Dog walks are the highlight of my day, a time to slow down and enjoy some quality time with our dogs. The first week of October is designated National Walk Your Dog Week, a pet holiday originated by Colleen Paige.
This week was founded to shine the spotlight on the issue of pet obesity–which often can go hand in paw with weight struggles in humans, so getting up and walking helps not only your dog but you!
In fact, the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine notes:
In addition to the wider benefits of having a dog, walking dogs has been shown to promote engagement in and adherence to regular physical activity.
Dog walks are good for everyone, not only for health benefits but for stress relief (which we ALL know is important now), social benefits as you see neighbors and fellow dog walkers and more.
Ways to Add Fun to Your Dog Walk!
If you’re looking for some ways to add some fun to your dog walks to encourage you to get out of the house more, here are some easy ways to add fun to your next dog walk!
Add Training to Your Walk
Training exercises can be a fun way to break up your walk. They can be as simple as “watch me” at points along the walk or plan to put your dog in a sit at the end of every block. Or get fancy with stays, weaves or a trick at one point along the walk.
(Don’t miss our post on fun games with your dog for more ideas including fetch games.)
Add a Challenge to Your Walk
I’ve started a fun challenge on my dog walks: every time I see a new wildflower or bloom, I stop for a photo. It’s a fun record of the changing seasons and a cheerful distraction in some not-so-cheerful times.
Even if your dog walks are limited to the same route every day during this period, see if you can add a little challenge to your walk–similar to a scavenger hunt!
Add Treats to Your Bag
Barli and Tiki know that I always carry training treats in my dog walking bag. I use them to distract the dogs when they need distracting (SQUIRREL!), to comfort them if there’s a scary incident (like a giant truck), to reinforce training and just to enjoy.
Sometimes we stop along the walk, sit down for a few minutes and just enjoy a treat. Because that’s what friends are for!
Vary Your Dog Walking Route
Do you usually leave your house and turn right? Well, it’s time to get crazy and turn left!
It’s surprising but walking–even the exact same dog walk–in the opposite direction makes the walk seem new both to you and your dog.
You’ll find yourself seeing details that you miss walking the other direction!
Add Exercise to Your Walk
Can’t go to the gym now? Add exercises as you walk your dog!
What is YOUR favorite way to add fun to your dog walk?