my whereabouts. After a while, they mastered the game and even tried cheating a few times. I’d catch them tip toeing down the hall and trying to watch where I was running off to (my dogs are too smart for their own good). I also threw their toys around to play fetch and hid treats under rugs and behind doors and let them run around and find them. They had a blast.

Dog playing hide and seek

We Ate Ice Cream

Nothing says vacation like a special sugary treat, so I whipped up some dog-friendly ice cream (with yogurt, peanut butter and bananas) for them to snack on. I let my dogs lick the spoon after stirring everything together and their little canine taste buds went crazy. The hardest part was waiting for our delicious treat to freeze, but when it finally did, I scooped it into their bowls and they devoured it.

We Practiced Agility Training

My local dog park has a playground attached to it and my dogs love to play in the sand after a romp around with their friends. This time when I took them, we found a whole new way to entertain ourselves.

Dog on agility ramp

Rocky and Lyla know commands like “over,” “under,” and “through” so I put those into use. In no time, I had my dogs chasing me up and down jungle gyms, hopping over park benches and running through tunnels. It was challenging, stimulating and really tired them out. Since they loved that so much, I rented out space at an indoor agility gym called The Zoom Room and let them play around with agility equipment.