10 Ways to Make Your Dog Walk More Fun
We all know that we’re supposed to take our dogs out for a walk once a day, yet studies show that approximately 30% of us don’t.
Many of us fail to walk our dog once a day, and a big part of that is because it’s not very exciting. Doing the same thing everyday gets dull, and your daily dog walk is no exception. If you’re struggling to stick with a daily walking routine there is a solution; find ways to make them more fun & interesting.
The daily walk is such a vital part of our dogs routine, so it’s important to find ways to motivate yourself to stick with it. And the easiest way to do that? Add some variety to your walking routine to keep things interesting. Here’s 10 ways to make your dog walk more fun & interesting, for you and your dog alike.
1. Let Your Dog Be The Navigator
One easy way to make your dog walk more fun is by letting your dog decide where to go. It’s a little game I like to call “follow the dog.” Rather than take the standard route sit back and let your dog lead the way. Sure, your dog might end up leading you over to those trees where all the squirrels hang out or every fire hydrant on your block, but letting them choose is a nice way to give your dog a chance to show you what they find interesting.
2. Let Your Dog Sniff Around
Walks are great physical exercise, but they’re also a great way to keep our dogs mentally stimulated. Since most of our dogs stay at home while we work their walk represents the one time of day they get to go out and explore. Make it more exciting and enjoyable for them by letting them sniff and check things out. If you’re not a fan of stopping every 2 feet to let your dog sniff add in a few ‘sniff breaks’ throughout your walk.
3. Raise Money For Animal Rescue
You can make your dog walk more enjoyable by raising money for your favorite animal rescue. Apps such as ResQwalk & WoofTrax let you raise money for your animal welfare organizations just by walking. To use them you just hit start when you begin your walk, and when you’re done they’ll track your progress and it’ll be logged into the history for your selected animal organization.
4. Go to Your Local Park
Getting a little tired of walking through your own neighborhood everyday? Make your walk more fun for you and your dog by taking a trip to your local park. Exploring a new trail will give you plenty of pretty scenery to check out, and your dog will be thrilled by the ride alone, let alone all those new sights and smells. Not sure what park to go to? Here’s a list of dog friendly walking trails by state.
5. Switch Up Your Route
If you want to make your dog walk a little more exciting but don’t want to take a trip just try switching up your route. Next time you head out for a walk take a right instead of a left, or take your dog through a different neighborhood. Adding some variety into your walking routine will make it more enjoyable for you and your dog alike.
6. Invite a Friend Along
When was the last time you invited a friend over to catch up? I don’t know about you, but for me technology has changed ‘catching up’ from hanging out in real life to logging onto facebook. Make your dog walk more fun by inviting a friend or relative along. You can catch up on the latest news, and your dog will enjoy the extra company. And you might be surprised by how much more fulfilling hanging out in real life is rather than texting.
7. Switch Your Pace
What sort of pace do you keep when walking your dog? Do you keep up a brisk pace, jog, or take it nice and slow? Try switching it up from time to time. One of the best ways to make your walk more fun is by adding in some variety; and speed is a major component. I usually take it nice and slow, but every once in a while (after I’ve eaten too many cookies) I like to pick up the pace. Laika certainly doesn’t mind, she seems to enjoy the brisk pace even more.
8. Add In Some Training
When you’re out walking your dog you can make things more fun by adding in a few quick training sessions. You can practice some basic obedience such as stay, down and heel. If your dog isn’t used to training while out on a walk I suggest starting with the easy stuff. Dogs are easily distracted while outside, and it’s not as easy to keep your dogs attention when there’s all those smells (and squirrels) around. Training in different environments (such as on the walk) will increase your dog’s impulse control, and it’s a great way to sharpen up their focus.
9. Bring Some Treats for Nose Work
Laika loves nose work games, and when I want to make our walk even more enjoyable I’ll bring some treats along so we can play a few quick games. Toss some treats into the grass and encourage your dog to find them. Nose work games, such as teaching your dog to find treats, will give your dog a chance to sharpen up their natural sniffing abilities, and they give your dog a lot of extra mental stimulation.
10. Set Goals & Make a Game Out Of It
I don’t know about you, but I’m always setting goals for myself. It’s how I keep myself accountable, and because the daily walk is so important to my dog I make sure I stick to it by setting walking goals each week. And when I reach that goal? I reward myself with something fun like more TV cuddle time with Laika. My goal is usually “you need to walk 25% more this week because you ate all those cookies,” but yours may vary. There’s plenty of free walking apps available to help you keep track of your progress (you can also use a pedometer).
How Do You Make Your Dog Walk More Fun?
How do you make your your dog walk more fun? Do you let your dog choose the route? Do you stop for sniff breaks? When playing “follow the dog” has yours ever led you to her donkey friend down the street 4 days in a row, or is that just me?