Direct4Pet’s Guide to Making Dog Walks Fun
It goes without saying that walking should be a part of your dog’s daily routine. Walking your dog everyday is necessary to ensure they are kept both physically and mentally healthy. Whether you have a small dog, large dog with lots of energy or an elderly dog, ensuring they are walked regularly is vital to your pet’s health and wellbeing.
If you’re struggling with finding ways to keep dog walks fun and interesting for both you and your four legged friends, we’re here to help. Read on for advice from our pet experts on how often you should walk your dog as well as discovering our top tips for creating more engaging dog walking routines that are guaranteed to keep your dog happy and healthy.
How many walks should you take your dog on a day?
It is recommended that most dogs should go on at least 1-2 walks per day unless otherwise advised by your vet. The length of these walks depends on the size, age and physical ability of your dog - smaller dogs will require a shorter walk and will often show signs they are tired if the walk is too long. Larger dogs should be walked for longer distances and may need to be walked more than twice per day - you will be able to gauge whether your dog needs an extra walk based on their energy levels.
Walks are not only necessary for your dog’s health, a brisk walk is a great way to help your dog to burn off extra energy and a slower stroll allows for your dog to stop and sniff and explore which helps to simulate them mentally.
Do dogs get bored walking the same route?
Yes, dogs can get bored of walking the same route everyday just like humans would. Dogs need constant mental stimulation which can come from discovering the new sights and experiences that varied walking routes can bring.
Repeating the same walk day twice per day is not only boring for your dog but can become mundane for you as an owner. Dogs are known to mimic their owners energy and will therefore be able to sense when your attitude changes to their daily walk and it becomes more of a chore than a fun activity for you both.
Why is my dog not enjoying walks?
Your dog may not be enjoying walks for a variety of reasons, from becoming older and having less energy to sustaining an injury or just boredom, figuring out why your dog is not enjoying walks is important so that you can adjust their routine accordingly. Some of the most common reasons for why a dog may not want to walk are:
Bored of their route - As mentioned above, walking your dog on the same route everyday can become repetitive and create an understimulating routine that overtime they will not want to take part in. Try switching up your daily walking route to keep your dog engaged and willing to exercise.Anxiety - Many dogs suffer from anxiety and it is one of the most common reasons for why dogs may not want to go on a walk. The anxiety surrounding going on a walk could be due to being triggered by a past negative experience, the noise of cars or even other dogs and humans.
To reduce your dog’s anxiety around this, we suggest walking them at a quieter time of day or night and offering constant rewards during their walk to positively reinforce their behaviour and encourage them to want to walk more. You may also wish to consider 1-1 training with a dog trainer to reduce their anxiety, especially if your pet is not food motivated.Issues with their lead, collar or harness - Some dogs may feel uncomfortable in their collar or harness and may dislike the feeling of a lead pulling on their neck when walking, making them hesitant to want to go on walks.
It’s important to check that your dog’s collar or harness is not too tight, that it fits properly and that they are made from cushioned materials to avoid discomfort. One simple trick to tell if their collar is too tight is to check using your fingers, there should be enough room for you to place two fingers under the collar - it should feel snug but not tight. If your dog tends to pull on their lead, we would suggest using an extendable lead to provide them with more comfort and freedom on walks. Additionally, a harness may be more comfortable for dogs who tend to pull, as this reduces the pressure placed on their necks and gives you more control to discourage them from pulling.Pain, injury or general discomfort - Many dogs will refuse to go on walks or even get out of bed if they are in any pain or discomfort. Whether your dog is older, overweight, suffering from issues such as arthritis, or they have an underlying condition or injury you are not aware of, refusing to walk may be a sign that they need help.
If you’re worried about your dog’s change of behaviour and think they may be in pain, it’s important that you take them to the vets as soon as possible so that you can get the issue under control and hopefully get your dog back to their walking routine.Low energy - Just like humans, dogs can experience low energy levels and get lethargic, especially after a meal or if the weather is warmer which can contribute to them not wanting to walk. If this is the case we recommend walking your dog before meal times when they have more energy and if they still don’t want to walk, try enticing them with treats or toys to get them engaged in the idea of walking.
How can I make my dog walk less boring?
If you notice that your dog is getting bored of their usual walking routine then it’s time to get creative and switch up their daily walks to something more enjoyable for both of you. It’s vital to your dog’s mental health that their walks are mentally stimulating and engaging, therefore varying their routine will ensure that they are getting the most out of their walks. A couple ideas for making your dog walk less boring are:
- Changing your daily route - As mentioned earlier, changing up your dog’s daily walking route can help to keep them entertained and engaged in walking. Try walking down different streets or walking paths closeby that they may not be familiar with.
