Just like doing the same thing day in and day out gets boring to you, your furry companion feels the same. Since going on walks is one of the most common outdoor things you and your dog do together, why not make them fun and interesting?
Here are a couple of suggestions to help you add some excitement to those daily walks.
Take a new route
Walking along the same path every time can get old for you and your pooch. So try switching up your route every other day or each week. By doing so, there will be lots of new smells and sounds to keep your dog happy and engaged.
Consider walking by a park, a lake where your little buddy can see and smell new scents and observe some wildlife like ducks. Or maybe there is a big field around the block where he can get a little off-leash run time to really liven things up (make sure it is permitted).
Stop at a friend’s house
Dogs are social just like us. Stopping by a friend’s house is not only a good break in the middle of the walk but your pup will get to explore a new setting. Homes have lots of interesting smells for dogs (sometime for us too if your friend happens to be cooking a tasty meal.) Even if you don’t go inside, just standing around and chatting can be fun for your dog too as they will hopefully get a bit of attention from your friend.
Take the time to talk to people
Don’t just meet with friends on your walk, say hi to new neighbors. You’ll make some new friends in the neighborhood and your canine sidekick will get to sniff somebody new. Bring along a couple of treats and encourage the person to feed them to your dog. This will have the added bonus of making your dog friendlier with strangers, because she will begin to associate them with tasty snacks.
Do some reward training
Walks are always a good time to do some training, too. The reason being is that there are some distractions – new smells, other pups walking and unusual noises – so it forces them to work on their focus and attention. Since this isn’t really a dedicated training session and you may not have copious amounts of time, it’s best to just reinforce commands your doggy already knows. Bring along some treats to make it even more fun.
Find a walking companion
Try and find a neighbor of friend with a dog and plan on walking together. You probably can’t do it every day, but there is no reason you can make a point of doing it at least once or twice a week. Not only can it be a time for you to catch up but your dog’s can tag team, peeing on each other’s favorite spots. Plus, dogs are pack animals, so they often enjoy having a bud alongside them.
If your friend doesn’t have a dog of their own, you can have her stand 20’ or 30’ away and call your dog. Then, after your pooch reaches your friend and gets a nice scratching, call her back and give her a treat. It’s like playing ping pong with your dog (but make sure it is an enclosed space).
Use your surroundings
Next time you go for a walk with your pooch, take some time to check out your surroundings. Are there any good obstacles for her to jump over or crawl under? Maybe you can move a rock or small log, which will release fresh new scents for your pooch. Whatever is available to you, use it to make the walk more engaging. It makes the walk a little more strenuous and also adds a bit of fun and mental stimulation.
Always remember that the walk should be your dog’s special time. Don’t rush her, but rather let her take the time to sniff the roses (or the telephone poll if that’s what she prefers.)
Image via Monique Toro