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What makes a good dog walk?

Making your dog’s walk varied and interesting will help to stimulate them mentally as well as physically, which is important for your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Here we take a look at what makes a good dog walk.

The route

If you can vary where you take your dog for a walk, this can keep your dog interested on a day to day basis. Why not hop in the car and explore a few different walks in the area? Varying the location can make the walk more interesting for you too.

The usual route

If you don’t have much time to explore different routes, then take steps to make their usual route as varied and interesting as possible. Follow different paths, take a circular route in the opposite direction or introduce different games along the walk.

Play games

Fetch, frisbee or a game of tug can break up a walk and add a bit of interest, especially if the walk includes a park where you can let your dog run long distances.

Exploration

Keeping your dog on a lead close to heel can be very frustrating for a dog when you are out for a walk and there are lots of interesting things for them to explore. Take them on a walk where they are safe to be let off the lead so that they can interact with the world around them. If they stop to sniff something, don’t be tempted to pull them away as they may find this frustrating, and be sure to take the walk at your dog’s pace.

Socialising

Taking a walk is the perfect time for your dog to socialise with other dogs as well as people. Ask other dog owners before allowing your dog to approach their dog and allow them to play together as long as the play doesn’t become too rough. If your dog is happy to be approached, allow other people and children to stroke and interact with your dog. Giving your dog access to lots of different types of people can help their social skills, especially while they are still a puppy.

Running

Pick up the pace and try running with your dog. If you have a big, active dog you could even try cycling whilst your dog runs beside you. Make sure you do this safely in a location that has a wide cycle-friendly path away from busy roads.

Equipment

Use a collar or harness and lead that your dog is comfortable with. If the weather is cold and your dog is prone to feeling the chill, give them a doggie jumper or coat to wear. On hot days or long walks, take a collapsible water bowl and bottle of water for your dog to keep them hydrated. If you’re walking in the dark, wear bright or reflective clothing and take a torch with you. You could give your dog reflective clothing to wear too, or even a light to wear on their collar.

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