Do you walk your dog the same route every day? Do you find it boring or do you just walk on auto pilot? Have you ever noticed how excited your dog gets when you go somewhere like the beach at the weekend? That’s because it’s different to their normal routine – unless you are lucky enough to live right near the beach of course!
Dogs generally love a change to their routine in the same way that we do when it come to walks. If you go the same route every day, the smells and sights will probably be the same unless you bump into a new dog or person along the way. This means that your morning walk may only be meeting the physical needs of your dog and not the emotional or psychological ones.
Those with busy lives may not have the time to go to a new location or for an extended walk, but you can still make your walk more interesting for your dog.
Simple things like doing your walk route in reverse, turning left instead of right or walking on the opposite side of the road can help make things different. You could take a shorter but slower stroll to allow your dog to sniff and investigate all the verges, lampposts and hedges (it will be much more fun for your dog and you can take the time to notice what is going on around you).
You could drive a short distance, have a shorter walk in a new place and be back in the same time you normally take. Your dog will enjoy new experiences and will be mentally challenged as a change from just walking or running around – you might even find they are more tired.
Taking treats along can also help switch up your walk. Rewarding good behaviour or practicing some training can provide interest for both you and your dog. You may want to throw or hide treats as you walk and let your dog find them. Your dog will enjoy the interaction, helping to build the bond between you.
Whatever you do, mixing up your walk can make for a happier dog and you’ll probably enjoy walk time a bit more too!