23 Apr 5 ways to make your daily dog walk more interesting
How to make your daily dog walk more interesting
Four weeks into lockdown and it’s probably been a while since your dog had a good run around off leash and properly stretched their legs.
A decrease in physical exercise and social dog play has likely started to take a toll on your pet too and a standard street walk may not do much for their energy levels. The travel restrictions on us and our pets during lock down likely mean you haven’t ventured out of your neighbourhood and therefore walks are probably feeling very repetitive right about now!
There are lots of ways to make your dog’s daily walk (or walks) more interesting, enriching, and fun for both of you!
- Play ‘follow the dog’.
In other words, let your dog lead the way! Rather than take your normal route, let your dog decide where to go. You may find they walk a very similar route anyway or you might end up walking somewhere completely different! This will give your dog new smells and is a great way to find out what your dog finds interesting as well.
- Add in some training!
Practice cues your dog already knows but add in new ones as well. You can practice general obedience like heel, wait, and stay but it’s also really easy to practise tricks on the sidewalk too. Training on walks is a great way to help improve your dogs impulse control, increase their focus, and proof behaviours with distractions. If training while out walking is a new concept for your pet then start with the basics and use really high value training treats.
- Introduce scent work
This is great fun for your dog and can add a lot of mental enrichment into your pet’s walk. Take treats with you and on wider grassy berms or areas toss a handful of treats for your dog to sniff out. This is also a great way to keep your dog focused elsewhere if you need to distract them from something or get them off the footpath while other dogs and people walk by.
- Encourage sniffing!
It is hard for us hoomans to fathom exactly how high powered a dog’s nose is and how beneficial it is for them to investigate smells. But if you’ve read my earlier blogs here you will know how important it is to let them sniff. I cringe when I see people walking their dogs and either not allowing them any freedom to sniff or dragging their dog away each time the dog stops to smell something. One way to make your dog walks more fun is to give your dog plenty of opportunities to sniff and to stop when they want to stop and sniff. They will really enjoy it!
- Doggy parkour!
This is slowly becoming more popular for our pooches. Use the environment to introduce something different to your walk. Examples of things you can do are asking your dog to jump over things e.g. fallen trees, ask them to walk along things e.g. retaining walls, ask them to jump up and sit on something such as a park bench or a tree stump. Let your imagination run wild! Doggy parkour can also be a great confidence booster for your dog and is good for their balance.
So in these last few weeks of lockdown and alert level 3 see what you can discover, learn or introduce to your daily dog walk to make it more exciting and enriching for your dog. They’ll love you for it!