Who ever said that walking your dog should be a chore? Your dog, your companion, needs exercise every day. If you’re going to do something every day, you may as well enjoy it. Maybe you’re in the wrong mindset, or maybe you’re in a rut. We will explore some ways to make walking the dog exciting again. It doesn’t take long to change the idea of walking your dog from an ‘obligation’ to an ‘opportunity’!
How often do you wish that you had more time for yourself, or wish you could take a break? Take a mini-vacation with your dog. Take it out for a good 30 minute walk. Use this time to do some thinking and analysis about your day, or use this time to think of nothing at all! Use this time to get out in the fresh air and clear your mind. Of course the best walks are when the weather is great but that always isn’t the case. On some days, you will be walking in rain. But neither dogs, nor people, melt in the rain. Accept the fact that you will occasionally be walking in this kind of weather and dress appropriately. Remember, once you are bundled up, a walk on a cold day can be very refreshing.
Walking is one of the best exercises for your pet because it exercises their mind as well as their body. It provides bonding time for you and your dog. When you’re at home, you may be busy, but when you’re walking, it is one-on-one time for you and your dog. Your dog will get to work on its social skills with other people and animals. It will get more mental stimulation than it could inside of the house.
That’s not enough to keep your interest? Why don’t you try a different type of exercise? How about swimming? Yes, people can swim with their dogs. Some dogs love water so much that it’s hard to keep them out of it! Swimming is an ideal exercise – it works the muscles and heart without pounding the joints. This is especially good for injured or old dogs and people. One thing to be careful of is to make sure not to let your dog swim with weak swimmers, as an excited dog may try to climb on top of you in the water. Most of the time, you can avoid that situation by not splashing and not making playful motions toward the dog.
Want to kick it up a notch? Run with your dog! Dogs are absolutely, positively the best running partners. You don’t need to meet them anywhere. They will make sure you run EVERY day, sometimes acting as an alarm clock as it gets near running time! You and your dog can stay in shape together. If you have a dog that loves to run, it will love you forever if you run with it. It is surprisingly easy to teach a dog how to run calmly, without pulling. Within a week or two, you two should have no trouble running together.
Want even more of the training and bonding? Enter your dog in agility trials! This is an incredible mental exercise. It helps your dog respond quickly and accurately to verbal and visual cues. You and your dog will learn how to understand each other better. Agility training teaches you how to communicate with your dog. It is a very satisfying form of exercise, and all sorts of breeds and skill levels can compete. The only requirements are a dog and an owner who is willing to learn.
Maybe you are short on time. You really enjoy your walks with the dog but can’t walk it every day. Sharing the responsibility can be a great solution. Many times different people, neighbors or friends, share the walking commitment. Then you can enjoy the benefits of exercising with your dog without the stress of being hurried on days when you’re short on time. The person you share walking with will get a lot of enjoyment out of it as well.
There are so many ways to make exercising your dog more fun. Run errands with your dog. Enjoy the smile that your dog puts on peoples’ faces as you walk by. Go to charity runs/walks! Most charities allow dogs to ‘compete’ as well. Your dog will have no trouble raising money (through you) and will take pleasure in the excitement that a race brings.
As you can see, there are many ways for you and your dog to become happy exercising partners. You can decide to enjoy the precious moments away from the everyday hassle, or you can move on to different types of exercise. No matter what you choose to do, walking the dog no longer has to be a chore!
By Ashley O’Driscoll – Pets.ca writer