An enriching walk will help tire out your dog both mentally and physically, which can result in better behaviour for the rest of the day – but as dog walks need to happen every day, it’s important to think of ways to keep them fun for both you and your pup! Here are some ways to make walks as fun as possible for both canines and humans.
1. Practice off lead walking
Practice a little off-lead walking when you’re in a safe area where you can let your dog run free — never when near a main road though. Keep these sessions short as they require a lot of concentration and self discipline, and make them as exciting as possible with lots of changes of speed and direction. Not only is it an obedience exercise for your dog, he’ll view it as a game and he’ll enjoy rising to the challenge as much as you!
Tip: Make sure you have some treats to help the training process, especially if there are lots of other distractions as he could end up wondering off rather than staying by your side!
2. Encourage sniffing
It is hard for humans to even begin to comprehend what a dog’s sense of smell is like. It’s thought to be as much as 10,000 times better than ours. This means that smells are incredibly important to them. So, when your dog stops to sniff something, let him have a moment to really fully enjoy it.
3. Take a different route
Lots of dog lovers come up with a route that works for them and stick with it forever because that’s the easiest thing to do, but over time this can bore both you and your dog. If you want to liven things up, you can make a small change, such as walking the opposite direction on your next walk.
4. Play hide and seek
Encourage your dog to use all his senses by playing a game of hide-and-seek with him. Wait for a moment when he’s busy investigating something else and hide behind a tree. Although hiding yourself from his view, make sure you can see him so you can call him again if necessary to help guide him to your hiding place! Be ready with a toy or treat and plenty of praise when he finds you. As well as being fun, this game can often help improve recalls.
5. Find a walking buddy
Having a friend to walk with can liven up walks instantly! It’s nice to have other human beings to talk to when you’re out on the walk so call some friends to come along- even better if your friend is also a dog owner, then your pets might enjoy the opportunity to play together. Alternatively introduce yourself to other dog owners in your area and see if you can meet up a few times a week for a dog walk.