It has been a crazy couple of months here in Cascadia for us nomads. We thrive on adventure and being too busy for wild journey's is tough on all of us. Since the dogs are always smiling, it is most likely that we humans are the one's who are bored with taking the same old dog walks through the neighborhood. But I bet the dogs get a little tired of it too. Try as we might, we fit dog humans can't always make every walk a super exciting adventure... or can we? Even when life gets in the way of awesome road trips and exciting dog travels, we humans can find ways to spice up the same old walk. Any way to make the humans happier to be out getting some exercise with the dogs likely makes the dogs a bit cheerier as well
Our usual walks when we are busy take us out into the neighborhood to run errands. We walk the same streets and go to the same places. And we don't have a lot of extra time. *yawn.* So lately I have been working on making our dull errand walks a bit more fun. It doesn't take extra time, but it adds a little extra excitement:
- Walk on the other side of the street. Years ago when I worked as a personal trainer, I told clients to do this because the slope of the street can change their workout and muscle balance. Now I suggest doing it while walking the dog so they can sniff something new!
- Choose a slightly different route. When we don't have time to wander Cascadia, trying to get lost, we'll walk one block over from where we usually walk. Even if it is just for a short portion of our walk, I can tell the dogs appreciate the new scents.
- Enjoy the sights and smells. When you are busy and stressed, studies have proven that being outdoors relaxes you. Don't you think it's also likely to relax your dog? So enjoy the clouds blowing overhead, the leaves falling or the dew on the grass while your dog enjoys sniffing the breeze, the leaves falling or some other kind of moisture on the grass.
- Be sociable. Visiting friends or pet friendly businesses always wears our dogs out. While socialization is no substitute for getting your dogs heart rate up, stopping to say hello to friends and neighbors while out on a walk gets your dogs a lot of the daily stimulus they need in short period of time.
- Intervals. It doesn't take much extra speed to spice up your walk. Mixing a faster paced walk or a jog into your usual routine is the best way for both you and your dog to get exercise fast. When I am not feeling my best and I just don't have even a 60 minute walk in me, a 30 minute walk with as few as three faster paced intervals mixed in, makes the dogs very happy.
- Sit. Practice a few simple obedience commands along the walk. Extra stimulation for the dogs; multitasking for the humans.
- Call in reinforcements. Our dog walker doesn't give our dogs enough strenuous exercise, but having her come when we are sick is better than nothing. Having someone else at the end of the leash for a change is fun and exciting for our dogs.
Most people say that when they get busy the first thing that gets dropped off their to-do list is walking the dogs. Our dogs would never allow that to happen but when we are sick and crazy busy, it is so hard to get them the exercise they need and the adventures they deserve. All we humans can do is our best and we know the canines at least appreciate our efforts.