Every morning before I start to work, whether it be a day of recipe shooting or a slow computer day, I go for a walk. A dog walk, specifically.
Before I go any further, let me introduce you to my furry best friend, Rascal. Working from home has its perks and getting to share my day with this 1 ½ year old golden retriever is one of them. Often times I find myself chatting with Rascal about mundane things and just generally cuddling him any chance I get. I really do believe pets have a great place in work environments. If I ever find myself feeling stressed he is always right by my side. Plus, he is one of the goofiest little things I have ever met and always gets me to chuckle even on my off days.
The number one way to make Rascal happy?! Hands down, a nice long walk. Before I step foot into my office we make our way outside for a good 2 miles. Not only does it help me start the day with a fresh mind, it tires Rascal out so he lets me work more diligently. Having a young pup is a lot of work and takes a great deal of exercise!
Follow along with me as I share my 5 favorite ways to make dog-walking feel more enjoyable and less like a chore!
1. Get yourself ready first.
No matter what time of day we take our walk I always make sure I am in some super comfy workout or ‘athleisure’ outfit. This includes comfy shoes, a Dodgers hat, and my Ray-Bans. It makes the whole walk more enjoyable and I can focus more on Rascal and less on myself.
2. Don’t forget your treats and some water.
When Rascal was a puppy we had a dog trainer come in a few times a month. She worked with Rascal on simple commands and even kicked started his walking routine. The number one thing she recommended for walking well was having lots of treats on hand. It is so much harder to keep a dog’s attention once they are out in the world. Considering Rascal weighs about half as much as I do, I knew we had to get him walking properly or he would be walking me! The Dexas Pet Snack-DuO is my favorite for carrying Rascal’s treats and water. The bottle has this amazing portable canister that makes holding it on our walk a breeze!
3. Try a shorter leash.
I know a longer leash or a retractable one can seem more freeing, but they can be so dangerous in the long run. When we are on the street I keep Rascal on a 4-6ft leash so he is out of harm of spontaneous cars, hazardous waste on the streets and other dogs. Rascal is Mr. Congeniality and would seriously say hello to every pup on the street if I let him. The reality is, not every dog is friendly and it is way safer to keep him or her in close proximity to you for those ‘uh oh’ moments.
4. The nose goes.
One of my biggest pet peeves with Rascal is when he stops and smells a bush, plant or just the cement… like every five seconds. I know this can be so frustrating. We all attempt for a nice peaceful walk like we see in any PetSmart commercial. The reality is… pups noses are no joke! One of the best things you can do is, don’t pull! This will make your dog confused and stay put even more. Try bringing a squeaky toy or poke them in an unexpected area to distract them. To help alleviate this habit I have a spot on our walking routine that I let Rascal have an ‘open sniff’ period. Believe it or not letting your furry friend have this special time will totally help mentally stimulate them and wear them out even more than just exercise!
5. Wipe your paws!
After your walk is over it’s so important to give your pup a little wipe down. Dogs pick up anything and everything on their paws. I use the Dexas MudBuster to quickly clean Rascal’s paws off after each walk. It takes less than two minutes and prevents any debris from coming in. This is especially important if you live in a cold area during the winter so any ice melting chemicals don’t come in contact with your pup! For the rainy months I love to spray some Fresh Wave Lavender Spray to keep the house feeling fresh and combat that ‘wet dog’ smell!