Making your daily dog walk more fun will increase your odds of getting proper pet exerciseThere’s no question that dogs need to be walked. Not only do walks provide our canine companions with the exercise they need to stay healthy, it also serves as their main form of mental stimulation and socialization. Dogs that are walked daily tend to be happier and have a stronger bond with their owners.

It’s easy for the daily dog walk to become routine, but a little creativity is all that’s needed to change that. Check out our tips for making your trip around the neighborhood with Fido more interesting and exciting for both of you.

Having Fun On The Daily Dog Walk

Try the following ideas to add variety to your walks:

  1. Stop and smell the roses (or trees, bushes, fence posts, fire hydrants, etc.)

A dog’s sense of smell is thought to be as much as 10,000 times better than ours. Indeed, a dog truly experiences the world through his or her nose. By letting your dog have some freedom to explore that rock, rose bush, or dry patch of grass, you are allowing him or her to take in the messages left by other dogs and to leave a response (in the form of a potty break).

  1. Mix it up

Walking the same old route every day can get boring pretty quickly. Make it more interesting for your dog and for yourself by trying a new route, neighborhood, or trail. Or change up your normal routine, and keep your dog on his or her toes, by walking in the opposite direction, walking faster than usual, or taking a quick detour down a different street as you walk along. Periodically switching direction also helps to reinforce that you are leading the walk, not your pooch.

  1. Field Trip!

Research neighborhoods with pet-friendly shops or restaurants and plan your walk around a little shopping or coffee sipping with your best (four-legged) pal. Try out local walking trails, dog parks, or dog-friendly beaches for a fun break from the regular walk. Just be sure your dog is properly socialized before heading to a public place.

  1. Socialize

Finding a buddy to walk with or introducing yourself to other dog owners in the neighborhood or at the dog park is a great way to make walks more enjoyable. Make sure to ask other dog owners if it’s safe for your dog to approach theirs, and skip this step altogether if your dog is aggressive or fearful around other people or dogs.  

  1. Be present

Perhaps one of the best ways to increase your enjoyment of the daily jaunt is to simply be present. By focusing on your dog, you will be alert to important moments of connection, such as when your pup glances up at you, moves closer to you, or walks nicely on the leash. By responding to these moments, you reinforce both your pet’s good behavior as well as the closeness between the two of you.

Being more engaged with your pet means also that you will be able to get his or her attention easier, and can use that attention to add moments of focus and interest to the walk.

What do you do to add interest to your daily dog walk? Let your friends at Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center know the next time we see you, or by posting on our Facebook page or other social media!