Spice It Up – Abolishing Boring Walks
Dogs around the country are pounding the pavement more than ever. With this heightened exercise regime, Pet Insurance Australia looks at some ways to abolish the boring on-lead walk.
“Social media is currently flooded with amusing videos showing dogs simply refusing to budge, mid-walk,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “It’s certainly not uncommon to hear of pet owners struggling with some of their dogs during their daily walk.”
It’s important to remember that the humble on-lead encounter can be an exhilarating experience for any dog, regardless of the pace.
“For a dog, a good walk can be like reading an interesting book,” Crighton says. “All those smells, sights and sounds can stimulate your pet and flex their brawn and their brains.”
However, if you are walking the exact same route every single day, your curious canine companion can experience boredom when out and about. Leading to dogs sprawling out on the pavement and simply refusing to budge.
“It’s time to change it up a little and start thinking like a dog,” Crighton says. “Some basic changes can really help put the spice back into your pet’s daily exercise regime.”
1. Change up your route
Make a plan, map it out and change your walking route a few times per week. This could be as easy as taking another path home or reversing the walk or even just walking on the other side of the road. Adding a simple element of surprise and change can help your pet enjoy their walking experience.
2. Stop to Smell the Roses
Consider if you are taking a walk for you, or your pet? Allowing your dog to stop and sniff will allow them to explore all the wonderful smells your chosen route has to offer. Before heading off on your daily walk consider if you are doing this for fitness or to enhance your pet’s experience of the outside world.
3. High Energy
For your high energy pets, think about pushing their training capabilities while on-lead or introduce a doggy-backpack. This will not only challenge their minds but also add some extra weight to keep their blood pumping.
4. Don’t Over Do It
Two good walks per day is ample for all dogs. Consider one walk for your pet to go at their own pace and smell and stop when needed, and one high-intensity walk or jog.
With your pet being on-lead it’s a great opportunity to train. Training is not only beneficial to keep your pet safe, but it’s also a wonderful way to improve the human/canine bond by developing your own language. Sitting at crossings or traffic lights, walking nicely on lead, with no pulling, are some basics. For more advance consider ‘eyes on me’ when walking past other dogs or ‘close or heel’ when asking your dog to stay closer to your side when crossing major roads. Remember to treat your dog with lots of praise.
“If you are experiencing issues with on-lead walking seek out some professional advice and positive reinforcement training tips,” Crighton recommends. “Walking your dog should be as enjoyable for them as it is for you.”
This is the perfect time for pet owners to really tune into their dog’s abilities on-lead and iron out any of those issues like lead-pulling.
“Make your dog’s exercise regime fun and entertaining,” Crighton suggests. “Also go slowly, if your pet is not used to so much exercise, build-it up gradually. Importantly, ensure you can keep this regime when you do return to a normal working day to prevent boredom issues that can lead to behavioural symptoms.”