Dogs have an amazing sense of smell; it’s thought to be 10,000 times better than that of humans. So it’s easy to see why sniffing out their environment is so important to them.
Taking the time to let them explore and discover new smells on their daily walk is the perfect way to show them that you care about what they like.
It will also encourage you to explore new areas in search of new sights and smells.
Dogs are natural hunters so allowing your friend to enjoy the thrill of searching for a well-loved toy is stimulating and rewarding for them. Playing 'find it' with your pet can also be done with small, dry treats.
Toss them periodically and let your dog know there is something to find. As well as adding interest to your walk, it will give you more control over what your dog eats during your walk by distracting them from eating anything they find on the ground.
Your dog needs to understand that good behaviour during walks is always rewarded. This is especially useful if you live in an urban area where meandering off the track or pavement could be dangerous.
Be very clear with your companion that you’re the one in charge. Keep some small, dry treats in your pocket during the walk to reward good behaviour. But don’t go overboard – it’s important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and to avoid overfeeding.
Socialisation of dogs with humans and with other breeds and animals such as cats should begin as early as possible. Interacting with other dogs during your walks will help your canine friend to see other dogs as friends rather than enemies.
It’s important to learn how your pet reacts to other dogs to ensure you can remain in control, and remember they may behave differently on and off-lead.
If you have recently adopted an older dog that demonstrates signs of hostility towards other dogs, food will be your best ally.
Start giving treats whenever another dog (cat, or person) approaches so he starts to associate the pleasure of food with making new acquaintances.
Changing your pace from one walk to another will make it feel less repetitive for both of you. If your health allows it, consider going for a run, speed walking or even kicking a ball around with your dog.
It will be more enjoyable than doing it on your own.
If you go out for a jog with your dog, you might want to create a route using a tracking app. You can create fun route shapes such as a bone that you ‘draw’ as you go on your walk, and it could give you the motivation to go the extra mile!