Ideas to Make Dog Walking Fun
Through the eyes of your furry best pal, every time you leave the house is a new adventure. If only you could be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as your fluffiest (or furriest) friend every time. Stuck in a dog-walking rut? Here are some tips to make dog walking that extra bit more fun.
Treat it like a doggy/doggy doter date
Don’t treat dog walking like another chore. To revitalise your perspective, turn the daily grind into a daily look-and-ye-shall-find. Where should you look? Well, for starters, pry your eye away from your phone. In fact, perhaps you could try walking without one (though, admittedly, in the days of serial checking in and contact tracing, this may be a big ask). At the very least, keep your phone pocketed, whipping it out only when necessary.
Treat your dog as you would your date. You and your pooch probably don’t get concentrated time like this at any other time of the day. Savour it! And when it’s all over, much like a date, they may want sloppy kisses. This part is totally optional, of course, but the least you can do is invite them in for coffee* after! (*Please don’t actually give your dog coffee. A fresh bowl of water would be much more fitting after a walk!)
Vary it up
Back to the part about ‘look and ye shall find’: looking beyond your phone is merely scratching the surface. In fact, looking beyond your phone is likely what drew your attention back to your device in the first place. Why? Because it’s the same routine. You’ve seen it a million times before. Your phone likely provides fresher (albeit digital) perspectives. There is a better solution to this, though.
So what, pray tell, is the solution? It may sound obvious, but the answer is to venture elsewhere—or, at least, to vary up your walk often. The latter option will bring you more varied sensory interest, and it certainly will for your (far-more-easily-amused) dog. Dogs take to the daily walk with childlike enthusiasm. To keep their eyes aglow, keep them motivated with new scents, new surroundings, and new experiences.
Once a week, explore a new location! (This may be difficult if you are without a vehicle, but if you have the opportunity to do this, you should take it!) Is there a new (dog) park, beach, lake, or bush trail you could explore? It may involve travelling further afield. You know what they say, though: a change is as good as a holiday. Why not take a holiday free of charge at least once per week? Your dog may not be the only one who needs it!
Or maybe make it a doggy play date
Does your friend have a pupper, too? Maybe you and your pup could make new pals down at the local dog park. Whatever the situation, your dog will likely benefit from the socialising. Schedule a time to meet your friend in the approved off-lead dog park and let the dogs run free. Or head on down yourself and see what new human or canine companions you can acquire! If you’re feeling lazy, this is a great dog exercise hack. Your dog can run free, having the time of their life whilst socialising. You get to kick back, sip a takeaway coffee, and maybe have a chinwag with a mate. It’s a win-win!
Please note that, first and foremost, your dog walk should focus on building a connection between the two of you. However, making it a social occasion every now and then makes for a fun variation! And we’re all about adding variation to the mix. Please also note that some dogs don’t enjoy others’ company—be it canine or human—and so your dog should be wary before they try to hang out. Should there be any signs of aggression, call them back (or rein them in, if they’re on a leash).
Let the ‘scratch ‘n’ sniff’ happen!
Dogs need physical enrichment, and they make sense of the world via their nose. To make dog walking more fun—at least, on their end—take them somewhere where sniffing or hole-digging is allowed. For sniff-related activities, perhaps you’d like to take your dog to some bushes where new smells abound. There could be some tree stumps or fallen branches nearby to stand in as an obstacle course. Allow them to climb, sniff, and investigate all ‘round! This is a rich source of mental stimulation for your dog. Also, don’t shy away from the mud puddles and rivers. Dogs enjoy water-based activities too, so let them have a splash or a swim. You can always give them a bath after!
Ready to mix things up?
Are you feeling as excited about these ideas as we were giving them? Here’s hoping! Now that we have the blueprint down, let’s plan out your next adventure. Where is that one park you’ve been itching to check out, but is just slightly ‘too far away’? Let’s make that your next destination. Don’t have access to a vehicle? No worries. Let’s resolve that by scheduling a puppy playdate with a friend who could pick you up on the way.
If you just want to vary up your usual route, perhaps pull out a map (or Google Maps) and find some ‘unturned stones’ in your local area (or, at least, somewhere you haven’t been in a while). Go a slightly different way every single day. And, lastly, don’t be afraid of a few muddy paws! Your little angel may be perfect, but that doesn’t mean they’re pristine. Let dogs be dogs—and that means embracing the muck! What harm is a little mess, after all?
It’s about the mindset, too
Through dogs, we gain insight into a childlike innocence about which some of us may have forgotten. Even if it’s for just half an hour a day, let those inhibitions slide and see the world through the eyes of a puppy. The colour may be a little faded, but the worldview may be far less jaded! Dog walking should be fun for all involved—and that includes you, too. Now, attach that leash, and let’s let loose! Where are we going first?