Spice up your walk!

by Janine Brownlees // October 2017

Spice up your walk!

Has your dog walk become boring? Predictable? Lack luster? A bit of a chore?

In our classes we spend a lot of time on ‘loose lead walking’ teaching our dogs it’s more rewarding to relax and walk by our side than to charge ahead and pull us along behind them!

But what if we didn’t have to teach it? What if our dogs naturally wanted to stay with us on walks because we are so much fun!

We always encourage owners to take tasty treats on their walk so they can reward, distract and motivate their dogs, hopefully it is now an automatic routine – coat, lead, poop bags, dog, treats and off they go!

So how can we spice up this walk… Ever wonder does your dog pull on the lead because he knows the route and destination like the back of his paw?

Why not start to surprise him, keeping him on his toes and encouraging him to engage with you a little more- making you more interesting than that cat that just dashed out from behind the cars or all those passing people who stop to chat.

 So what can you do? The list is endless but here are a few pointers –

  •  Stop and toss a treat in the air to see if your dog enjoys a game of catch.

  • Pull a toy from your pocket to have a quick game of tug.

  • Maybe your dog would like to carry his favourite toy on his walk?

  • Zig-Zag across the street (always keeping an eye on traffic of course!!) instead of always walking in a straight line, there is an opportunity here to practice and reward sits at each curb!

  • Even just change your route altogether to give your dog fresh sights and sniffs.

  • Why not teach him some tricks at home, for example a twist or a weave through your legs, and let him show them off while out for a walk!

  • But our favourite is to ask our dogs to perform tasks wherever possible, maybe it’s a jump up onto a bench we are passing… a jump over a fallen tree… his paws up onto a small wall.

  • In a safe area you could take the opportunity to train a stay or a wait while you hide some treats around or throw a ball.

  • Remember even stopping to take a picture and getting your dog to pose gets you center stage in what used to be a mundane ‘I’ll sniff while you chat on the phone’ lap around the block for your dog.

  • Many dogs like water, whether it’s to swim, splash or paddle. How about tossing some treats in those huge winter puddles for a fun game.

So go on… make walk time quality time for you and your dog, you’ll both reap the rewards!!

 

If you are interested in any of our classes we cover the Antrim, Belfast and Ballymena areas with a variety of time options that should suit most people.

Contact us on 07715 654650 or email nidogschool@dogstrust.org.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter @DogSchoolNI and Instagram  @dogschoolnorthernireland to see for yourself all the fun we have in class!