We all know the benefits of taking our dogs for walks. It improves our health and theirs, it helps to build our relationships with our pups and it is one of the best ways to tire our dogs out. It is no coincidence that the phrase “A tired dog is a happy dog” is such a widely used one. It can be hard to find the time to take our dogs on long walks daily though. Not only that but it can be really easy and common to get stuck in routines, walking the same paths, doing the same loops and heading to the same trail over and over. This routine can start to make walking your dog feel like more of a chore than a pleasure at times. Also, that routine will start to tire our dogs out less and less as they get used to their surroundings. There is hope though! Take these ten tips to heart and start getting the most out of your walks possible!
Throw Treats. Dogs love to search and use their nose. It is an awesome idea to reward your dog by scattering some treats right on the ground. You could take it to the next level by tossing treats off trail or into a bush. Have a dog who hates when you stop to take a break? (Manzo is one of those dogs) Try tossing treats for them to search for to keep them busy as you relax and catch your breath!
Hide ‘n’ Seek. Hiding on your dog and asking them to search for you can be so much fun! If your dog gets a little too far ahead of you, you could jump behind a tree or rock before calling them back. You could also set them up in a stay before hiding. This game will improve your dog’s recall and they will love finding you! Using their nose and brain to find you will wear them out more than normal recall games.
Walking Tricks. If tricks are something you and your dog love take them out on the trail! Touch, spin, leg weaves, and jump are all tricks you can practice without even stopping.
Sniffari. Let your dog decide where to go. Let them follow their nose (as long as it isn’t anything disgusting.) You may find some amazing things out in the woods you never would have in any other situation. Don’t want to bushwhack through the woods? Let your dog decide which way to go when you get to a fork in the trail. Just say “Okay, where are we going?” Empower your dog to make their own choices.
Swimming. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise we can provide for our dogs. There is practically no impact and the resistance of the water gives some pretty strong benefits. Have a dog that does not love water? Try tossing a treat into a stream so they go treat bobbing. The puzzle here requires plenty of mental stimulation. Avoid tossing too many treats as dogs can drink too much water and get sick.
Parkour. Asking your dog to interact with their environment in unique and fun ways provides them with some extra stimulation, works their muscles and allows you to start to see your trails in a different light. Suddenly everything is a fun and interesting obstacle for you and your dog to interact with!
Bring A Toy. Taking along your dog’s favorite toy is a great way to wear them out and keep their attention on you. It can also double as a great reward for recall. If you have a toy they love to interact with they are more likely to stick around to play instead of hunting for squirrels. Just be sure you are not throwing it into an unsafe area!
Go Somewhere. Breaking your normal walk routine can be so beneficial. If you take your dog somewhere new they will get a lot more out of a shorter walk than usual. The new smells will keep them so busy they will wear themselves out much quicker than your usual loop will. It will provide you with new sights and experiences to enhance your time with your dog.
Work On Your Dog’s Manners. Ask for attention exercises, randomly change directions, practice their recall, work on U-turns, touch, default sits. Whatever you are working on with your pup, take it to the trail!
Enjoy Each Other. Next time you get to a beautiful spot, or a particularly impressive tree or a bench in the park, just stop. Stay there and enjoy the area. Pat your best friend, put your arm around them, take in the sights and smells and just bask in each other’s company.
Check out our short video for inspiration. Click Here.