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How to Spice Up Your Dog Walks

Keep your dog walks exciting with these tips

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Dogs, like people, can get bored by the same old round‑the‑block routine. Keep your walk-time fresh and interesting by mixing it up a bit. Think new sights, new smells, new friends. Here are some fresh takes on the walk to keep it exciting.

1. Socialize
Stop and talk to strangers who are also walking their dogs and ask if your dogs can socialize a bit. If their dogs (and yours) are friendly, this is a great socialization opportunity.

2. Make a pit stop en route
Combine activities: make your destination a friend’s house, the pet store (your dog will love stopping for a little treat!) or a dog-friendly patio. If you can accomplish an errand (the post office, perhaps?), even better!

3. Walk with friends
Sure your dog is great company (the best), but it can be nice to catch up with friends while out walking your dog. Bringing along to-go coffees can seal the deal.

4. Take a new route
This is good for both you and your dog. We’re all creatures of habit and can find ourselves treading the same route without giving it much thought. Why not reverse your routine by starting off in the direction you normally finish, push on one block further, or explore a brand new neighbourhood? New scenery keeps it interesting for you both. Predictable, when it comes to walks, is boring.

5. Bring another dog
Offer to pick up a friend or family member’s dog and take him along too. This good deed may be reciprocated when you need it and your dog, if social, will relish the canine company.

6. Bring along a shelter dog
Some shelters will let you “borrow” an adoptable dog to bring along on a walk or hike. Hawaii, Utah, Colorado, Maryland, and Northern Virginia are among the states that have programs that let visitors take shelter dogs out hiking. The dogs get some much-needed exercise and affection, space to show their true colours outside the stressful shelter environments, and an opportunity to mix with the general public, hopefully meeting a would-be adopter. What better use could you and your dog possibly put a weekend walk to?

7. Stop at an off-leash neighbourhood park for a romp
Let off some steam before continuing on your way. No off-leash park in your area? Pause for a tug session. Playtime is fun time!

8. Take the time to train
Dog walks are a great time to brush up on some basic training and improve your bond with your dog. Ask for and reward desired behaviours—stop, sit, look at me, wait—during your walk. Learning plus treats equals a good—and productive—time.

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