Walking your dog is important for many reasons. It’s an essential part of your dog’s exercise regime, keeps their brains stimulated and relieves boredom. Different dogs will need varying amounts of exercise depending on their breed and age, but pretty much all dogs will benefit from a daily walk in one form or another, whether it’s a short walk around town or a good run on the beach.
Your dog may be a fan of walking off the lead, especially if they’re particularly athletic and like to run around. But sometimes off-lead walking isn’t possible and on-lead dog walks become necessary. This is especially the case during the Covid pandemic when walking your dog on a lead is advised at any times when and where there are other people around.
You may wonder how much your dog will enjoy their on-lead walks if they’re usually used to having the freedom of no lead. There are many ways to keep on-lead walks fun though - things you can do to make the exercise stimulating and enjoyable for you both. Here are our tips for keeping on-lead dog walks entertaining for your dog.
Choose a New Route or Area - A really simple way to make the walk interesting is to choose a different route to your normal one. New places to roam can give your dog a feast for the senses with new sights and smells. You may think you know your town or city well but try looking at a map of the area for any suitable spots that you may not have ventured. It will make your walks fun for both you and your dog. You could even hop in the car to find a good place for a dog walk. Just remember to take note of any current Covid guidelines in terms of travel - if you shouldn’t travel then stay local.
Play a Scent Game - You may wonder how you can play a scent game on a walk, but it’s perfectly possible. Take some treats with you and keep them in an open pocket for easy access. When you’re in a suitable location, drop a couple at the side of you without your dog noticing and then ask your dog to find them. This will provide a little bit of fun and get their senses working too. Brain training and games all in one activity with a tasty treat as a reward!
Do some Training - Your on-lead dog walks are the perfect time to do some dog training exercises. It could be teaching your pup something new or sprucing up on some tricks that they already know. Good manners are really important and teaching your dog to sit is a great piece of training to practice when out on a walk. You could start by teaching them to sit in a secluded spot and then work up to asking them to sit by the roadside. This is a really great bit of etiquette that every dog should master. Soon your dog will sit as soon as you approach a kerbside which makes approaching traffic extra safe. Other things you could try are asking to lay, shake hands, and hi-five. Some of these will be best done mid walk on a little break in a secluded spot - but are all perfectly possible to do on a lead. Don’t forget to give them a treat when they get it right.
If you need help with your dogs general manners when walking on a lead, take a look at our How To Walk A Dog article here.
Turn the Natural Landscape into an Obstacle Course - Just because you can’t take your dog off the lead doesn’t mean they can’t release plenty of energy. Be imaginative on your walks and try finding things for your dog to walk or jump over. It might be a fallen tree stump in the park or a tide breaker on the beach. It could even be a low wall in town. Keep an eye out for things that you can turn into an obstacle course and encourage your dog to climb on or jump over. You might find it just as fun as they do!
Find a Friend to Walk With - Another way to make the walk fun is to bring a friend along who can join in with the scent games. It’ll also give you some time to chat and socialise (just make sure you adhere to any lockdown or tier restrictions at the time). If your friend has a dog as well, all the more chance for fun as they may well enjoy having a good walk together.
Wherever your dog walks take you, be sure to stay safe and remember all of your usual essentials such as poo bags and some treats so you can show appreciation for your dog’s good behaviour. We hope we’ve given you some good ideas for your next adventure.
Don’t forget to take a look at our range of dog collars, leads and harnesses and ensure your dog has a well-fitting walking set. We also have a brilliant range of safety accessories to keep you and them safe on your dog walks.