March 6, 2014

FitDog Friday: Five Ways To Rev Up Your Walk with Rover

Have you fallen into a slump with your dog walking? Did you resolve on January 1st to walk your dog more, but now it's just so boring you don't wanna?

Well, here are 5 tips to put some oomph back into your walks with your pup.

1. Bored with the scenery? Drive to a different 'hood!
I used to do this in our old neighborhood, which was kind of isolated so I'd get really bored walking the same loop over and over and over and over. Some days I'd drive to another neighborhood, even just a short ways away, and then we'd have someplace new to explore. New smells for the pup, new houses to check out for you.

2. Use the time wisely
Our sniffy angel on a hike
2A. Does your dog take unusually long to catch up on his/her pee-mails? We used to have a beagle, and believe me there is nothing like walking a scent hound to let you know that "walking" is a relative term. What I generally did with her was stand around a lot, while she sniffed like she was a recruit for the bomb squad. Luckily Rita is only half beagle, so she's much less stubborn when I tell her to heal and we can keep moving. Still, sometimes I let her sniff.

When I do, I use that time to stretch my caves on the curb, or pull my foot up behind me to stretch my quad. The bonus with that is that standing on one foot is great for making sure you maintain good balance. (I read an interesting article in the paper the other day about older folks and balance. It said the time to work on your balance so you don't end up being afraid of falling is in your 30s and 40s. If you're already beyond that, it's not too late - try balancing on one foot while your pup sniffs, then the other. Do it near a pole or mailbox so you have something to grab if you need to.)
Rita: "I'll just roll in the grass here while you stretch."
2B. Even if your dog's not a sniffer, you can make good use of your walk time by pondering a work problem or an email you need to craft. Or maybe you've been meaning to write a thoughtful review of some author's book you read. (*wink*). Use this time to plan out what you're going to say. Just this morning, I planned out a good chunk of this post while walking Rita. 

3. Listen to music
Abby: "Which way to the Iditarod?"
Before Abby got cancer, we would go on ridiculously long walks to try and wear her out. I found that music really helped pass the time, and helped me keep my pace up - which was important with my crazy girl who acted like she was running the Iditarod every time we went out. 

However, I only recommend this if you have a safe neighborhood with sidewalks and a non-reactive dog. 

I can't listen to music anymore, because for one thing, I need to listen for things that Rita will take exception to (barking dogs, loud scooters, gardeners, etc.). I also need to listen for drivers cuz in our 'hood most of the streets, unfortunately, don't have sidewalks. And it's a statistical fact* that one third of those drivers are self important ass-hats who think that text won't wait! 

4. Practice intervals
Spice up your walk and turn it into a great workout by throwing in some intervals. Try walking fast (or jogging) for one minute out of every five. You can increase the intervals as you get more fit. Or if you don't want to bother timing yourself, just set a visual goal. "We're going to hot-foot it to that light post!"

When it's really hot (I know, I know - most of you would kill for some hot weather about now... try to remember this for the summer) we walk fast in the sun and then slow down and mosey along when we hit shady areas. (Our beagle was great for that. She loved to walk slow in the shade.)

5. Get a pedometer
This is my favorite tip and has really made a difference for me. I used to walk Rita ~45 - 60 minutes every morning. I felt like that was a good length for a walk, and - before getting a pedometer - I figured that would easily get me up to the 10,000 steps recommended per day. I used to get lazy most mornings and end up leaning toward a 45 min walk route, but I still felt like that was pretty good.

Well, once I downloaded the Accupedo app on my phone (probably not as accurate as a "real" pedometer, but works well enough for me), I realized I pretty much always walk at a 1000 steps/10 min. pace. So, yep... if you did the math on that one, a 45 min. walk = ~4500 steps. Not even half of the day's goal! 

Since I have a sedentary job as a writer, I like to meet that 10K/day goal as often as I can, so the Accupedo has helped get me into the groove of walking longer with Rita. Now I check my steps as we are getting closer to home. I try to get 6-7K steps in on our walk, because I know I can make up the rest running errands or straightening up the house. If I'm a little short, we'll add another side street on to our walk.
"Come on, Momma. Get the lead out!"

* I know it's a statistical fact because I sometimes count drivers who are on/not on their phones as they go by. This is also another way you can pass the time while out on your walk... So, I guess I should have titled this "6 Ways to..."

I know a lot of you are still deep in winter weather - here's to good walking weather for everyone soon!

Thanks to SlimDoggy, Peggy's Pet Place and To Dog with Love for hosting FitDog Friday!

