Walks with our dogs bring so many positives! These include physical and mental health benefits for both you and your dog. From improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength to social interactions that help combat loneliness, the list of benefits goes on. What’s more, they also offer a special focused time together. This gives us an opportunity to further bond with our dogs through new experiences and training.

But, if we’re honest… are there times that the daily walk gets put on your “to-do” list? And those walks – that have the potential of creating so many positive moments – become something of a chore? If you’ve fallen into this trap, try following these simple dog walking tips. These will help you to re-energise your walks and boost your amazing connection with your dog/s.

Start as You Mean to Go On

How we structure the start of our walks can massively dictate how the rest of the walk goes. If we can gain our dog’s focus once we’ve stepped outside the front door, we’re much more likely to connect and walk as a team for the rest of the walk. Make the journey as exciting as the destination!

Use your driveway or pavement outside your home to set up some sniffing trails using food. Or, ask your dogs to perform a few of their favourite (and easy) exercises, such as sits, spins, or give a paw! Not sure how to teach your dog these? Check out our latest dog trick training video.

Ditch the Chase!

As much as your dog might enjoy chasing after a ball if it’s the only engagement you have together on walks you could be missing a trick. Ball chasing most often has a physical impact on the body over time. This not only puts lots of pressure put on their front limbs but also keeps their adrenaline levels sky-high.  As a result, it might mean they’re unable to focus on you and actually end up more wound up coming home than when you left.

A great dog walking tip here is to swap chasing after a ball for a game of “hide and seek”. You can do this by dropping the ball in some long grass and sending them to search for it. It’s just as fun, plus it gets their brain working too! Especially for dogs that suffer from joint pain, this activity will keep them active whilst being easy on their legs. You can also use joint remedies for dogs too to give them the extra support. Not sure which remedy is best? From JointWell® Tablets for dogs and cats to cod liver oil supplements, contact us and we can assist you.

Calm Communication

Calm communication is key to helping our dogs listen to us on our walks. For example, using consistent cues for behaviours, a welcoming dog-directed tone of voice (think “baby talk”) and a calmer pace of talking. If your dog’s recall has gone a little backwards of late, ask yourself, am I being inviting in the tone of voice I use? And am I being consistent in the words I use?

When we have an excited or stressed dog, it is so important we slow ourselves down to allow our dogs time to process information in a calm manner. Use words carefully and contextually for your dog. The best thing is to try not to fall into that habit of ‘chatting’ away to them.

Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is not just limited to your dog searching for their favourite ball. You could also hide behind trees or bushes then call them to come and find you. This builds up on your recall and also encourages your dog to seek you out on a walk.  When they find you, you can reward them with some tasty treats or a fun game of tuggy.

Slow Down

Slowing down on walks allows you the time to take some calm breaths and enjoy walking your dog. For older dogs, slowing the walk down is the most appropriate option. Pair slowing the pace down with joint remedies for dogs and you’ll notice a difference. You won’t wear them out as much and you’ll both be able to make the most of your dog walk. Joint remedies for dogs are effective at aiding mobility and keeping their joints healthy. You can browse our natural joints and mobility products online to find the best fit for your dog.

Another reason to slow down on walks is to allow your dog the time to explore the world around them with their nose. The part of a dog’s brain devoted to analysing scent is equal to about 40 times that of humans. If we don’t allow them to use that part of their brain, then we could be hindering their full enjoyment of walks.

Exploring new locations allows your dog to have a whole new scent picture to engage in. Plus, it breaks up your own routine. If your dog isn’t much of a sniffer, you can lay some little food trails for them to follow. This dog walking tip will encourage them to get their nose down.

On, Over, and Under

More so in wooded areas, walks can provide you with a real-life agility course! Get your dog to jump over a log, crawl under a picnic bench, or put their paws up on a large rock. If your dog is a little unsure at first, you might need to encourage them by hopping over that log yourself, allowing them to follow you. And remember, safety first. Avoid hazardous ground or items that are too high up for them to climb comfortably. Some harnesses provide a handle on them, so you can use this to guide your dog over items in a safe manner.

If you notice your dog seems to fear what’s around them, try to reassure them. Some dogs have worse anxiety than others and find these new activities more challenging. Anxiety relief for dogs is a good solution if they are struggling on your walks. It won’t make them drowsy but instead help calm their hyperactivity. Our Dorwest Herbs Scullcap and Valerian tablets will do just the trick. These herbal supplements for dogs only use natural ingredients to help your dog feel more at ease.

Send Around

One way to ensure your dog is getting in their step count is to teach them to loop around items on walks. It could be a tree, a football post, or the doggy poo bin! Start by luring them around the object using a treat to guide their movements. Then you can add a cue such as “around” to indicate you’d like them to circle the object in front of them. Once your dog is confident in what’s expected, you can then start to add a little distance. Try standing in the middle of a field and pointing at various objects for them to go loop around and return to you.

Of course, remember to keep your dog’s coat clean from any dirt built up on walks. It’s not necessary to use dog shampoo after every walk, but keep in mind that you should do so regularly. Once every month or couple of months should be enough. You can do so once a week, providing you are using a natural dog shampoo that’s gentle on their skin.

Herbal pet care specialists

Dorwest Herbs offer a wide range of herbal supplements for dogs. Find anxiety relief for dogs, herbal dog shampoo, joint remedies for dogs and more at Dorwest Herbs today. Be sure to register for an account or follow our social media to stay informed on the latest offers. For advice on any of the products from our range, contact us and call + 44 (0) 1308-897-272. Email [email protected] for any further enquiries.

Written by Caroline Wilkinson – Certified animal behaviourist and dog trainer (founder of Barket Place)

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