Hands up if you struggle at times taking your dog for a walk!
Do you feel pushed for time? (often the case when we have kids as well!)
Or do you get frustrated with your dog’s behaviour, such as pulling on the lead, weeing everywhere, or barking at anything that moves?
Sometimes we simply suffer a lack of motivation for all manner of reasons in life – stress, too much work, relationships, etc.
Whatever the reason, here’s a few tips to help you get more enjoyment from walking your dog!
Why walking dogs is important
We know walking our dogs is important for their fitness and keeping them in trim, but did you know it’s also very important for their mental wellbeing.
In my dog training classes I often hear how restless some dogs have been, often causing havoc around the home, and the simple reason is they haven’t been walked enough!
Walking dogs offers them mental stimulation and alleviates boredom and stress. It gives them a chance to sniff and explore, which are natural traits for our dogs as hunters and pack animals.
Regularly walking your dog will give them a long, healthy life, combined with a good diet of course.
Dog walking is also great for us and our fitness, and it’s the best way we can build a bond with our dogs.
Sometimes, however, we struggled to find time or motivation to walk our dogs. Life can get on top of us, and daily walks become a chore rather than being enjoyable.
When this happens, simply take a step back, and consider the following!
How to make the most of walking your dog
Tip #1: Find something you BOTH love!
I’m the first to admit walking my dog has not been easy.
My first dog was a super active Border Collie, and my pre-dog life was one of sleep-ins and chillaxing in my pyjamas. I struggled to exercise my dog regularly.
Only when I discovered that my dog loved running beside the bike did I find something that worked for both of us.
Australia is a very dog friendly country, so there are all manner of exciting adventures you can do with your dog. Even if it’s walking to that new funky cafe in the next suburb.
Personally, since I started cycling with my dog Maisy, our relationship (and fitness) has really blossomed!
What can you do with your dog which you both love?
Tip #2: Training, Training, Training.
Does your dog react to other dogs whilst out on your walk?
Does your dog spend all their time pulling constantly at the leash?
Did you know it’s better to take accountability for this yourself, and do something about it. All dogs can be trained, and it’s not as hard as you may think!
Top Dog Trainer Gary Jackson once told me “I was shocked to learn that most people can’t walk their dogs on a loose leash. I just thought it was normal.”
So take the hint – if you can’t make it to dog obedience classes OR you haven’t enough time to research ‘dog training tips’ on the Internet (such as this website!) – call in the professionals.
Everywhere in Australia, even inner city Sydney and Melbourne, has amazing and affordable dog trainers who can make the world of difference to your dog walks!
Tip #3: Stay Motivated (or Get Motivated)!
As much as I complain about getting up early, especially in the winter months, there hasn’t been a single morning I haven’t appreciated being out with my dog once I’m actually out!
Recently I went away for a few days without my dog, and every morning I was up bright and early and out and about. I happened to be in Byron Bay on a work trip, and oh boy was it great being up in the fresh air.
Our dogs are our greatest motivators, and although it may seem hard at first to get into a routine with our dogs, it becomes such a beneficial life habit.
So if your problem is “time constraints”, try getting up a little earlier.
It’s much easier for us to stay on track with a morning dog walk rather than an afternoon stroll.
I’m sure you’ll hear me when I say this – we all start the day with good intentions, but come the afternoon those intentions have flown out the window! Morning dog walks are the best!
Did you know people who walk their dogs every day enjoy a longer life span?
What better incentive is there than that!?
Try and mix it up. Don’t just tread the same route every day with your dog.
Get out there!
If you’re still struggling for motivational ideas, join a dog walking group, buddy up with a friend or try doing something else with your dog just to add a bit of variety to your daily outings.
Tip #4: Invest in some good Dog Gear!
There’s nothing more frustrating than walking our dogs with a lousy lead or poor fitting collar.
If your dog likes to pull, then invest in a decent harness which should help keep them in check. They cost a little bit more than a regular lead, but it’s a great long term investment which will pay dividends in enjoying time with your dog.
A leash should feel comfortable in your hands and work well when you need to exert some extra control over your dog.
It should also be comfy fit for your dog.
You may have noticed that I’m a big fan of EzyDog – their products are easy to use, comfortable for you and the dog, plus durable and easy to clean.
Tip #5: Enjoy yourself!!!
Remember back to the reason why you got a dog in the first place?
Dog’s have the ability to increase our wellbeing, our health, and our happiness.
So, when you’re out walking your dog don’t forget to be in the moment!
Enjoy the scenery, say hello to your neighbours, and work at getting your heartbeat up.
Leave your phone at home and take along a dog toy or ball instead – this way you can factor in a bit of play time for you and your dog as well.
I’ll leave you with a beautiful quote which resonates with me when I’m out enjoying a walk with my dog:
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”Milan Kundera
Any other tips you would like to add? What is your number 1 reason you walk your dog?
Gina & Maisy