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How to keep up winter dog walks

Love-winter-dogwalksToday was the coldest day in Melbourne for the year so far (sub ten degrees max) so I thought it timely to write about how to stay motivated in the winter dog walks.

Yes you can wrap up warm, bring your favourite coffee in a spill proof mug and bring along your favourite tunes, but for me all of that is pretty much redundant.

I see a few walkser there because they feel forced to by another family member or guilt, but the vast majority of people are engaged with tehir dogs performance and love seeing each of their dogs interactions. yes some people who have not been to the park very often are a little scared for hteir dog - but that only reinforces any of the dogs fears.

What really works for long term dog fitness and park visits is adjusting the owners perception of what they are doing.

A dog learns a trick or training ten times faster when it is presented as a game. When they are having fun they forget they are learning.  And why shouldn't learning be fun for everyone. The same principle should apply to dog walking, when it is done 'correctly'.

Yes there is no right way of dog walking, but plenty of 'wrong ways'.  if the dog and the owner don't enjoy the experience, then one of you is extremely compromising what you are doing.  The reality is that dogs are pack animals and unless they are very unused to meeting other dogs then they will crave being at the park and catching up with familiar and new dogs.  They are one of the most social creatures on earth and that is why dog walks are so amazing for a dogs mental and physical health.

The problem is that some dog owners will drag themselves around like 'sad sacks' because its winter.  I get that not everyone loves the cold weather and the wet dark starts, but that is why dog walkers exist.  If you are going to get into the swing of dog walking, all year round, you need to work out your motivations of why you are doing it, and how you can have fun doing it - if you intend on sticking to it.

If you really see your dog as a family member and a very close friend, a proper daily off lead dog walk is the best thing you can do for your best friend, besides feeding them a good proportion of meat in their diet.

I personally love seeing all of the dog interactions in my pack, and how they appraise a new dog that is visiting them. I see if I can guess better than a dog's reading of dog body language how another dog is going to behave in the meeting.  I like understanding why a dog in my pack play challenges another dog. Which dogs hunt and track, while others just saunter.  So many breeds, and levels of socialisation the microcosm of raw dog behaviour can teach many humans how to behave better !

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