Spruce up your walkies
Enrichment tips to make walks more fun for your dog
Warmer weather, more daylight hours and the country in lockdown means walkies might just be our favourite time of day.
If your dog is spending more time indoors, it’s important to make sure they are getting enough exercise – both physically and mentally. Our tips to spruce up your walkies will help make every walk with your best pal an adventure:
- Pup-eration is key
Always have a ‘walkies bag’ handy; including poo bags, hand sanitiser, toys and treats, to make sure you’re never caught short.
- Teach an old dog new tricks
Teach your dog new tricks using reward-based training. This type of mental exercise is as tiring as physical exercise! This is also a great way of improving the dog-owner relationship and giving nervous dogs more confidence. You could teach them to walk through your legs, run all the way around you, turn around on the spot in both directions, give a paw one at a time, pick things up and give them to you... the possibilities are endless. Take a look at our training videos.
Go on sniffari
We’ll never fully understand the complexities that go on in those wet snoots we love so much. When possible, you should let your pal sniff for as long as they want, so they can ‘read’ any vital pee-mails left by other doggos (as long as it’s somewhere safe).
- Make a DIY game of it
Rotating toys is a good idea to keep walks fresh – but you can easily make your own toys and games to bring along on walks. For example, these newspaper parcels will easily fit in your pocket – just remember to clear up any paper after the fun is over! Also consider using a harness when playing games outside to avoid your dog jerking and hurting their neck.
You don’t have to go to the doggy gym for this circuit training. Make your pooch’s plod-about more pleasant by assigning a different trick or action for them to do at every lamppost, tree, post box, etc, rewarding them with a treat or quick game.
- Do something new
You can visit new places in your local area, try out new treats and toys, or even just walk on the other side of the street from your regular walk; this will keep your walks fresh and exciting and strengthen the bond between you and your dog more than ever.
A fallen tree, bench or even a bus stop can be made into a fun game by getting your doggo to jump over, circle around or just place their paws on them; in return for a treat of course. Make sure anything you ask your dog to stand on is low to the ground and sturdy enough to keep your furry friend having a fun and safe time.
- Hide and seek
Enlist the help of any family you’re with and get them to hide a treat or toy while you keep your dog with you. Start easy with a treat behind something nearby; when they get the hang of it, you can make it more difficult. Just be careful not to stress them out by making it im-paw-sibble!
Meet and greet
Dogs need daily exercise to keep them fit and healthy and they are social animals so meeting new people can be a positive, enriching experience. At the moment, you should only socialise with people you are already living with, so don't set up any doggy playdates right now. However, you may need to self-isolate so can't take your dog out. It’s a good idea to create a plan in advance for who would be able to walk and feed your dog and take them on comfort breaks should you find yourself unable to do this. Take a look at our Coronavirus FAQs for more advice.
When the weather's not on your side
On rainy days where walks are more of a quick dash in the downpour, adding indoor enrichment to your dog’s daily routine can be a great way to keep your dog entertained. Our DIY snuffle mat is a great enrichment toy that encourages your dog to sniff and search out hidden treats.
Download our Enrichment Guide for more ideas.
Enrichment Guide PDF 447 KB