Having an animal companion is a huge responsibility. I always said it is like having a toddler that never grows up. We are responsible for their food, their health, their safety, and their entertainment and joy.
Each animal is different, not just in species, but in personality and needs. Just like a child, what works for one may not work for another. Don't think because you have a dog, that it should act, think, and feel just like every other dog. Age also plays a factor, just like humans. As our companions get older, their tastes change. What they enjoy doing changes. Their physical capabilities change too.
Activities are important for your companion. They need mental and physical stimulation. No matter the size of your home, it can become a "cell" if they are not stimulated and are not given the opportunity to see new things. Species appropriate activities can be obvious; dogs play ball, cats climb things, mice run on a wheel, horses enjoy a field, etc. However, not all will enjoy these things 24/7. Provide a variety of activities that your companion can do on their own and WITH you. Make sure it is appropriate for them. An outing with your dog can be a hike, a jog, a different park, or a visit to a family members home. I would not suggest taking them with you to a bar/restaurant unless they are set up for animal companions. Some restaurants have a doggie menu and the experience can be lovely to dine outside with your companion. Just keep in mind, not all dogs like this. Bars are never a good idea, in my opinion. There is too much going on. The smell of alcohol alone can make them anxious, not to mention that dogs lick things. You really don't want them to lick spilled alcohol! Another reason why I don't like this option, is because when at a bar, the companion is not being attended to. The purpose of spending time with your companion is to interact with them, not just have them "there".
Pay attention to your companions posture, look in the eyes, sounds they make. They are giving you signals about what they like and what makes them anxious. Remove them, even if it means your fun comes to an abrupt halt, from any situation that makes them anxious.
Pet stores have a bunch of different toys and things for home entertainment. Just don't expect them to love everything or even love something forever. They get bored with things just like human children. For parents, remember how you would have to take one toy away after a while and replace with something new? Then after some time, you were able to bring back the old one and your child loved it again! It is the same with our animal companions.
The most important thing to remember, is that your companion is a living, breathing, sentient, thinking being who relies on you for their needs. They are not a piece of furniture to acquire and then ignore.
If you are not sure what your companion is needing, you can always schedule an appointment for an animal communication session. It is truly amazing the things animals tell me that are important to THEM. Email: email@example.com for an appointment. *As usual, the blog is my personal opinion based on personal experiences and information given me by animal clients.