People frequently say that we are supposed to walk our dogs once a day; however, studies show that at least 30% of people do not follow this advice. Walking our dogs can be a tedious activity, many factors in our environment can also make it stressful. Nevertheless, we are going to talk about different ways to make this activity fun and healthy.
- Encourage your dog to be the navigator: It is fascinating to let your dog find the path to walk; this way of walking can break with dull days of taking your dog out. You could end up behind some trees while your dog looks for squirrels, but that is fun!
- Give some help to an animal rescue organization: You can feel better while walking your dog if you are contributing to charity. Some apps such as ResQwalk and Wooftrax allow you to raise money for animals just by walking. You just have to log in and press start when going out with your dog, follow their instructions for more information.
- Visit a local park: If you are tired of your neighborhood and surroundings, you can take your dog to visit a park. It will allow him/her to explore even more and maybe meet a new friend.
- Change your routes often: Seeing new places or even the same one from a different perspective can make your walk more enjoyable. Try to walk in different directions in the same neighborhood to achieve this goal.
- Invite a friend: Our society has been changing drastically lately, and our connection with friends tends to develop on the internet. However, inviting a friend to walk your dog with you can be a very joyful experience that will entertain your friend, your dog, and of course yourself.
- Change your pace: It could get boring if you always walk at the same pace. Varying your speed could entertain both you and your dog while exploring both of your capacities. Maybe one day you could go slowly and the next one a little faster, remember always to bring water in case your dog gets tired of going fast.
- Include training in your routine: Your walk can be more exciting and productive if you add some training sessions to it. Basic obedience, heel, and down could be easily practiced, and if your dog is not used to training, they are great options to start with. Dogs typically get distracted when they are outside. There are too many sounds, smells, and impulses that he/she could have. However, this could be an advantage because it can help her/him to have a better impulse control and learn even more with training.
- Let your dog sniff around: Letting your dog smell the environment and explore is very positive. You are allowing him/her to understand new items and develop her/his sense of smell. You can take this activity one step further and find strategies to train her/his smelling capacity and maybe use it for fun purposes.
- Bring treats to the walk: Hiding some treats in the ground and giving your dog the opportunity to find them is a great way to play. Also, it gives your dog the ability to develop new smelling capacities and mental stimulation. Treats can also be used for training and other physical games for your dog.
- Set goals both for you and your dog: Daily work is essential for your pet, but it is also important for you. Walking your dog is a great way to maintain yourself healthy, and you can take advantages out of it. Try to walk a little bit more each week, and write down your progress to continue improving.
About the author:
Dr. Stephanie Flansburg-Cruz practices mixed animal veterinary medicine and she has a special interest in shelter medicine and animal welfare. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at local animal shelters, reading, writing and traveling.