A New Way To Walk Your Dog
Reinvent your daily dog walks to make them easy, relaxing and fun!
Twice per day, 14 times per week, 60 times per month, 730 per year… that’s a lot of dog walks! No wonder dogs and their owners get tired of the same old boring walks!
It’s time for a shake up. Reinvent the daily drag to help your dog calm down, listen to you and relax… and you can enjoy stress free walks packed with fun, freedom and adventure!
What’s the problem?
When walks are monotonous or uninspiring, dogs become disinterested, disconnected, and ultimately seeking out their own stimulation elsewhere, and that’s when we see pulling on the lead, reactivity and recall problems rear their ugly head.
These behavioural problems can be manifestations of boredom, frustration, and unmet needs. Dogs are social creatures that thrive on companionship and mental stimulation. Without proper engagement and connection during walks, they are more prone to display undesirable behaviours that arise from their innate drive to seek stimulation and connection.
In a nutshell, dogs find their own entertainment… and it’s often stressful, inconvenient or embarrassing to us.
It’s crucial to recognise the impact of lackluster walks on a dog's behaviour and overall well-being. By understanding the connection between unfulfilled mental and emotional needs and the emergence of problems like pulling on the lead, reactivity, and recall issues, we can address the root cause and seek appropriate solutions.
By prioritising mental stimulation, interaction, and meaningful connection during walks, we can ensure that dogs are engaged, content, and less inclined to seek their kicks elsewhere. Incorporating interactive activities, positive reinforcement training, and environmental enrichment can transform walks into engaging and fulfilling experiences that promote better behaviour, stronger bonds, and overall well-being.
What benefits can we expect to see?
Prompt recall responses: An engaged dog is more likely to quickly respond to recall cues. They will be more attentive to you overall, turbocharging them with lightning fast recall responses.
Loose lead walking: When your dog is calm and focused, it’s way easier to train them to walk calmly on a loose lead without pulling or lunging. They can pay attention to your cues and maintain a relaxed, cooperative walk.
Improved social skills: Dogs that enjoy a greater level of engagement with their humans on walks tend to have more pleasant social interactions with other dogs and people because they exhibit appropriate greeting behaviours and polite manners.
With so much at stake, don’t you agree it’s worth reinventing the daily dog walk?
Here are 5 tips for getting started
There’s a common assumption that if you have a high energy dog, you need to tire them out with more and more physical exercise, until before you know it you’ve created a dog that struggles to switch off - and you struggle to meet their increasing exercise needs.
Instead of solely focusing on physical exercise to tire out a high-energy dog, it's important to consider an approach that incorporates both mental and physical stimulation.
While physical exercise is necessary for a dog's overall well-being, excessive emphasis on physical exhaustion can inadvertently create a dog that is constantly amped up and unable to relax. This can lead to a cycle of increasing exercise needs and a dog that becomes even more demanding in terms of activity.
To break this cycle, it's crucial to provide mental stimulation and enrichment alongside physical exercise. Dogs have intelligent and curious minds that require outlets for mental engagement. Mental challenges and interactive activities during walks, such as the ones we teach in Scentventure, can provide the mental stimulation that high-energy dogs need.
Engaging a high-energy dog's mind not only tires them out mentally but also promotes relaxation and a sense of satisfaction. Mental stimulation can help them use their energy in a productive and fulfilling way, reducing restlessness and the need for constant physical exertion. Balancing mental and physical stimulation allows for a well-rounded approach that meets your dog's needs while preventing an excessive reliance on physical exhaustion.
By reframing the mindset around high-energy dogs and exercise, and considering the importance of mental stimulation alongside physical exercise, you can create a healthier and more manageable routine for both you and your dog.
2. Think quality over quantity
One of the first things I encourage new clients to do is stop thinking of dog walks as needing to get from A to B in X number of minutes, or repeatedly throwing a tennis ball because there’s nothing else to do.
There is so much more to do.
You don’t need to walk miles - especially if your dog pulls on the lead! Rather than trying to cover lots of ground to tire your dog out, prioritise engaging with your dog. Pause often for sniffing, searching, climbing and adventuring. Practice quick, simple activities for bringing your dog’s focus back to you, and increasing calm and connection so they choose you over the many distractions out there. This is just as tiring for your dog - and you keep your shoulder in its socket!
Incorporate quick and simple focus techniques during the walk that redirect your dog's attention back to you and strengthen their responsiveness, fostering a deeper connection so that when a distraction does appear out of nowhere, your dog is primed to ignore it and check in with you instead.
When my new clients first hear about quality over quantity, they often feel guilty at first because they worry their dog isn’t getting enough exercise. They’re pleasantly surprised when they find Scentventure walks actually leave their dogs more relaxed than an hour-long adrenaline-fuelled drag. By prioritising engagement and connection over time and distance, you can create a more enjoyable and healthier experience for both you and your dog.
We’re giving you a toolkit of these activities in our summer Scentventure dog training challenge! You can register FREE here.
3. Swap ball play for scent games
We know that mental stimulation is rewarding and relaxing, yet it doesn’t take many brain cells to chase a ball or run alongside you when you go jogging. Scent games on the other hand provide a full workout for mind, body and nose. They leave dogs tired and relaxed, without pumping them full of the stress chemicals (adrenaline and cortisol) that make their excitable behaviour worse.
