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Are you getting the best out of your dog walks?

02/05/2022 - Puppy & Dog Training Advice

How much are you and your dog getting out of your daily walks? For many of us, it’s all too easy to fall into a boring routine and forget to make the most of the time we are spending with our four-legged friends. We’re here to give you 10 ways to make sure you and your pup are spending valuable time together that you’ll be able to look back on fondly!

Put your phone away. 
It’s so easy in this day and age to plod along staring at our phones while we’re walking our dogs! In the meantime, we might as well send a drone out to walk our dogs. If we’re staring at our phones, we’re not present and both we and our dogs are missing out. Pop your phone back in your pocket and take the time to watch your dog, notice how they’re feeling and what they enjoy most on their walks, and stay connected and engaged.

Remember that it’s their walk.
Dog walks can start to feel like a chore and we can easily begin to focus on getting from A to B, so we can tick the box and call it a job done. But our dog’s walk should be just that – their walk. Dogs take in the world by using their nose, so give them time to relax and sniff as they walk along. Walks should be relaxing, fun and enriching for our dogs – being marched around the block isn’t much in the way of enrichment!

Plan a new walk once a week for exploration and fun.
As we’ve mentioned above, a march around the block isn’t much fun. Plan to walk somewhere new or unusual once a week to give both yourself and your dog some variety! Explore a new place together and have fun!

Use walks as an opportunity to meet up with other dog-friendly people.
This could be friends, family members or locals. You can even meet like-minded dog owners in our Facebook community group when you join our training, here!

Make the walk part of a treat for us humans!
Maybe a stop at the corner café or the local pub! Make sure your dog is pub-ready with our Pub Dog Training Course!

Do an on-lead walk to focus on connection!
Incorporate fun training exercises such as checking in, let’s go, hand touch, leg weaves and more! This will help build your relationship with your dog, improve their engagement with you and make walks a truly fun bonding activity for you both. It has the added benefit of helping to improve your lead walking and recall!

Do some doggy parkour!
This is a great way to bring our walks to the next level – literally! Build your dog’s confidence and turn your walks into a game: you’ll love seeing what your dog is capable of. Doggy parkour is a great way to make your dog’s walks a real adventure, rather than a chore. Check out our Urban Athletes course for inspiration!

Visit somewhere and just observe your surroundings.
The hustle and bustle of daily life can be overwhelming for all of us – our dogs included. Find somewhere picturesque and relaxing where you and your dog can just chill out together and take it all in. Many of our dogs only know how to go at 100mph when they’re out and really struggle to truly relax outdoors – spending some time doing nothing but being together and watching the world go by can be a welcome relief from the pressure to stay busy every second of their walks!

Focus on quality, not quantity.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of ticking a box – prescribing our dogs 1, 2 or more walks per day for a set amount of time and over a set distance. While an adequate amount of physical exercise is of course important for our dogs, walks shouldn’t be all about getting our steps in. Use the tips above to make sure you and your dog are having enjoyable, enriching, relaxing and fun walks. Particularly if your dog finds some aspects of their walks stressful, consider different activities to meet your dog’s needs without the high stress levels. Check out our blog on things to do with reactive dogs for more inspiration!

Remember to include rest days!
Good walks are often surrounded with rest days! Even if your dog loves their walks, they can be exhausting – just like us, our dogs often appreciate a day off if they’ve had a long, busy, tiring day. This is great for our dogs’ mental health, as even an enjoyable walk will lead to a tired dog who will be less tolerant and able to cope with any difficult situations they might run into. A quiet day at home utilising some of the ideas in the blog linked above is a great way to spend the days before and after a big walk. Routine rest days are also a great way to make sure our dogs can relax and switch off at home – this is a vital life skill, as our dogs often can’t go out. Whether it is because of extreme weather like intense heat or a big storm, if our dogs (or ourselves) are out of action due to injury or illness or life simply gets in the way, a dog who knows how to chill out and take a day off will be much happier.
 

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