There is much advice that can be sought about how to walk your dog, how long to walk your dog and where you can walk your dog. However, do you ever stop and think about the world your dog lives in?
Modern life means we are rushing around, and everything is or needs to be done yesterday. Our dogs are part of this fast-paced world we live in, but they need time with us and a walk should be solely for them.
A walk may just be a walk to you, but for your dog, it is probably the most important part of his/her day. It is the time in the day when they can be a dog (sniff, explore, etc) and more importantly, have time with you.
Look at your dog when you are walking, how much time do you spend interacting with them? Probably not enough! Ok, so it’s a walk and the dog needs to have a walk, but a walk can be so much more than just that. Playing and I’m not just talking about those repetitive ball throws, where the dog becomes over stimulated, over excited and obsessive with chasing a ball. That is not exercise, it is not fun for your dog, in fact it can become a
huge problem with some dogs. Over-obsessive, over-stimulated and over-excised can cause behaviour and physical problems. The solution is to change the game, by all means teach fetch, but incorporate some training, use several balls for a retrieve or teach your dog to fetch one of the balls.
Then there is hide and seek with toys or balls, or even place some treats in a sealed tub and get the dog the find it. All great games for those dogs who just love to go and find.
Why not practice some training exercises when you are out on a walk, it will help stimulate the mind as well train in a more distracting environment. One recall practice per day is more important than you think.
If you think training is boring, then ask your trainer for tips on making it more exciting. They should be able to help you improve, progress, and consolidate your training. Training your dog is giving him/her skills for life, so making it fun encourages a willing dog (and owner).
After a walk, why not teach your dog to relax while they have a well-earned bowl of water and a dog treat or chew and you have a well-earned tea or coffee. Fresh air and exercise is good for both of you.
Next time you take your dog for a walk, turn your phone to silent, leave the ipod or music at home and spend some time interacting with your dog, it builds bonds, and it also increases a more harmonious relationship. It’s also good for us humans too to destress and reduce anxiety.
Go and have some fun with your dog, they deserve it!