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You've Got Time

26/07/2018 - Advice

You’ve got time.

In the world we live in, we are on the go, ALL THE TIME!
‘I have to be there, I must do this, I don’t have the time, I’m too busy, I’m exhausted!’
Have you got time for your dog?
Have you got time for your life?
In the many years I’ve been working with dogs, I see quite a lot of them on walks with their guardians.
Some are beautifully mutual walks, the owner is actively engaging with their dog and vice versa, in play, chase, affection, lots of praise and rewards, this is truly beautiful to watch. 
But what I mostly see is a dog and a human on 2 different walks.
Human on phone possibly with ball thrower in hand (HATE these things!)
And dog continuously chasing a ball, or going off to find their own entertainment, possibly to the detriment of another human dog walking combo. 
Busy lives shouldn’t mean no time to enjoy walking your dog.
It’s a chore, must walk the dog! Quick! Hurry up! Get a move on!
Think about your dog’s life. 
WE chose what dog to bring into our home, our family. 
WE chose what they eat and when they eat it and how they eat it. 
WE chose when they go out to toilet! 
WE chose when they go for a walk, where they go for a walk and how they go for a walk. 
WE also chose Where they sleep when they sleep and even how they sleep. 
Dogs are social animals, (most dogs) love our attention, they get excited when we come home (who else does right?) they eagerly await our undivided attention, they hang on our every word, every movement, every breath.
They celebrate our happiness and comfort us in our sadness. 
Are we giving THEM enough of OUR precious time?


Walks shouldn’t be about getting from A to B in a certain amount of time! 
They should be about the adventure both parties experience in between. 
I would rather you and your dog have a 30 min stroll where you are both interacting than an hour walk where you both ignore each other and get to that B point.
Doing this is way more beneficial for you AND your dog mentally, emotionally and physically. 
You build and athlete, you live with an athlete. I have met a LOT of people who just can’t seem to tire their dog out. Every time the dog shows a bit of energy they think the dog MUST need another walk, then spend the next hour running their dog ragged.
Think about this for a minute. 
If you train your dog to run they’re going to get good at it, build up stamina for it and will need longer and longer and more and more  walks to tire them out. 
This my friend is how you train athletes. 
No one wants to live with an athlete, they’re hard work, so why are you training one?

How to go on a ‘Mutual adventure’ walk:

  • Explore new places:Even on lead. Some of the best walks I have had with my dog have been on lead walks. We explore lovely places slowly together,  with lots of calming flowery scents. We sit together and look out onto beautiful vistas…heaven.
  • Learn new routes:On a ‘normal’ walk, if I see an new route or somewhere we haven’t explored yet then we’ll have a mooch and see what’s around. Doing this we have discovered some more beautiful routes.
  • Let your dog lead the way:Sometimes I leave my house, my dog on lead and let her decide which direction she wants to go. She did manage to take me across town to the pet shop, a pet shop she had never been to before and now generally takes me there all the time now, so I’d suggest taking some money with you just encase they want to spend it! 
  • Play games:I play a few games on my walks. One of them is I hide behind a bush or tree, still keeping my dog in sight and call her. Or when she looks up at me I may run away leading an utterly hilarious chase me game. Or we may play find the ball or treat, we also do some balance work on tree stumps, benches and tables or proprioception work on sticks and steps. 
  • Do some training:Practise your communication on a walk, do somerecallloose lead, heel work, learn a trick, have some half time calmness, do some scent work. 
  • Just chill:How often do you just sit with your dog on a walk? Take in a vista, smell the roses, sit down and chill yer beans, have a mutual picnic.
  • Go on a Sensory dog adventure.

Other things you can both do together:

  • Take them with you to visit friends (as long as your dog is ok with the environment and people/pets already there.)
  • Let them sleep in your room. Even sleep time can be bonding time. Count up the hours your dog spends with you each day… how long is that?
  • Have a mooch round pet friendly shops together. 
  • Go to dog classes together. Even though I teach dog training classes, I also love to be a participant with my dog, learning something new together, interacting, being a team, bonding and generally having FUN FUN FUN! See my website for
  • Talk more to them. I don’t mean bark more instructions at them, do this, do that! I mean have conversations, tell them your troubles, tell them how amazing they are, how much you love them and how happy they make you.
  • Meditate with them. I LOVE meditating with Sookie, I need to do it more, it really is a great thing to practise. 
  • Take a day off and spend it JUST you and your dog. WHAT????
  • Make grooming a bonding experience. Stroking them checking for ticks, brushing their fur, cleaning those teeth.
  • Go to an outdoor café/dog friendly pub (again if your dog is happy to be in that environment) 
  • Go on a dog friendly holiday. Instead of travelling abroad and leaving your dog at home/in kennels. Why not book a dog friendly cottage somewhere and explore the area together? Go camping, hire a campervan/caravan. There are a lot of holiday companies now geared up to helping you travel and holiday with your dog. 
  • Create enriching activities.

What’s in it for us: Spending more meaningful time with our pets…

  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Reduces stress. 
  • Combats depression.
  • Gets you moving.
  • Great for your heart.
  • Keeps you social (in some cases)
  • Creates happy hormones. 

"You aren’t here forever, You’ve got time, spend it wisely. No regrets."
- Emma Goulding-Bosworth