If you are getting bored with walking your dog, do not let this mundane feeling cause you to stop going on these walks with your pup! Yes, it might be the same old sidewalk, same old smells, same old telephone poles and fire hydrants, but walking your dog regularly provides one of the best opportunities for you to bond with your dog… and it is good for your (and their) health. Instead, consider ways to spice up your routine!
There are easy ways to make walks more fun for both you and your dog. Even taking the opposite direction on your route or walking on the other side of the street can give you a different perspective and help you notice things you may have missed before.
Breaking up the walk by practicing basic commands is a good idea, too, and serves a dual purpose. In addition to getting extra practice, your dog will learn to follow the commands in a variety of places, making it more likely that he will obey in the face of distractions.
Here are a few simple games for making your walks more engaging:
“Find it” is an easy little game your dog will love. Just toss a treat in the grass or on the ground and let your dog sniff it out. Pair it with a command, like “Find it!” It’s a good mental exercise, plus when you see a cat or a stranger approaching, you’ll have a new trick to distract your dog’s attention.
Vary your walking direction: go backward from time to time. Your dog should have to pay close attention to keep a loose leash and stay with you. You can also vary your pace, going at a very slow trudge to a lively jog and everything in between. No leash pulling allowed, though!
Red Light, Green Light
Who didn’t play this game as a kid? It’s great for your dog, too, and it will help improve impulse control and pulling. As long as your dog keeps a loose leash, keep walking. When you feel any tension on the leash, stop in your tracks. Wait until your dog comes back to you in heel position and start again.
Every Dog Should Have His Day
Dog’s choice! Although you will want to start and end your walk with your normal loose leash walking exercise. During the walk, completely let him choose the direction you go and sniff at will, taking his time. This will be a huge win with your pup. You may want the walk for exercise, but the mental stimulation your dog gets from exploring the environment through his nose is beneficial for him and some breeds, the mental stimulation will be more of an exercise than if you ran around the block twice!
Do What Works for You
Shaking up your walk routine doesn’t have to be rocket science. Finding ways to engage your dog’s mind and senses should be rewarding for both you and your pet. Give a couple of these ideas a try and see if you don’t love walk again!