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How to make your dog’s walks more interesting

When our dogs need walking every day, it can be hard not to become a creature of habit. We go to the same place, take the same route, and after a while, it can become a little dull. So how can you make walks more interesting for you and your dog, so each one brings with them new experiences and excitement?

Well, we have a few things you might like to try.

Explore a new path

One of the easiest ways to change things up is to go to a new walking location or simply choose a different path. The new environment will bring with it new sights and smells which you can experience together. If you want to do something really adventurous you could even pick out a new walk on an Ordnance Survey map, and go for a proper explore with your pup.

Go with a friend

Dog walking is often a solitary activity, but it doesn’t have to be. Why not invite a friend along to join you? You’ll enjoy having someone to chat to, and your dog will enjoy having another person to give them attention, and if your friend has a dog then they’ll love having someone to play with too.

Let your dog lead

It’s time to take a step back and let your dog be the navigator; rather than diligently sticking to your route, let them lead instead. Yes, this could end in the both of you ending up in a squirrel chase, or finding all the muddy puddles, but it certainly won’t be dull. It also gives your dog a chance to show you what they find interesting, and they’ll love the freedom of it too.

Add in some training

Training is a great way to add some mental stimulation into your dog’s walks, and it’s really enriching for them. You could work on that new trick you’ve been practicing, or even take a look at some basic commands like sit, stay or heel. There will be lots of distractions outside which could make training more challenging, but it will also increase your dog’s impulse control and sharpen their focus.

Practice your off-lead walking

Having the freedom to walk off-lead is always going to make a walk more interesting for your dog, but it’s important that you can do so safely. So when you come across an area where it’s safe for your dog to run free, why not have a practice? You can make it into a game as well as an obedience session by changing direction and pace. It’s always a good idea to keep these sessions short and sweet as they require your dog to use a lot of concentration, and you might find it helpful to bring along their favourite toy or a tasty treat to help motivate them.

Play hide-and-seek

A brilliant way to keep your dog on their paws during a walk is to encourage them to use all their senses by playing hide and seek. Simply wait until they are having a good sniff and then hide behind a tree, or squat down out of sight, making sure that you can still see them even if they can’t see you.  Wait a moment or two, then call your dog’s name and watch as they try to find you, knowing they’ll be so pleased with themselves when they do. Of course, if at any point your dog looks worried that you’ve disappeared, you can always reveal your hiding spot to them.

Encourage your dog to sniff

It’s no secret that a dog’s nose is extremely powerful, and encouraging your dog to use it is really enriching for them. So make sure you give them time to investigate with their nose as you walk, either letting them sniff as you go or adding in sniff breaks every now and then. You could even take it one step further by adding in some treats for them to find. Ask your dog to stay as you take some treats and scatter them around the path.  Then let them use that amazing nose to discover their tasty snacks.

Bring a toy

Walking is all about putting one paw in front of the other, but a fun way to change things up is to bring along your pup’s favourite toy. You can stop every now and then for a quick game, and by stopping the game while your dog is still interested, you’ll inspire them to keep an eye on you in case the toy comes out and it’s time to play again. This is a great way to encourage them to pay attention to you, and it will certainly brighten up their walk.

Wherever you decide to walk, adding in some of these ideas will make each one feel new and exciting, helping to keep your dog’s sense of walkies wonder alive. And no matter how different each of your walks are, you can keep track of them all with the PitPat Dog Activity monitor, and see just how much walking, running and playing your dog is doing each day.

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