🌶 Spice up your daily dog walking routine!
Dogs need exercise just like people do, but sometimes just walking around your local neighbourhood can get a little boring. If you’re looking for ways to make your dog’s walks more exciting, try these fun exercises…
Change the route – Try walking somewhere different, taking a trip to the beach, or explore a local forest trail. New places to explore are exciting for your dog, so jump in the car and go further afield.
Walk on different surfaces – Dogs can suffer joint problems from constantly walking on hard surfaces like concrete pavements, so it’s a good idea to walk on different surfaces such as grassy meadows or wooded areas, which are softer on your dog’s paws.
Include training – Training your dog outside teaches them to focus and makes walks more fun. Spend a few minutes each walk doing some training exercises. The distractions outside make training more rewarding and don’t forget to take some healthy treats along as a reward.
Break it up – Sometimes, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to go on the same walk every day. Try to include other things like a stop off at a dog-friendly café for a coffee, visit the pet store or meet up with other dog owners to make walks more interesting for both you and your furry friend.
Utilise obstacles – A fantastic way to give your pooch a full body workout is to make it into an obstacle course. Encourage them to wriggle under park benches, climb steps, pick their feet over fallen branches or walk around lampposts.
Treasure hunt – Devise a treasure trail with some treats leading to a reward such as their favourite toy. Or you could even use yourself as the ‘treasure’ a make it a hide & seek exercise, such as hiding behind a tree, which will encourage them to seek you out. Ensure you take some treats along to reward them when they find you and give them lots of praise! This is an excellent activity for Spaniels, Labradors and Beagles who love following their noses.
Let them sniff – A dog uses their powerful sense of smell to glean information, who’s been where and what they were doing – which is part of the reason walks are such an adventure! Let them sniff and explore their surroundings; it’s incredibly stimulating for them and mental stimulation tires a dog out almost as much as physical activity.
Include some play-time – Make things a little more interesting by bringing some toys on your walk with you and engaging in some playtime. Just remember to have your dog earn the playtime first by walking nicely for a while first. Then you can spend a few minutes tossing a frisbee or tennis ball for them or playing a game of tug.
A walk doesn’t have to be boring! Give you and your dog the chance to sprint, play, sniff, jump and search. Encourage them, reward them and more than anything enjoy your time with them. These exercises will not only improve your dog’s mood and relieve anxieties, they will strengthen the bond between both dog and owner.