Dog Owner Guide | 'On the lead' Dog walking activities
This game can help to keep your dog's focus on you, and it will also allow you to lead your dog away from distractions like other dogs and people easily. Your dog will have to mentally stay on their toes for this treasure hunt game.
When walking with your dog, occasionally drop treats on the ground in your immediate area while your dog is distracted and then stop and ask them to ‘find it’. Finding the treats is a big reward for them and you are enhancing their natural sense of smell, which stimulates their mind. Sniffing also helps give your dog a mood boost, doubling the impact of searching for hidden food!
Sniffaris | Decompression Sniffing
Let your dog lead the way, sniffing and exploring the world. Sniffaris let dogs be dogs, it’s distinctly different in mindset than taking your dog out for an average walk for exercise. This style of walk is great for your dog’s quality of life and their mood; Sniffing is the most mentally stimulating activity for a dog. Find out more here.
Urban agility is a great way to mix up your normal lead walk, using your surroundings to provide obstacles for your dog to run around, jump over or on to or crawl under. Using your imagination, you can turn the park into an obstacle course. Just be sure to ensure the activity is safe and within your dog’s ability. It's a great physical workout but varying the routine a bit will keep your dog thinking and relying on you for instructions. Your dog will have to think about the next challenge and how you'll proceed.
The best part of urban agility is that it doesn’t even need to happen off-leash! You can come up with plenty of fun obstacles that can be handled while you’re holding the standard six-foot leash.
Stop and Go | On the lead Trading
This is a simple activity that will keep your dog thinking. You'll help your dog learn a command that you can use to stop them before crossing streets, and you'll be able to practice some commands that may help if needed to avoid another dog or animal on your walk.
All you have to do is use your "stop" command which can be any word for example "stay," "wait," or something else, while at various times throughout the walk, then use your "go" command to keep moving. If your dog successfully stops and goes when asked, give them lots of praise and rewards.
Mixing up your routine
Try adding some variety to your everyday routes by walking them in reverse rather than always going in the same direction. Although it may look like the same route to you, walking on different sides of the road where there's a pavement can offer your dog a whole world of different scents for then to enjoy.
By adding an element of unpredictability while walking on the lead by varying your speed and by making rapid changes of direction will help to keep your dog’s attention on you and keep the walk exciting. You can also try zigzagging, circling, or retracing your footsteps a short distance before going forward again to help keep the walk fun.
Running with your dog
Jogging with your dog provides excellent benefits to both you and your dog’s physical and mental health. Studies have shown that an active lifestyle reduces stress and anxiety in humans and dogs. You can find out more tips about running with your dog and Canicross here.
Strengthen your relationship with your dog
It can be easy to disconnect with your dog while on your walk, spending your time on your phone while their busy sniffing. Instead use this time to switch off from the everyday and reconnect with your dog and enjoy your time together.