- Introduce new toys - If your dog loves fetch on their walks then treating them to a new toy to play fetch with now and again can help keep walking exciting. Here at Direct4Pet we have a wide variety of toys that can help make dog walks interesting such as;
Dog ball launchers are one of the most popular toys for both dogs and owners to incorporate into their daily dog walking routines. The Chuckit! Pro 25 Dog Ball Launcher Thrower is designed to enhance your dog’s usual game of fetch by giving you a longer extension of your arm to throw the ball further and also allows for a more comfortable pick up of the ball with the ergonomic grip handle and cupped end.
For late night or early morning walks where your dog still wants to play fetch, this Chuckit! Light Fetch Ball Dog Ball Toy is perfect. Compatible with the Chuckit! Ball Launcher, this light up ball illuminates upon impact, giving your dog something bright and exciting to chase after. As we know, dogs can only see shades of blue and yellow, therefore this light up blue ball will be very exciting to them and will make their daily walk even more enjoyable.
For weekend walks where you have a little more time to incorporate fun new toys other than the standard ball, this Nerf Tennis Ball Blasters For Dogs is fun for the whole family. The high-powered blasting action shoots this ball over 50 feet in the air and is perfect for walks in large open areas. Compatible with hydrosport balls for fun in the water as well as your standard tennis ball, this lightweight yet powerful ball launcher is a great way to make dog walks more fun.
If your dog prefers a bone-shaped toy to play fetch with then this KONG AirDog Bone is perfect. This toy has combined your dog’s two favourite toys - the bone and a squeaker into one fun toy that can be used for games of fetch both in the house, outside and in water. Lightweight, durable and high-quality, this KONG dog bone toy will stand the test of time with its non-abrasive material.
- Explore new locations further afield - If you find that you’ve exhausted all of the walks in your local area, try travelling further afield, if you have the time and capabilities. Take your dog to a forest, wood, beach or on a hike, to allow your pup a chance to experience new surroundings that are unfamiliar, exciting to explore and mentally stimulating for you both. This is also a great chance to choose a more remote area where it is safe to let your dog off lead, giving them a chance to run freely without the confinement of their usual leash.
- Arrange a dog playdate - For dogs that are more sociable and love the company of other dogs, why not organise a doggy play date with your friend or neighbour's dog. Whether you choose to walk the same route at the same time or go to a local dog park, allowing your dog the chance to interact with another dog on their daily walk will excite them and keep the walk interesting.
- Add training into the routine - If you’re looking for ways to expel more energy from your dog on their daily walk, why not add in some training activities? This is the perfect opportunity to try out new training methods and is also a great way to keep your dog engaged on their walk, as they are learning new tricks and also getting tasty treats as rewards throughout. Training can also help you to build a stronger long-term bond with your dog, and some dog parks offer scent training walks or agility obstacles so that you can try out different exercises to see which is best for you and your pet.
Depending on what type of training method you are opting for, a dog whistle will come in handy when teaching your dog obedience or tricks on their daily walk. This Company of Animals High Frequency Whistle produces a ‘silent’ whistle sound that only your dog can hear and is particularly appropriate for ‘noise sensitive’ breeds. This whistle is made of tough steel yet is lightweight enough to attach to your keys and offers an adjustable pitch that is only just audible to the human ear.
If a clicker is your preferred training aid, this Clix Multi Clicker offers a volume and tone control that can help you train even sound-sensitive dogs. With its raised thumb-piece for easy use and elasticated wrist strap, this clicker is easy to keep to hand on your daily walks. This clicker also includes a simple step-by-step guide that can be used to help teach your dog fun tricks as well as practical training.
Training your dog on walks wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective without some tasty treats to positively reinforce your dog’s good behaviour. These Coachies Puppy Training Treats are the perfect miniature motivators to use in reward-based training. These tasty, heart-shaped treats are highly palatable and don't break up in your pocket, giving you a fuss-free way to reward your dog on the go. Light on calories and containing no artificial flavours or colours, these treats are specially formulated to help encourage positive behaviour on walks.
KONG also offers a great range of tasty training treats to accompany your dog walks such as these KONG Chicken Bites. These bite-sized, tasty, grain-free treats have chicken as their main ingredient and are ideally sized for easy carrying in your pockets or treat bag to keep daily dog walks fun. These treats can also be used to create a delicious, mentally stimulating play time when added to KONG’s range of treat-dispensing toys.
Keep dog walks fun with the help of Direct4Pet
Now that you’re aware of all the ways to keep your dog engaged and entertained on their daily walks, it’s time to get shopping for fun new toys and treats here at Direct4Pet. Browse through our full range of dog toys, treats and dog training aids to find the best products to help make dog walks fun every day for both you and your pet.