HOW TO MAKE YOUR DOG WALK MORE FUN
We all know that we’re supposed to take our dogs out for a walk once a day, yet studies show that approximately 30% of us don’t for various reasons… so why don’t you make your dog walk more fun and enjoyable?
As January is known as Walk Your Dog Month, we need to inform you that the daily walk is such a vital part of our dog’s routine, so it’s important to find ways to motivate yourself to stick with it. And the easiest way to do that? Add some variety to your walking routine to keep things interesting. Here are some ways to make your dog walk more fun & interesting for you and your dog:
1. LET YOUR DOG BE THE NAVIGATOR
One easy way to make your dog walk more fun is by letting your dog decide where to go. Rather than take the standard route sit back and let your dog lead the way. Sure, your dog might end up leading you over to those trees where all the squirrels hang out, but letting them choose is a nice way to give your dog a chance to show you what they find interesting.
2. LET YOUR DOG SNIFF AROUND
Walks are great physical exercise, but they’re also a great way to keep our dogs mentally stimulated. Since most of our dogs stay at home while we work their walk represents the one time of day they get to go out and explore. Make it more exciting and enjoyable for them by letting them sniff and check things out. If you’re not a fan of stopping every 2 feet to let your dog sniff add in a few ‘sniff breaks’ throughout your walk.
3. FIND A WALKING BUDDY
When was the last time you invited a friend over to catch up? I don’t know about you, but for me technology has changed ‘catching up’ from hanging out in real life to logging onto facebook. Make your dog walk more fun by inviting a friend or relative along. You can catch up on the latest news, and your dog will enjoy the extra company. And you might be surprised by how much more fulfilling hanging out in real life is rather than texting.
4. DO SOME TRAINING
Include a few training exercises while out on walks, both when on and off the lead. As well as keeping you both up to scratch, it’s important to do the work while out and about in all sorts of different places – it’s no good having a dog who only does what you ask when at home or in training classes! Include sits, stays, downs, heelwork, and any tricks your dog knows, rewarding him between each exercise with praise, a treat, or an exciting game before releasing him for more free running. Even though he might know and be able to perform an exercise really well at home, it can be much harder for him when he’s out in a distracting environment with lots of fascinating sights, sounds, and smells, so be prepared to use high-value rewards to help motivate him. Include lots of recalls: if you only call him to you when it’s time to go home he’ll understandably be inclined to keep his distance so the fun can continue for longer. A good recall is essential if you’re going to be able to safely let your dog off lead.
5. BEEN A GOOD BOY? BRING A TOY!
When your pup is well-behaved enough to be off the lead, this is when the fun can really begin! Next time you’re scheduled for a walk, bring a selection of toys and take a detour to the local field to play fetch or tug-of-war (make sure it’s a safe space that legally allows dogs to roam). Remember that playtime shouldn’t always be included on a walk as your pet may come to expect it and fool around early on in the walk – so make sure your dog behaves well for the first half hour, then let loose!
6. USE YOUR WALK AS A TIME TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG AND EVEN TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY TOGETHER
Walking is the single most effective way of creating a very special bond between dog and owner from day one. Not only does it mean they have the exercise that they need, it also allows them to spend quality time with their best friend.
It might sound crazy but start to think about other hobbies you can take up with your dog apart from walking. If you both like water, for example, try paddleboarding together. There are companies across the country that allow dogs to paddleboard and it will be a brand-new sensory experience for you to share together.