What makes a good dog walk?
For many dogs, just walking doesn’t do enough to stimulate them mentally. Improve the effectiveness of your walks together by regularly changing up your routes; allow your dog to stop, sniff, and check things out, arrange playdates with other fur balls, take your dog while you run errands, take a pause and toss a frisbee or ball around, or incorporate reward-based training techniques (sit, stay, come, etc.) into your jaunts. Because two is better than one, there are also games to play with your dog. For example:
- Create your own agility/obstacle course: You do not need to drag a bunch of equipment, simply take the stairs, weave between objects, let your pup hop up on a park bench—basically anything that forces them to move and think differently.
- Play treasure hunt: Pack some treats in your pocket and randomly toss them throughout your walk while your dog is distracted. Encourage them to look for it until they reward themselves with their findings. Along with being amusing, this game also helps your dog stay focused on you and not other people and pets because it’s a mentally stimulating challenge.
- Take the lead: When you take the lead of the leash, it’s a lot like a human game of follow the leader. When your dog starts to go one way, you go in the opposite direction so that they’re following you—not the other way around.
- Keep changing your pace: Speed up, slow down, walk, jog, stop, go. Make variances in your walk so it’s not the same old thing. It will keep your furry friend on his/her paw pads.
Stephanie Brown is the owner of Happy Trails Professional Pet Sitting. She's a busy mom of two active boys along with her fur babies. Stephanie and her team are the BEST in the business of pet sitting, and we highly recommend them!