DIY Pet-Friendly Golf Course Games: Entertaining Your Dog While You Play
Taking your pup along with you to the golf course could be a great way to combine the sport you love and some quality time with your best furry friend. But 4+ hours can be a long time for a dog to tag along, so how do you keep your pooch entertained while you play?
Here are some fun DIY pet-friendly golf course games to keep your fluff excited and interested while you’re swinging your irons. Remember, safety is always priority #1: of your dog and fellow golfers.
Fetch With a Twist
Which dog doesn’t love a good game of fetch? If your pup loves chasing a ball, 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 it.
Golf balls are a little on the small side, so opt for a slightly bigger rubber ball to play fetch with. Between your shots, toss the ball for your pup to fetch. Make sure you’re throwing it away from greens, bunkers, and water hazards—you don’t want your dog damaging the surfaces or getting wet.
Also, make sure you’re throwing the ball away from other golfers. Don’t launch the ball into the distance where your pup might accidentally wander onto another hole and get hit with a flying golf ball. Keep it close by and if you’re golfing with a buddy, ask them to help when it’s your turn to play.
Seek and Sniff
If your dog is particularly food-motivated or is totally in love with a specific toy, this could be a fun way to keep them entertained as you’re moving through the course. You’ll need to do a bit of prep work here without your dog seeing you, but if your golfing partner can keep your dog distracted while you’re busy, you’ll be good to go.
While your pup is getting love from your buddy, hide a few treats or their toy somewhere close by. Just a heads-up… This game works much better if your dog is a sniffer type!
Before you tee off, give your pup the scent of their toy or show them a couple of treats they can follow to find more. Make sure the search won’t lead them into danger like holes or areas where they could accidentally disturb wildlife.
Once they’ve got the scent and they’re distracted, it’s your cue to take your swing. Make sure your golfing buddy keeps an eye on your dog while you’re swinging so they can’t get into any trouble.
If your dog isn’t the type to be well-behaved when off-leash, invest in an interactive dog toy. You can walk your pup from hole to hole on-leash, tie them to a tree or pole nearby, and let them play with their interactive toy while you play your shot.
A treat-dispensing toy is a great choice, especially if your dog happens to be highly motivated by treats. These are particularly fun for “working dogs”, those who have an in-built drive to “work” for something.
If your dog isn’t the type to do a puzzle for a treat, something as simple as a Kong toy filled with peanut butter can keep them busy and happy for hours!
Try to leave your pooch in a well-shaded area while they’re enjoying their toy. Don’t forget that if they’ve been indulging in treats during the day, they’ll probably also need more water throughout the day.
The golf course could be the perfect place to work on obedience training. If you’ve been working on teaching your dog commands and you think they’re ready for some on-the-go training in a new environment, take them along for your next round of golf.
The course is all-natural, filled with exciting scents and distractions. If your dog is totally new to obedience training, this probably isn’t the best choice because it’s likely to be frustrating for both you and your pup. It’s hard to focus on hitting a great approach shot if your dog is frantically barking at a squirrel, for example.
But if your dog is already doing well with obedience training and needs a new challenge, it’s a good idea. Before each shot, practice the “sit” and “stay” commands. In between shots, use “heel” or other action commands.
Tips and Considerations
If you’re planning on taking your dog with you when you’re playing a round, make sure you’ve thought it out and covered all your bases. Obviously, the first thing to do is check that the golf course allows dogs—not all of them do, so don’t assume, because if you arrive with your dog you might be turned away.
Here’s a quick little checklist to make sure your pup joining you on the golf course goes well and doesn’t end badly for you, your dog, or another golfer.
- Bring treats as a reward.
- Bring one of their favorite toys.
- Take along enough water.
- In hot weather, take a portable fan.
- Tire them out before your round if possible.
- Clean up after your dog whenever necessary.
- Be patient with them as they get used to the course.
- Keep them leashed unless they’re exceptionally well-trained.
- Respect other golfers by keeping your dog quiet and away from them.
- Make sure your dog is safe from swinging clubs and flying balls at all times.
Love golf, love your dog? If you can find a dog-friendly golf course, it’s the ideal way to combine two of your passions. But don’t assume that your pup will happily tag along—try some of these pet-friendly golf course games to keep them busy and entertained while you play.
Remember, safety should be your top concern. Only bring your dog with if the course allows it, if you’re sure your pooch will be safe, and if you know they won’t endanger other golfers on the course.