How To Make Daily Walks More Fun For Your Dog.


Dog owners are frequently advised in books and on websites that, in order to keep their four-legged companions healthy, they must have regular daily walks. However, it is not always impressed upon the reader that this exercise should be enjoyable for the dog! Holidays4Dogs muses on the subject of dog walks and, if dogs could talk, what would be their ideal way to enjoy their daily preamble?

Daily exercise.

I once saw a little dachshund dog taking his exercise with his owners. Unfortunately, he had no option other than to walk between two pushchairs. Therefore, in order to avoid being caught by the wheels on either side, he was forced to walk delicately and carefully. One wondered if this was the norm for the little fellow’s daily dog walks.

He side stepped now and then, to avoid becoming trapped beneath the buggy. To add insult to injury, his lead was attached to the pushchair handle. Thus, when he lagged behind he was jolted – unceremoniously – forward again. He really didn’t appear to be having much of a pleasant walk at all.

Similarly, there is a lady I see walking her dog every day on precisely the same route. She has a cocker spaniel on a long lead, presumably because she is unable to allow the her pooch off lead. This might be fine; after all, he has a fair old length of lead before he comes to the end.

However, I have never seen the owner engage with the dog whatsoever. He forages around trying to make the best of his tether – scooting this way and that, but running in ever decreasing circles. His owner stands, rather like a totem pole, in a world of her own and one that, seemingly, doesn’t involve a dog of any description at all. Daily dog walks can be made so much more fun for people, as well as dogs!

Looking at things from the dog’s point of view.

Sometimes, it is necessary to reason from the dog’s point of view in terms of daily dog walks. Where this is lacking, this must surely be of the greatest annoyance to the poor unfortunate creature who belongs to such a person. It is a shame some people don’t even seem to recognise the needs of their dog, let alone honour them.

Many owners – like the lady with the spaniel, or the girls with the dachshund – appear to have other more pressing matters on their mind, than the needs of their ‘companion’. The spaniel, for example,  may very much appreciate a little entertainment with a ball. The dachshund a nice ramble, without the confines of moving wheels either side of him.

Expeditions and adventures.

Most dogs love being in the great outdoors, engaging in things they instinctively need to do. Plunging through long grass for scents, or galloping after playmates.  They love new places, new sights, new smells and when the wind gets up; scoot around in sheer delight at the swirl of windward scents.

A monotonous street parade, over the same old pavement may well provide for the dog’s physical well being. Surely, though, it does nothing for his spirit.

Dogs enjoy expeditions and adventure, so it is important to bear in mind that this mustn’t be in a hurry. A hasty and dreary walk around the same old route, especially if this has to be over unyielding pavements, must be deeply disappointing for the unlucky four-legged recipient. Daily dog walks can be made more fun, simply by changing the scenery, or route.

A dog must at least be given time to delight in his own adventures. Investigate a rugged patch of ground, perhaps. Linger by a rabbit hole, or mooch around the banks of a pond, where he may peer hopefully into the depths or, perhaps even take a dip. Senior dogs particularly probably appreciate more time to stop and stare.

Final thoughts.

Dogs provide us with a connection between ourselves and the natural world. As such, we can learn much about ourselves, our canine companions and the world around us.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil, or jealousy, or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden” 

Milan Kundera.