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Sarah's Top 5 Tips for Dog Walks

Walking isn't just about 'walking'. There are so many other things you can do on a dog walk to enrich the activity, improve obedience and build a relationship with your dog. Let's chuck away the monotony of everyday routine and get that serotonin boost happening.

Here are my top five tips for making your dog walks fun...

1. Set boundaries and expectations. Divide your walks between short lead walks and off lead/long line walks. Separate these by asking your dog to Sit, taking their lead off/swapping to the long line, waiting for eye contact and then saying "Go!" This way, your dog will know what to expect, when they can roam and when they should be walking closer to you. Remember, if you can't call your dog back off lead, they shouldn't be off lead.

2. Variety is the spice of life. Bored of the same walk? I bet your dog is too. Change it up! Driving just 5 minutes up the road can open your dog's world to a whole new array of smells, sights and sounds. Street walks? Yes. City walks? Yes. Town walks? Yes. Countryside walks? YES!

3. Play with your dog.

Don't let all the fun come from other people and dogs. Take your dog's favourite toy and play a game with them. This could be tug games, fetch games, find it games, chase me games (don't chase your dog!) or hide and seek. Remember... everything in moderation. Short bursts of fun is where it's at. Please note, I do not advise excessive ball-throwing due to the long-term impact on your dog's joints.

4. Train, train, train!

Just because you don't plan on entering the next Crufts competition doesn't mean you shouldn't train. Most dogs love training and love having a job to do. My favourite things to reward are eye contact, trick training and recall but simply getting them to jump over little fences or put their paws up on rocks is all good fun.

5. Let them use their nose! Not allowing a dog to sniff on a walk is akin to us walking blindfolded. Sniffing is a dog's way of exploring the environment. Each new pee scent on a lamppost is the latest Facebook dog check-in. Don't let them drag you to a scent but ensure they are getting adequate time to sniff and decompress rather than rushing them from A to B. Quality over quantity!

And there you have it! 5 simple ways to keep your dog happy.

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