5 Ways to Motivate Yourself For a Dog Walk
We all know that walking our dog at least once every day is recommended, but many of us struggle to fit it into our schedule.
Dog Walking Can Feel Tedious at Times
I bet your daily dog walk gets tedious, I know mine does when I stick to the same old route. And I’m sure that’s why only half of us take our dog for a daily walk. To make sure keep up with walking every day I keep these little motivational tips in mind.
And these little reminders work – Laika and I have a walking routine that’s been easy to stick to. The only difficulty was making it a habit to begin with, but once that habit was formed it became second nature. Unless the weather gets unruly or one of us is sick we’re out there walking once a day.
If you find yourself unmotivated to walk try some of these tips to get yourself inspired.
1. Remind Yourself How Much it Means to Your Dog
Have you ever wondered why our dogs get so damned excited when it’s time for a walk? Our dogs don’t get choose when it’s time to go out and explore, they depend on us. For many that dog walk (and when you come home from work) is the highlight of their day.
For our dogs a walk isn’t just about exercise – often times it’s the only chance they get to go out and explore. Next time you catch yourself saying “do I really have to…” just remember how happy that walk will make your dog.
Is this a guilt trip? Probably, but it works on my little brain. Bur rather than thinking of it as guilt I like to think of it as the ability to empathize with my dog. I wouldn’t want to spend my days cooped up inside, and I’m pretty sure our dogs feels the same way. The walk is such a simple way to add more meaning and enrichment to our dog’s daily routine.
2. Staying Active is Great For Both You & Your Dog
Being fit helps both you and your dog live longer, healthier lives. And you don’t need to partake in marathons either, something as simple as walking 20 minutes a day can have a significant impact on your overall health.
When given the choice of doing sit ups, push ups, or walking I’ll always opt for the walk. And If I’m going to be committed to some daily exercise I might as well make it something that’s easy for Laika and I to do together.
Half of the pets in the U.S. are overweight. Keeping our dogs fit is our responsibility, and a daily walk is one easy way to keep them fit.
Since Laika was diagnosed with arthritis our daily walk has become even more important for her health. Although arthritis is progressive the right amount of exercise helps reduce many of the complications. Walking is perfect for arthritis dogs, it’s low impact and helps keep those muscles strong.
Because many dog breeds have the potential for numerous health concerns, regular exercise can contribute immeasurably to their well-being. In addition, it’s through sufficient physical stimulation that they also get to expend their excess energy which will help them stay happy and out of trouble. – The Dogington Post
3. Double Duty: Practice Some Training On Your Walk
There are a lot of simple training exercises Laika and I do on walks. Sometimes it’s just practicing some impulse control out in the open, and other times we’ll stop for some simple nose work. When it comes to training the environment makes a huge difference. Working in the living room is a lot different than working outside with a bunch of distractions.
I find that Laika is much calmer after a walk that includes some training than she from a fast paced one. Having to focus outside with all those distractions isn’t easy for many dogs, and it’s a real mental workout.
Getting your dog to focus outdoors is easier said than done, especially with a leash reactive dog. Consistent training in different situations is key, and the walk is a perfect opportunity to get in a few short sessions. Since we try to train a little each day adding it to the walk is a simple way to cross two daily tasks off my list at the same time.
Does your dog have a tendency to pull a lot on walks? Get yourself a front clip harness. Harnesses that clip on your dogs back actually promote more pulling by taking your dogs focus away from you. I got myself a front clip harness a few years ago and it made an immediate difference.
4. Make it an Adventure by Exploring Somewhere New
Once or twice a week I’ll find a new place to go walking. It might be the beach, a local park, or it might just be a new neighborhood. I like to think of exploring new locations as an “adventure,” and if that doesn’t sound very exciting to you just take a look at how thrilling it is to your dog.
Have you been to all your local parks and gone on all the trails? Every time we explore a new trail there’s always something new to check out – whether it’s a historic site or a peaceful stream. As an added bonus we’re always running into new people and their dogs, and that that social interaction is great for Laika since she tends to be a bit reactive.
5. Invite a Friend or Family to Join You
Communication is becoming less and less personal these days, it’s often just status updates and texts. When is the last time you invited a friend over to do something simple like take a walk? Having some face to face conversation is a really nice relaxing change of pace.
I don’t know about you but when I grew up we didn’t have cell phones. (cue the old woman shaking her fist “you kids these days…”) When we wanted to hang out we actually hung out – in real life. It’s nice to see our with friends and family in person. And most of our dogs enjoy that extra attention, too.
How Do You Motivate Yourself to Take Your Daily Walk?
How do you stick to your walking routine? Does your routine get tedious? How do you make your dog walks more fun? Does your dog have a special way of reminding you when it’s time for your walk?
Blueberry's human says
I, too, try to remember that Blueberry has to rely on me to take her anywhere. Whereas I get to go to work or shopping, she basically is homebound. I know that whenever I am sick or when I’ve been without a vehicle – it can feel claustrophobic to have only the house and yard to look at. Although my biggest obstacle is the heat right now.
Jen Gabbard says
The heat has been really crazy lately, but yeah I do my best to remember that I am my dog’s only source of entertainment. A walk might not mean much to me but it means so much to her.
We can’t understand lack of motivation for walks as we all love them. We always change it up with the route and who is walking with who, it is just ingrained to get out and walk. If we know rain or snow is coming, Mom mentally prepares so she is ready to head out in the bad weather and have fun.
Jen Gabbard says
It was really hard trying to find any sort of concrete number on what percentage of owners take a daily walk with their dogs – it ranged from 35-70%. I’ve heard 50% quite often, it’s really surprising that half of our dogs aren’t getting to go out once a day. I’m glad you have fun in the bad weather – I don’t mind rain or snow, but I draw the line at hail lol.
Lauren Miller says
Great post! Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to walk but seeing the joy on their faces is so worth it!
Lindsay Stordahl says
I’ve always been pretty motivated to walk my dog every day. I believe it’s because when I adopted him, I was committed to walking or running him every single morning for bonding purposes and to help him be the best dog he can be. It was our time to work on training and of course to drain his young-dog energy.
Today, our walks are short but they are special to me. It is a relaxing start to my day and time to spend with Ace where I am not distracted. His favorite walks, though, are when I drive him somewhere exciting like the beach or a trail. I am not very motivated to do those things because it takes more time and planning.
Kimberly Morris Gauthier says
I always remind myself how much fun we have. Walking four dogs isn’t always easy, but the dogs are doing a really great job on our walks and if I walk them early in the morning, we have the trail to ourselves.
2 brown dawgs blog says
Great tips. I need to get out more to walk after my surgery but it has been so blasted hot that I am finding it difficult and uncomfortable.
I love your tips! Haley’s good at always reminding me how much it means to her but my favorite tips are the last two. I would go insane walking the same path everyday, so going to new places definitely keeps me motivated and Haley’s always excited to see and smell new things. Your last tip is really a fun thing to do too!
Some great ideas. I like to imagine I’m experiencing the world through my nose like my dogs do and make up stories in my mind about the things i’m smelling.
Jen Gabbard says
That’s a nice way to think about it, I’m going to have to try it. I bet it makes it a lot easier to remain patient while they explore their surroundings.
These are great tips. When I am feeling a bit lazy I always try to remind myself how much it means to the dogs. It is their only real glimpse of the outside world they get on a daily basis and that mental stimulation is so important.
Julie Diaz says
Even if am feeling lazy to go on a walk with my dog, there is no way to evate it. My husky stands in front of my window howling, barking, and my lab starts whining until they see me come out that door. My husky especially loves his walks, and i just can’t say no.
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