January was officially Dog Walking Month…did you know? Well, it was news to me too! I thought it would be a perfect opportunity, even in the last few days of the month, to discuss some fun ways to spice up your dog walk!
Walk – Walkie – W.A.L.K
If your dog is anything like my guy, Gus Gus, you can’t even say the word and your BFF, Best Furry Friend, is spinning in circles and running to the door. At my house, we literally have to spell it out or @GusGusJohnson goes bananas! As much as I love getting out with Gus and know I need it as well, (especially being more homebound during Covid-19) there are days I’m just bored with the routine. Even my 17-year-old son that takes him out on PE days has to mix up the routine weekly. So let’s discuss some fun ways to switch up the routine and make you spin in circles when someone says “Walkie!”
5 Fun Ways to Spice Up the Dog Walk
- 1. Go the Opposite Way – It can be as simple as that! We all have our “usual route”; but lately I have reversed my direction. So now when I get to the end of the street and go left instead of right, Gus Gus stops and looks at me almost like he is saying, “Mom! You’re going the wrong direction.” Just by reversing directions, you’re already exposing them to a change in pattern; they seem more alert and excited! You never know either…you just might run into someone new or run into an old friend.
- 2. Try a New Spot – Doesn’t have to be far away. It could be a new walking path, hiking trail or beach near your house. Just getting in the car can be thrilling to your BFF (Best Furry Friend). Opening yourself up to a new trail or adventure can refresh your mind and be good for your mental health as well as your physical. And there is nothing like checking new P-Mail for Fido (P-Mail is E-Mail for dogs…checking all other dog’s messages left by urinated on plants/shrubs/structures) On a new trail, your BFF will be exposed to all sorts of fun smells, terrain and new doggie friends!
- 3. Invite a Friend – In the last 11 months, we have succumbed to Shelter in Place, curfews, Social Distancing and the list goes on and on. But one thing that is responsible and almost everyone feels comfortable doing, during this uncertain time, is walking outside—Socially Distanced of course. Fresh air, good conversation, exercise and Fido— there is nothing like it to lift your spirits and get reconnected! A common phrase I hear from people is…”Wow, it feels normal to get out and see you and have a face to face conversation”. It does create some normalcy and this is something we are all craving.
- 4. Make it a Training Session – Even old dogs can learn or “be reminded” of new tricks. Recently, I noticed Gus Gus was pulling more than usual when I had him on leash. He is 10 years old and knows better! I had just gotten lazy at times when I had him leashed and/or been walking in areas that are off leash; so he was getting spoiled. So one day, not too long ago, I spent the first part of his walk (on a new route) on leash and making him “Heel” correctly. After about 15 minutes of positive reinforcement and a few stern reminders, Gus was healing like he did as a star student in his puppy classes. The next time I took him out, he started to pull and all I had to say is “Heel” and he checked his speed right back to my hip. In all honesty, I think he quite enjoyed “working” that day. Making a training session out of a walk helps them not only exercise their bodies but their minds as well.
- 5. Lighten It Up – Enjoy your time with your BFF…and lighten it up. Break up the routine by stopping and enjoying the view, bring a ball to throw or better yet; create a destination. Walk into town to pick up a coffee, walk to a local park or just sit under a tree and take a deep breath. Whatever it is just stop to enjoy the world around you. Enjoying this time together will help you appreciate the short time we really get with our animal companions and continue to build those strong relationships with them.
Enjoy, Appreciate, Experience
One thing 2020 taught me was to take things as they come and to appreciate the little things. For me, my life hasn’t slowed down in the terms of work; but it has slowed down by not running kids to and from school and practice. So much time spent in cars driving and waiting in traffic, is now spent at home – together. Of course we want to get back to school, sports and friends/family but for now take this time at home, the quiet walks with your BFF to stop and look around you. What things have you been too busy to notice before? And there is no better time to get out and get some fresh air. Switching up some of the monotony and getting off our computer screens/phones will not only benefit your life but Fido’s life also. Let your BFF lead the way sometimes, see the world in his/her eyes…now I’m not suggesting getting on all fours and checking P-Mail or chasing squirrels but there is a lot our animal companions can teach us. So get out, enjoy that time and spice it up!
Share Your Adventure With Us
Share with us your adventure stories and some of your ideas on how you “spiced up your walkie”! We would love to hear! We are always here for you, not only in a time of need but with information on pet products, pet psychology and ways to build a better connection with your animal companions.
Until next time…
About the author: Business Owner, Writer, Entrepreneur, Mama Bear — If I’m not managing my two teenagers, you will find me working on my businesses, spending time with people I love and seeking new adventures.