We see it all too often, someone out walking their dog, the human part of the equation with most of their concentration focused on the phone in their hand, while the dog trots along at their heel on the lead. Job done, the dog has been walked, right?
Our dogs receive very little in the way of choice. They live where we put them, sleep where we permit them, and eat what we put in front of them. They go for a walk when and where we take them, usually along the routes that we dictate. Part of the wonder that is the dog is how forgiving they are of the restrictions we put on their lifestyle. Many dogs will go along with whatever we make them do, with a ready wag of the tail. In reality, they really have no choice in the matter. Are we truly being fair to the dogs in our lives?
Rephrase the idea of the dog walk in your mind. Make it less ‘walking the dog’ and more ‘walking with my dog’ and engage more with them while in the process of walking. Put down the tech and pick up the habit of focusing on your canine companion. It should be the dog’s walk, the time they get to spend outside of the house with one or some of their favourite people, investigating the world around them.
Even if you, for whatever reason, cannot allow your dog safely off lead to run loose, give them the chance to pick which direction to go in. Let them spend five whole minutes investigating that clump of leaves, and check out the messages all the other neighbourhood dogs have left in the area. It is the dog’s walk.
They spend so much of their lives living around us and abiding by the decisions we make for them. On those occasions when you clip the lead to their collar or harness and step out of the front door, leave the decisions up to them all the time it is safe to do so. Watch them, see what they actually like to do, the routes they prefer to take. Make it so that it is the dog’s walk.
This little change will have huge benefits for your relationship with your dog and your enjoyment of each other’s company. Putting down the tech and stepping out to spend some real proper time with your dog will be good for both of you. Change those little things so that it is the dog’s walk, but you are likely to find that you enjoy it more as well..