I'm going to be honest with you this week... I'm struggling! I'm used to spending my whole day outside, exploring trails and having fun with all the dogs. Now we're all restricted to up to an hour of outdoor exercise a day! So today I wanted to give you a few tips on how to make the absolute most out of that small window of time we have in the great outdoors.
Look for Those Hidden Treasures
Firstly have you found every nook and cranny that your local trail has to offer? Maggie and I have been looking high, low and in between for natural tunnels, little streams and the occasional rabbit hole. That's right, I had to save Maggie from entering an unknown animal hole and never coming out again! She really isn't the brightest, but she is the sweetest. Bless her! There are always new adventures to be had right on your own doorstep if you look in the right places. Ben and I took Maggie on her usual walk and found a whole new trail leading from the path that we'd never seen before. It did only lead to an empty field, but it was an unexplored field for us! Take this time to slow down, there's no rush these days. Look at your surroundings and really take them in, what haven't you noticed before? What has your dogs powerful sniffer picked up that you've not had the time to investigate?
Take advantage of your dog's nose!
It is the most powerful sense of smell in the animal kingdom. Use it! Unless they've sniffed out a dead animal then you can leave that alone. A dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times more sensitive than ours so imagine the hidden gems they can find. Imagine an Olympic size swimming pool. It's said a dog can sniff out one drop of blood in that entire of water. The term, needle in a haystack means nothing to them! If you have multiple members of your household, ask someone to walk the route before your dog heads out. They can hide treats, smear peanut butter on trees for them to find and even try the toilet roll game I showed you last week. Teaming up sniffer games with physical exercise, rather than power walking them their way round their usual walk, taps into their natural instinct and increases well being. Therefore leaving you with a happier dog who is less likely to be mischievous when they get home. Win!
Keep Them on Their Toes
Dogs love to please their owners. Unless you're Maggie who would only love to please her bed! They will follow your lead the majority of the time. I say majority because they do have a mind of their own too! Is there one trick that your dog knows perfectly, they'll do it every time you ask? Try and practice this on their walk route. Try their basic tricks where the distraction level is over one hundred! We've just spoken about all the smells that are hitting them, then there's other dogs and now they have to think about the treat in your hand and what you're asking them to do. Also you could try changing pace and direction. When your dog is having a lovely time sniffing away, turn around and either walk or run the other way. I love doing this with Maggie, especially if Ben or I hide from her! She looks to see where we are and runs to catch up. There is so much praise from both of us that it's her favourite game. Or we just stop! She doesn't like that as much because she wants to keep going, but we find it amusing...
As you can see, I've been spending a lot of time in my sweatpants! I hope these have given you a few ideas to help make the most of that very short time we all have outside at the moment. You'll be having so much fun that before you know it we'll be back having long Sunday walks in the Peaks again. Boy, do I miss it! See you next week!
Until next time keep those tails wagging,