Did you know January is ‘Walk Your Dog Month’? During the coldest and shortest days of the year the weather and light can tend to have an impact on when, how, where and how long you walk your dog. This means we can tend to get into a boring routine of doing the same route at the same time on the same days.
So, how can you jazz up walks with your dog whilst introducing more fun for both you and your four legged friend…?
Who doesn’t love a snack whilst you’re on an outing? We sure as heck do and we’re pretty confident your dog will too. But you can use treats to reward training when they achieve commands such as ‘heel’. Also nose training is a great way to sharpen up your dog’s sniffing abilities. Just throw their treats up into the grass and let them try to sniff them out. Our Well Tasty Cod Skins would be perfect for this!
Stop and Say Hello
Dogs are social creatures and enjoy people’s company, whether it be from someone they know or meeting a new stranger. Next time you’re on a walk, stop and chat to a fellow dog owner and let your dog have a sniff around. Or factor in walk past a friends house or a local dog friendly business and pop in to let your dog socialise.
January is the month of New Year’s Resolutions so a lot of people are more health conscious. A great way to challenge yourself and get you and your dog fit (as well making your walks more interesting) is to alternate your pace. Quick bursts of fast walking, jogging or running in between walking will help your dog stretch his/her muscles, increase their heartbeat and most important burn excess energy.
Most dog’s love having something to do, whether it be a ‘job’ for their owner or playing a game. So introducing fetch on a walk will not only give your dog added exercise but it will also provide mental stimulation through training. Dogs also learn to associate things with particular activities such as a lead or collar with a walk. So grabbing one of their toys before you head out the door will let them know there’s a sure sign of playtime at some point in the walk!
Your dog’s entire walk doesn’t have to be under strict control - if anything this would make it less fun for you! So try out some loose lead training. Let your dog relax, sniff around a bit and then practise some commands like ‘watch’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Keep it fun and exciting by training in blocks to keep your dog on his toes but to also let him have the opportunity to do his own thing in between. When you’ve mastered the basics, teach your dog some tricks and add this into the training!
A walk with your dog doesn’t have to be the same dull routine from one day to the next. If you’re bored, then your dog sure as heck will be too. Making changes and adding something new into the mix each and every time you walk your dog will keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated. So let's keep it fun and keep your and your dog both healthy.