Thank you to Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Behaviorist Colleen Paige, National Walk Your Dog Week founder: http://www.walkyourdogweek.com/.
Sheba is telling her siblings to get out of their comfy places and get out walking! #DogWalkingWeek kicks off today! Join us, the Cascadian Nomads and Dolly the Doxie in our celebration! If you don’t know what it’s all about, please read all the details in our introductory post “Our Walk Your Dog Week Celebration Begins”.
We are ready to start our daily walks for one week today, and we’ll be sharing all about them over the next week. To help get you started, we’re going to share some tips that we used last year, and learned along the way of our 2014 walks. We’ll also keep you posted on how well we followed our own advice!
My first piece of advice last year was to Make a Plan! I’m already falling behind on that one, though I do have a rough idea of where we’ll be going and when. Having a plan helps to keep you motivated, and leads to less excuses not to get out there. I’m kind of in a “one day at a time” mode lately, but hopefully getting out there walking will clear my head and get me more focused!
At the same time: Try to be Flexible! I don’t know about the rest of the country, but I imagine you get the same crazy, unpredictable weather as we get here in New England. We’ve been in the routine of early walks lately, but now that the weather is cooling off, we’ll be going a little later. I prefer not to bundle up yet if I don’t have to! There’s also a hurricane headed for the East coast, so that may throw a wrinkle into everyone’s plans. No one is going to fault you if you miss a day or two because of the hurricane! We can always just tack on a couple days at the other end if we need to. Remember, our Walk Your Dog Week celebration stays open through October 15th.
Keep it Simple! Sometimes it’s best not to overwhelm yourself with elaborate plans. We’ll do longer walks some days, and shorter walks others. I will only be walking one dog at a time, because walking all three at once just doesn’t work for me.
Split up your multiple pets if it makes it easier. When our two girls were young, we had four dogs and we didn’t walk often. We played in the yard more, and I mostly walked our beagle Kobi because he didn’t play. I regret that….I wish I’d been more flexible and just taken the other dogs out for individual walks. If they had all learned to walk nicely then, I might have been able to at least take them out in pairs. Now that I get the girls out more, they walk much better. Plus, I think everyone enjoys their one on one time with me.
Multi-task! Walks don’t have to be only about walking. I use walks to work on training the dogs to heel, and on their loose leash walking skills as well. You can also practice getting them to pay more attention to you – we use the command “watch me”.
At the same time Let Your Dogs Have Fun! They don’t have to be in a march forward at all times (though that’s what my girls, especially Cricket, prefer to do!). Let them stop and sniff things. I sometimes get frustrated when all Luke wants to do is stop and sniff, but I try to remember that walks are for his enjoyment, and that’s what he likes doing. We may not cover as much ground, but it’s still time well spent.
Switch it Up! Try new places to walk; it really alleviates the boredom of walking in the same places all the time, for you and your dog. We’ll stick closer to home on the days I have to work, but on the days we have more time, we’ll get in the car and go someplace new, or that we haven’t been to in a while. It can be fun to find a place with some water. Even if your dog doesn’t swim, they might like just getting their paws wet. If it’s hot out, Cricket loves to just lie down in the water to cool off!
Use Proper Equipment! You don’t need a lot of equipment for walking, but having the right collars, harnesses, and leashes can make things much easier. We’ll share throughout the week some of our favorite equipment for walking. Don’t forget yourself either – having a good pair of walking shoes can really make your life easier. Remember to dress in layers if the weather is cool. A nice brisk walk can warm you up quickly!
One thing I learned last year was that the more we get out there, the better my dogs walk. We’ve been getting in quite a few walks this summer, but we haven’t been out daily. I look forward to seeing if more frequent walks show that same benefit again this year.
Don’t forget to sign up for our Commitment to Walk! You need to do so in order to be entered for chances to win prizes. The commitment is not just for bloggers, it’s for everyone! Just click below where it says “Click Here to Enter” and you can fill in what your plans are and your other information (your email is for prize winning purposes only, we would never share it). If you are sharing your progress on social media, enter a link to your public page or to our Facebook event page. If you are going to keep us posted on your progress through blog or social media comments, enter a link to a host blog.
Please be sure to check with your doctor and veterinarian before changing or beginning a new exercise routine.
Bloggers, join the hop and share your plans, progress, tips, and inspiration over the next two weeks! You’ll find that linky below as well, and remember, it is open through October 15th, so keep those stories coming!