Scent games tap into your dog's natural instinct to search and track scents, providing a rewarding and mentally satisfying experience. These games require dogs to use their powerful sense of smell to locate hidden objects or treats. By engaging their olfactory abilities, scent games offer a more comprehensive workout compared to activities that solely focus on physical exertion.
Engaging in scent games not only challenges a dog's cognitive abilities but also helps them relax. Unlike high-energy activities that can pump dogs full of adrenaline leaving them high as a kite, scent games promote a calmer state of mind. The process of sniffing and searching stimulates our dogs’ brain in a positive way, releasing chemicals that reduce anxiety or restlessness.
If your dog is really addicted to the ball, wean them onto scent games slowly by hiding it for them to sniff out instead of throwing it, gradually reducing the dependency on the physical act of fetching.
By introducing scent games during walks, you provide a well-rounded and relaxing experience for your dog. Not only does it tire them out both physically and mentally, but it also allows them to engage in their natural instincts. Scent games offer a fulfilling alternative to ball chase that promotes calm and balanced behavior, steering away from the excitement that can exacerbate problematic behaviors.
One of the simplest scent games to start with is a Scentventure classic, Cheese Trees. You can find step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial here.
4. Make the environment work for you, rather than against you.
When it comes to dealing with distractions during walks, trying to compete with the environment can be a challenging and frustrating task. Instead, a more effective approach is to work with the environment rather than against it. By utilising the natural elements and obstacles around you, you can turn the walk into an engaging and interactive adventure.
One way to do this is by actively seeking out obstacles such as logs, rocks, signposts, steps, or low walls that you encounter during the walk. We call these Scentveure Stations! These natural or man-made structures provide opportunities for your dog to engage in physical and mental challenges. They can climb onto, balance across, go around, crawl under, or even jump over them.
Scentventure Stations not only add variety and excitement to the walk but also encourage your dog to think and problem-solve. It requires them to use their physical skills, coordination, and mental abilities to navigate and overcome the obstacles in their path.
Working with the environment in this way provides several benefits. It redirects your dog's attention from potential distractions around them (other dogs, people, traffic, wildlife, etc) to the task at hand. Dogs are naturally curious and enjoy exploring and interacting with their environment. By incorporating Scentventure Stations, you tap into their natural instincts and provide an outlet for their energy and curiosity. Furthermore, working with the environment strengthens the bond between you and your dog because as you guide and support them through the obstacles, you build trust and reinforce your role as someone fun and interesting, rather than someone to be ignored!
Start with easy Scentventure Stations and gradually increase the challenge as your dog becomes more confident. Always prioritise safety and ensure that the obstacles are appropriate for your dog's size, age, and physical abilities.
By actively seeking and engaging with the environment during walks, you can turn a mundane walk into an exciting adventure. Harness what’s already out there and available to you on walks to stop your dog seeking their own entertainment that often lands them - and you - in trouble.
5. Work Together
Working towards something concrete and positive during dog walks adds an extra layer of motivation and enjoyment to the experience.
Achievements serve as tangible milestones to mark progress, reinforce positive behaviour, and enhance the bond between you and your canine companion.
Here's how you can incorporate this concept into your walks:
Choose an activity: Select a training programme that aligns with your interests. This could include obedience training, therapy dog training, or a lifestyle activity like Scentventure. Find an organisation or trainer that offers an award system for completing specific milestones or achieving certain skills.
Train and practice: Dedicate regular portions of your walks to work towards your goals. Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward and reinforce desired behaviours. Break down large goals into smaller achievable steps to keep the training process engaging and rewarding.
Celebrate achievements: When you reach a milestone or earn an award, celebrate your achievements! Display your badges proudly, take photos and share your accomplishments with friends and your doggy community. This celebration not only recognizes your hard work but also reinforces the positive experience of walking and training together.
By working towards badges, certificates, or rosettes on your everyday dog walks, you create a sense of purpose, engagement, and achievement for both you and your dog. Of course you should prioritise the well-being and enjoyment of your dog throughout the process and always engage in activities that are appropriate for their age, abilities, and physical condition.
If you love the idea of adding a sense of purpose and achievement to your walks, you can work towards a Scentventure Award! It’s like a scavenger hunt, but you’re ticking off activities that you and your dog do on walks. Collect the badges and see your achievements grow and your dog’s behaviour transform!
The benefits of reinventing the daily dog walk don't end with your dog's amazing behaviour - it’s great for us humans too as it keeps walks fresh and exciting!
This is the opposite of scrolling your phone while your dog couldn’t care less whether you’re there or not. You and your dog are now on an adventure together!
There's a whole new way to ‘walk’ your dog. We call it Scentventure.
No more boring walks
No more not knowing where to go or what to do
Every walk can be a Scentventure!
You can try it for yourself - FREE! Prevent pulling, lunging and recall problems with a toolkit of quick + simple training techniques to calm your easily distracted dog so they relax, ignore distractions and listen to you. And have way more fun in the process!
Oh, and you will earn your first Scentveture Award too!