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog with Love. Join our hop! - See more at:


  1. Great tips Jackie! I am amazed by how excited the boys get when we drive to another neighborhood (which I hate doing because I hate driving/getting in the cat when I don't absolutely have to.) But the boys act as if we are on the most exciting road trip ever and that makes it all worth while!

  2. We love going to new places but on the whole peeps lets me do my own thing which of course is hunting out vermin. That keeps me and her busy. I am thoughtful that way LOL. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Great post, love all of those tips :) I might get a pedometer like you suggest as I'm trying to get a little fitter myself

  4. Good stuff Jackie.
    Our dogs love going to new places. They seem to be energized by the new location.


  5. Great tips! We do lots of these things too. I do a lot of brainstorming with myself (2B) on our walks too. Walking is a great way to clear your mind to make room for more creative thoughts!
    Diane and Rocco

  6. Such good tips. Most of our walks are here on our farm or up and down our farm road. Lots of critters to watch and smells to sniff, so our pace is schizo :-) The most fun is when we run into one of the neighbors who is out walking her SEVEN dogs - yes all at once. It's like a pawty!

  7. Great tips on keeping walks ( a daily activity) fun! Listening to music does help pass the time but as you said if you do then you have to be hyper aware of whats going on around you and your pet.
    I love Fitbits for tracking my walks, trends and for keeping stats, they're a great new wearable.

  8. So great tips! I have totally gotten out of our walking routine due tho the weather and Leroy's health issues! I can't wait to get back out there!

  9. I'm not even sure if a highly sniffy walk counts as exercise. My guys can go so slowly sometimes it's maddening. But I do try to remind myself that the walk is as much for their sanity as my exercise. Dogs sniff, it's a fact of their life so I try to be tolerant. I give every sniff a slow count to 10, then I ask them to move on. If it seems extra good, I let them have a bit more time. You idea to stretch and balance is a good one!

  10. Walkies can get boring. I hadn't really though of getting a pedometer. One thing I do is try to imagine what it is that my dogs are sniffing and what kind of stories they are thinking about all those glorious smells. Although the walk may be boring to us, they never get tired of those ever changing and constantly intriguing smells.

  11. I could take a nap while walking Cousin Madam Star! Great suggestions!

  12. We hope the good walking/playing weather will be here soon to stay for a while and not just a tease!

  13. I am so missing our walks. This weather is just not permitting it. We walk a bit in the yard when I'm doing poop patrol, but no wood walks (too much snow and ice) and not on the road because of all the crap people put on it to melt the snow and ice. We are more than ready for some nice weather.

    Great tips here (many of my blog posts/story ideas come to me on our walks.)

  14. Those are all great tips! And we so understand about the sniffing mom spends a lot of time standing around but if she isn't watching i.e. emails, etc. next thing you know I am eating who knows what! But we agree about a change of scenery so with the weather improving we'll start venturing to different places again. Love Dolly

  15. Wonderful tips! Love the ass-hat comment! Have a great weekend.

  16. Love these tips! :) Lately I've been going out at different times to keep things a bit different. I love people watching when I take Nailah out on walks.

  17. I have scent hounds but they learned early that walking is walking, no dilly dallying around, so it goes well. If I let them sniff as they wanted I would be on a walk forever. We try to always walk different routes and drive somewhere different once a week to change things up.

  18. I take Mr. N with me when I run errands or go places around town. He appreciates the change in scenery.

  19. All great tips. I will have to think about some new interesting places to walk. :)

  20. I need to get a pedometer. Since retiring I'm a lot more sedentary. Although I do attend exercise class I too have been relying on walking the dog for more exercise. Like you I often plan my blog posts while walking. For a long time I listened to a Spanish-lesson podcast but had a couple of worrisome things happen while my attention and hearing was diverted so I quit doing that.

  21. Great tips for improving your walks. Over here, I've had to start shortening Leah's and Toby's. As age sets in they cannot walk as far. Meadow hates the cold, and although I still drag her out on walks for exercise, I'm looking forward to the warmer weather when she will really enjoy. :-)

  22. Yes, at this point we're just looking forward to being able to go on nice long walks again! We do walk some in the winter, but it's not as enjoyable. Those were great tips. Kobi was definitely a stop and smell everything type of guy, so that's a great idea to do some stretching and balancing while letting them do some sniffing.
    I like doing intervals too, it definitely makes things more interesting if we're just walking in the same old places.

  23. When Hobie was little, and email was new, I had to walk him twice a day (an hour each walk!) to burn off his crazy energy. I would compose emails in my head, make phone calls on my (then new and HUGE) cell phone, and think about other "work stuff" while on our afternoon walks.

    Having taken ballet lessons for years, and then yoga after that, I have excellent balance on one foot. It's a good talent to have LOL!


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