Taking a walk with your dog is a great way to get someone on one bonding time, as well as some exercise for both of you. But, if you have a bigger dog who doesn’t walk well on a leash, that’s no fun. Or, if your walks are boring, that’s no good either. Here are some tips to make your dog walks more fun for you and your dog.
Combine Obedience Training with Your Walks
First things first! Your dog needs to learn how to walk on a leash properly. Taking a walk shouldn’t be like military boot camp for your dog; but, at the same time, it’s a great time to practice basic obedience. Start out with a little loose leash walking to let your dog sniff and get some of the excitement out of his system. Then do some basic obedience practice, like sit, stay, down, watch me, and walking at a heel.
Be sure to have some treats to offer for rewards and switch back and forth between loose leash walking and obedience exercises to keep things fun and interesting. Once he’s got basic obedience down, start teaching him a trick or two, like give me your paw or roll over.
Build Up Your Dog’s Confidence
While you’re on your walk, look for little adventures to build up your dog’s confidence and keep things fun. For example, let him walk along a retaining wall or hop over a downed tree. Let him climb some stairs or sit on a park bench. These might sound like little things to you, but they’re new experiences for your dog. As long as the activity is safe, let him build up his confidence with little challenges and have some fun at the same time.
Walk Down a City Street
If you live in the city, your dog is probably already used to all the excitement. But rural and suburban dogs will be fascinated by all the people, new sights, and sounds. The new experiences can be very stimulating, so be sure to watch him for signs of stress and cut the walk short if needed
Try Walking in a Field, Woods, or on the Beach
What dog doesn’t love a walk in nature? Whether your dog is a country dog or a city dog, walking in a new outdoor space will be exciting for him, and it will be enjoyable for you as well. Depending on where you go, your dog might see squirrels, birds, or lizards while you enjoy the beautiful scenery. Although you probably can’t do it every day, finding new places to walk will make your walks more enjoyable for both of you.
Use your imagination and come up with some other ideas, too. How about walking with some friends and their dogs? Is there a dog park or beach nearby where your dog can enjoy some off-leash time? Adding variety to your routine will make your walks more enjoyable for both of you.