As I write this, it’s winter and a little bit dull outside. When times are like this, finding the motivation to keep to your regular dog walking schedule can be challenging. There are, though, a number of methods to make dog walking more enjoyable. In this article, I’ll go into 6 things that I do, or have done, to make walking my cockapoo more fun!
1. Create an Image on a map
This was an excellent challenge a friend once set me that really made dog walking around my local area much more fun!
Basically, the idea is that you walk a route so that if you track it on your phone using an app like Strava, then it creates an outline picture on the map.
Now, these can be extremely simple, like basic shapes, or you can create really intricate images of anything you can imagine. My favourites are of course ones that people spend weeks planning (see an example here); however, you can easily plot little dog walks around your local area to create your own cool map drawings.
Below is one I planned out using “My Maps” on Google Maps, which I think resembles a little kangaroo. I know, I know, it’s not very good – but creating map images as part of your walk really does help to give it a sense of purpose. Not only that, but you end up looking at your usual streets and neighbourhoods in a whole different light.
2. Get an Audible Subscription
I can’t tell you how much having an Audible subscription helps to make dog walking so much more fun and enjoyable.
When Ziggy was a puppy, I took up a free trial offer and have never looked back. Not only does having your favourite novel read to you really help to motivate you to leave the house, but I find it also means I always end up looking to extend my dog walks just that little bit longer to reach the end of a chapter before returning home.
At the time of writing, I’m currently listening to Normal People by Sally Rooney and it is FANTASTIC! I can also recommend a really fascinating free podcast called “Nut Jobs” – which is all about organised crime and almond farms … sounds a bit strange, but my gosh is it interesting! You can read more about what Audible has to offer here.
Oh, and if you’re going down the Audible route while dog walking, some inexpensive wireless headphones are a must to stop any tangles with the lead. I personally use these wireless earbuds, and the battery life is brilliant.
3. Apply the rule of always right, or always left!
This one is a fun method to liven up shorter dog walks, particularly the shorter “around the block” style walks. The rule for this one is simple – you have to always turn left, or turn right on your walk. Obviously, a bit of common sense should be used here as it’s not always possible, but we find it really helps to discover all of the small cul-de-sacs and alleyways in the local area.
We’ll also switch on this rule mid-way through a walk that we’re not too familiar with – generally, if you apply the rule, you’ll end up walking in a loop to back where you started and end up seeing things and navigating routes you may never normally come across.
Not only does this help to make your dog walking more fun, but it is also a fantastic method to teach your little ones which way is left and which way is right!
4. Get your cockapoo dog to smell the way
If ever you’re a little bored on your walk, or maybe you’re just lost in a brilliant Audible book, then letting your dog “smell the way” is a great, low effort, method to make dog walking just that little bit more interesting.
The concept here is really simple – all you do is take a step back and let yourself be guided in the direction your dog wants to go. Of course, care should be taken here to not let your cockapoo pull you along and develop bad walking habits. However, if you do this once or twice a month then it’s not really going to cause any problems.
Once, we let our cockapoo Ziggy smell the way and our walk ended up paddling along a stream! (Luckily we were all wearing wellies that day!)
5. Make walking (or running) a game
Gamification has become a huge trend in recent years, and basically is just a way to make more everyday activities that little bit more fun.
As I’ve written before, I really enjoy jogging with my cockapoo, and have started to combine this with an app called Zombies Run! Essentially, this app plays through your headphones and combines with your normal music and makes you part of a story set in a zombie apocalypse. This means that every run or walk becomes an audio adventure where you complete missions to collect items, and increase your pace to outfox zombies breathing down your neck. You can then use the items when you get back home to help equip your Zombie hideout!
Not only does this app instantly give you a workout, but if your dog is anything like ours, they’ll love the mental workout that the game provides through random changes of pace.
6. Take your dog Geocaching
Dog walking and geocaching are two activities that are absolutely made for each other. Geocaching is, in essence, a really fun, free treasure hunting game where you use your phone’s GPS to get to the rough location of the “cache,” and then solve clues set by the person who hid it to find the hidden item.
If you’ve not come across Geocaching before, you may be surprised to know that there are millions of Geocaches hidden across the globe – from inside museums to remote caves. They’ve been hidden there by other geocachers, and are basically little boxes that tend to contain a little log book to sign your name, and sometimes little toys or items for the kids.
If you download the official Geocaching App, then you get access to maps showing the approximate locations of geocaches, and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll be some in your area. Sometimes though, the route can get a little muddy (we have an article with some tips to survive a muddy dog walk if you’re interested)
If you have a family, Geocaching is a great way to give a little bit more purpose to a dog walk. It is also strangely satisfying to lift up a branch, or turn over a rock, and spot the thing that you’ve been hunting for! Not only that, but Geocaching can inspire you to discover new walking routes in your local area – a sure way to make dog walking more fun and interesting.
Hopefully, this article has helped to provide some new ideas for you to make walking your cockapoo, or any dog, a little bit more interesting. At times, it can be a little bit difficult to find the motivation to go head out into the biting wind or lashing rain, but if there’s one thing I would urge any dog walker to do, it would be to get yourself an Audible subscription. Trust me, you won’t look back!