Dogs love going on walks. Walking improves your dog’s well-being; it reduces stress, releases energy, builds muscle tone and burns calories. With our busy schedules, walking our dogs is turning into a chore rather than an activity we enjoy and look forward to.
Author Lana Rose has uncovered 7 tips to help you improve your dog walks, making them more enjoyable for both yourself and your dog.
1. Spend quality time with your dog by giving him all of your attention:
Don’t go out thinking about what you have to do next or have a conversation on your phone; give your dog your full attention. The walk will be more fun for him if you focus on his needs. It’s a great opportunity for social interaction, burning energy and calories and building a relationship with your dog.
2. Incorporate and reinforce training:
Finding time for training can sometimes be a squeeze; try incorporating training into your walk. Practice commands such as recall, walking to heel, stay and leave. Training can help reduce stress by providing mental stimulation; it gives your dog the attention he needs and helps improve behaviour in a social environment.
Go walking with friends or meet up with other dog walkers; sometimes walking with company can make walks more interesting and your dog will enjoy interacting with other dogs. If you don’t know anyone who can walk with you, join a dog walking club.
4. Try new walks:
Don’t go on the same walk which is boring and predictable; liven up your walks and make it interesting. Go on a different route and find new footpaths. If there is little variety or you are tight on time, spend time at the weekend going on a new walk.
5. Add variety:
Liven up walks by running, jogging or cycling instead of walking; start off slowly so your dog can adjust to the speed change. Still give your dog time to have a sniff about, do his business and relax when going for a faster paced walk.
6. Play with your dog:
Take toys with you when you head out for a walk and interact with your dog. If your dog isn’t interested in toys, try hide and seek games, where you can duck behind a tree, call your dog’s name and let him come and find you.
7. Aim for something fun that you can do together:
Try taking part in an event that will encourage active, fun walks, like a sponsored dog walk. The whole family can take part and most walks are non competitive. It gives something for everyone to aim for, raises money for worthy causes and provides quality time spent together.