A man stands outside with his two dogs and plays with them as the sun sets.

How to Explore New Walk Routes with Your Dog

Walks are opportunities to encourage exploration and curiosity with your dog, which is why a new walk route can be beneficial. Yet, not every dog is always eager to break from routine. Here’s how you can safely and comfortably introduce a new route to your dog and why it may benefit them.

Why Explore New Routes on Your Dog Walk?

While dogs may enjoy regular routines for comfort, they also need mental stimulation – which a new walk route provides. Here are three reasons why you should choose a new route for your next dog walk.

1. Introduces New Scents, Sounds, and Sights

Dogs have an amazing sense of curiosity and a knack for exploring. With a new walking route, these traits can be encouraged.

Every tree, fire hydrant, lamppost, and patch of grass is a new wonder of smell and sight. If you live in a busy neighborhood, walking a new road also allows you to experience new sounds.

A new walking route will help to keep them engaged with the world around them and excited for what a walk with their owner will bring next.

2. It’s Mentally Stimulating

Like people, dogs benefit from mental stimulation, which a varied walking route can provide. The exposure to a new environment can help engage them intellectually, which keeps them mentally sharp and agile.

This stimulation can be especially beneficial for senior dogs to keep their minds active and alert.

3. It Encourages Them to Explore

As previously mentioned, dogs thrive in a routine. In fact, some dogs enjoy it so much that they fear exploring. They lack confidence in the initiative to engage with new things. So, new walk routes can help with this behavior.

When you walk a new route with confidence and encourage them, your dog will gradually become more inclined to engage with new environments from a place of exploration rather than caution or fear.

Familiarity can bring a lot of comfort to dogs. However, it’s important to remember that introducing them to new environments can benefit them in multiple ways and encourage them to engage from a place of confidence.

Handling Dog Walking Anxiety with New Routes

While it’s true that dogs enjoy exercising with their owners, some dogs have difficulty walking new routes. In fact, it can cause anxiety. Whether it be refusing to leave the house or suddenly refusing to move in the middle of a walk, dealing with dog walking anxiety can be difficult.

Here’s how to ease your dog’s anxiety and how to introduce them to a new route or environment.

1. Know Their Limits

When it comes to walking anxiety, it’s important to know your dog’s limits. Too much exposure to what they’re afraid of can cause them to be even more stubborn.

It’s important to pay attention to their body language and behavior, like:

  • Whining
  • Excessive panting
  • Lowered ears and tail

These behaviors will indicate if they’ve reached their limit. So be mindful and respectful of where their boundaries are. Knowing these limits will also help you create a tailored walk for them that’s exciting, explorative, and safe.

2. Slow Exposure and Desensitization

One way to lessen your dog’s walking anxiety is by gradually introducing stimuli that trigger their stress.

This could be done by playing common noises that they’ll hear outside, taking brisk walks that introduce them to the new environment, and having them smell things from outside.

If your dog is scared around other dogs, start with distant encounters and only go as close as your dog can handle. The key is to ensure small, positive experiences that break down the negative feelings your dog has.

Remember that it may take time, so be patient and follow your dog’s pace.

3. Offer Rewards

Just like training, positive reinforcement can be extremely beneficial when transforming your dog’s walking experience.

Bring some treats to reward them for their good behavior and for overcoming an emotional obstacle. Doing so will help them connect the new change to something positive, building their confidence.

Remember, addressing your dog’s anxiety or uncertainty about a new walking route requires empathy, patience, and planning. With a healthy understanding of your dog’s limits, you can help confidently and safely enjoy a new world of sights, smells, and sounds.

Track and Elevate Your Dog’s Health with Get Joy

Looking for ways to track your dog’s health more accurately? At Get Joy, our X Whistle Collar has tools to help owners better track their dog’s health during walks and other activities with the help of AI technology.

We also sell high-quality meals that are made with your dog in mind. We’re dedicated to providing meals that put fresh ingredients first so your dog can experience optimal health and wellness. Learn more today!