- Try a New Route: If we’re being honest, dog walks can be a bit mundane for us hoomans, so it’s easy to pick one path for every single walk. The whole experience becomes a bit routine and automatic, and even though Fido appreciates any and all walks, a little variety can add some excitement to his day. When you head out for your National Walk Your Dog Day Walk, take a right instead of a left, go to a completely different neighborhood, or maybe even try a hike. If you’re trying a place that’s completely new make sure you have a reliable leash so you can keep your pup close and avoid him getting loose while he’s exploring his new surroundings. You may even consider a GPS tracker if you decide to go somewhere with a lot of trails and/or woods.
- Bring Snacks: Make your pup feel like she’s hit the jackpot by bringing along some treats. You can use them to reward her for following commands like heel and sit. Or, if you want to make her feel like a four-legged Dora the Explorer, hide some treats along your path and let her nose do the work. Small training treats work really well for a hide and seek game. Aside from the extra treats, you should also bring some water and a collapsible dog bowl in case you decide to go on a longer walk.
- Challenge Each Other: In today’s tech age, it’s very likely that you track your steps with a fitness tracker or smartphone. You may already have weekly step or exercise goals that you’re trying to meet, so why not include your pup on your fitness challenge? Plan a walk that will be x amount of steps and give yourself and your pup a nice reward if you reach your goal. You can even compete on your total daily steps with this pet fitness tracker. Will Princess have you beat?
- Play Follow the Leader: As pet parents it’s pretty common for us to lead the way when we go out for a walk. What we don’t realize is that leading often deprives our pups the opportunity to stop and sniff around when they smell or see something interesting. Try letting your pup use his senses to figure out where he wants to go and then follow. Will you end up in front of a random tree for 20 minutes, possibly, but this walk isn’t about you Karen! 😉
- Focus on Training: Obedience training may sound like a lot of work, but believe it or not, our pups like to have a job to do and they like to show us what they’re capable of. Practicing basic commands like stay, down and heel, while outside can give even a trained pup an extra fun challenge. It is more difficult for dogs to focus on commands when there are new distractions around them. Using your walk time to train in a different environment can increase your dog’s impulse control, and it’s a great way to sharpen his focus. This would be a good time to pull out those treats again. A training clicker can also help with getting your dog’s attention when he starts to lose focus.
If all goes well, your pup will be thoroughly tired at the end of your walk and you can use the rest of the day for snuggles. You should also give each other a “high paw” for all the great work you just did!