If you need to tire your dog out on a walk in a short distance, work their brain instead.
We don’t always have time to take Honey on a long walk from our boat. But we know how to give her a workout even when a walk is short.
Work The Brain Or Work The Legs
If you take your dog on a ten-mile hike, they’ll sleep deeply once they get home. But your schedule probably doesn’t allow you to give your dog that much exercise every day.
The good news is that you can tire your dog just as much by working their brain as by working their legs.
If we can’t take Honey on a long walk, we make sure she has a stimulating one. If you want to tire your dog out on his walk, maybe one of our tricks will work for you.
How To Tire Your Dog On A Short Walk
Living on a small boat, we just can’t survive with a crazy dog. We need to make the most of Honey’s exercise time so she can settle down in our tiny space.
We do the following things to make Honey’s walks more tiring.
Add play time
We don’t put Honey’s leash on her and then walk her through the park. We start and stop our walks with play time in between.
Honey likes to play fetch, bitey face (a weird game where my husband lightly smacks her in the muzzle while she pretends to bite him; she loves it), and rolling in the grass while getting her tummy rubbed.
Usually, Honey will tell us when she’s ready to break up her walk with a game. But I’ll also bring a ball or her favorite tug ring out of my bag while she’s checking her p-mail. Once Honey sees a fun toy, she’s ready for a new kind of fun.
And speaking of p-mail…
Walk somewhere new
This is an easy one for us. We live on a boat. The longest we ever stay anywhere is a month. And when we’re traveling south for the winter, we may walk Honey somewhere different every day.
That means Honey never gets bored by smelling the same smells.
If you take a regular walking route, do you notice your dog only taking short sniffs? If all the other dogs in your neighborhood walk the same way you do, they’re smelling the same dog scents over and over again.
New things are stimulating for dogs and for people. Maybe you don’t have lots of safe options for walking your dog a different way in your neighborhood. If not, why not take a drive somewhere and try something new? It will be good for both of you.
Do agility moves
When we lived in a house, we took advantage of construction sites and rocky gorges to practice agility moves with Honey. It helped her learn to move her body in new ways–ways that have come in handy now that she has to scramble around on a boat and dinghy.
That construction tape around the sidewalk repair makes an easy leap. A low bench can make a great table to jump. And parking bollards can become practice weave poles.
It took me a while to realize how much fun it would be to train Honey to do tricks. She enjoys learning things so much it’s hard not to smile.
While out on a walk, Honey practices putting her paws up on a bench and weaving through my legs. And sometimes she even gets to show off her “high-five” for a new friend.
While leads me to one of Honey’s favorite parts of a walk.
Meeting new people and other animals
You should see Honey when a stranger walks by. She looks up expectantly. She wags once or twice. And if the person continues on without petting her, Honey’s head and tail drop despondently.
Honey is a social animal.
Not only does she love meeting people as well as dogs and cats, she finds the interactions mentally stimulating.
When greeting someone smaller or more vulnerable, like a baby or a cat, Honey calms herself to seem less threatening to her new friend. All that impulse control takes a lot of brain power. And it tires her out.
If we can’t take Honey on a long walk, a short one by a playground or public festival will tire her out just as well.
Benefits Of Walking Your Dog
When you add play, variety, tricks, and social meetings, walks become lots of fun–for you and your dog. But most of all, they’ll tire your dog out. When you live on a boat, it’s a necessity. But even if you live in a house, it’s a pretty nice gift.
Your turn: What’s your favorite way to walk? Do you mix it up? Or do you like a regular routine?