Both humans and dogs are creatures of habit, and often find a lot of comfort in our daily routines. However, it’s easy for things to move from “routine” to “mundane” if we’re not careful! Walking our dogs is something many people do at least once a day and it can, understandably, be difficult to find ways to keep things fresh! If you and your dog are starting to find yourselves simply drifting through your daily walks, then read on to see how you can make walks more interesting for you both!
Have a go at a 15-minute Rucksack Walk
The “rucksack walk” is designed to get dogs engaging with their humans and is also an excellent way to help a very busy or nervous dog to chill out. It’s useful for those who may have limited access to interesting spaces to walk in, can be done in short amounts of times and is a great way to reigniting the connection between dog and human. Dogs naturally spend much more time mooching and investigating the space they are in, as opposed to running around – so this is a good way to slow our dogs down and allow them to exhibit these natural behaviours.
The rucksack walk takes about 15 minutes and can be done in any calm location, such as a quiet corner of the park. It involves letting your dog mooch and sniff calmly in the area, followed by some short recalls and then sitting down with your dog and spending some time interacting and investigating the novel things you have brought with you in your rucksack. This is a great way to really spend some quality time together, interacting and engaging your dog’s senses. You can find more details on how to take your dog on a rucksack walk, here
Become “Urban Athletes
”Walking doesn’t need to be a chore – we can use the environment around us to find new ways to challenge our dogs. Climbing on unusual surfaces and walking over different terrain is a great way to get our dogs building their confidence as they navigate obstacles, as well as promoting body awareness. Most of all, it’s a great way to add some creativity and novelty to our walks! Check out our Urban Athletes course on Dogversity
, our online training school, for more on how to spice up your walks!
Do some training
Walks are a great opportunity to practice our training with our dogs! We tend to be moving through many different environments and come across numerous unpredictable distractions. This is a wonderful way to proof behaviours in new places and around new things, and a great way to get our practice in if we are pushed for time during the rest of the day. Not only that, but training keeps us engaged with our dogs and helps to build a strong relationship between us.
Go for a “sniffari”
A sniffari is simply a walk where we allow our dogs to use their noses and have a good sniff! Their sense of smell is a dog’s strongest sense, and walking our dogs without giving them time to sniff is a bit like us walking through beautiful countryside with a blindfold on. Our dogs can gain so much information about their environment from a good sniff. You can walk your dog on their regular walking lead or take your long line with you for these walks, to give them a bit more freedom to roam and follow scents. Slow down your walking – if you don’t go as far as usual, that’s fine! Take your time to move slowly through the environment, allowing your dog to mooch and have a proper good sniff! Many people also allow their dogs to choose where to go (within reason!) and simply follow the smells that pique their interest
Walk with a friend
Whether it is just another human, or a human and their dog, walking with company can be a great way to change up your walk. Your dogs don’t even have to go off lead for this to be a fun way to enrich their walks. Dogs really enjoy just “being” around one another – they don’t need to be constantly invading one another’s space and leaping around in high-energy play. Simply exploring their environment together, perhaps sharing in sniffing a particularly interesting spot, is a really relaxing and enjoyable experience for dogs. Even just walking with another human friend can give both you and your dog someone new to interact with and be a nice change to the usual trot around the neighbourhood.