Mindful walking with your dog

Walking your dog is a great way to build a stronger bond with your pet. It’s also an easy way to enjoy incidental exercise, plus it ensures your pooch stays happy and healthy with plenty of stimulation and new scents to enjoy. Here’s how you can take your regular dog walks to the next level by incorporating mindfulness.

What is mindful walking with your dog?

From the moment you bring home a puppy or rescue dog, your new life begins. But it all tends to sail by so quickly – it’s easy to forget to take a moment every now and then to forge lasting memories. Mindful dog walking is a way to spend some quality time with your furry friend while getting physical and mental health benefits.

‘Mindfulness’ is simply the act of being in the moment. Dogs already know how to do this. They don’t worry about the past or future; they embrace the now and try to find joy in every activity. So mindful walking with your dog is just about getting out into your natural surroundings and concentrating only on what you are doing at that exact moment.

Benefits of mindful dog walking

According to our latest Choosi Pet Lovers Report 2022, having a dog or cat makes Aussie pet owners happier (62%), boosts their mental (96%) and physical wellbeing (88%), and even contributes to reduced stress levels (55%).

Because our dogs need regular attention and exercise, incorporating mindful walks into your routine can ensure both they and you are enjoying every moment. But beyond the inherent physical and mental health benefits of walking your dog, mindful walks could have a similar impact to brief mindfulness meditation which can help you better process your emotions – so a single negative incident doesn’t ruin your entire day.

Moreover, getting out into nature can brighten your mood. Exposure to sunlight helps your body produce more vitamin D, which has been shown to protect against depression, as well as encourage better bone strength and support a healthier immune system.

4 tips for mindful walking with your dog

  1. Ditch the phone: Make sure you unplug and give yourself the chance to experience a mindful wander through nature.
  2. Let your dog lead the way: While it’s a fantastic exercise tool, you don’t need to bring along a ball to fetch on your mindfulness walks. Instead, give your dog the freedom to explore with their nose leading the way.
  3. Stay calm: Dogs have an innate awareness of what’s going on with their owner – so if you are stressed, they’ll be able to sense it. If it’s been a tough day, take a few minutes to unwind before heading out on your mindfulness walk.
  4. Change things up: Just like humans, dogs will get bored of doing the same routine over and over again. So, find a number of places for them to explore on different days, and consider adding unexpected elements throughout the walk, like scattering some treats under fallen leaves, or taking five to just sit with your dog and give them a relaxing massage.

Best locations for your mindful dog walks

The best places to visit on your mindful walks are where there are as few distractions as possible. That doesn’t mean going to places where there’s nothing to look at or explore, but rather where the noises and sights of everyday life are left far behind.

So, ditch the city and visit nature in all its glory. If you live right in the heart of the CBD, then you may only be able to get to a local park. If this is the case, then go at a time when it’s not so busy, which will allow both you and your dog to live in the moment without being distracted by other pedestrians and dog walkers.

Jump online and find out where the best nearby natural trails are. You can also take a drive out of town to visit some popular hiking spots (make sure dogs are allowed) or bushland (be aware of snake season and other hazards). The most important part is choosing somewhere that allows your dog to follow its instincts and is a place where you can relax and be in the moment.

Wellness for you and your dog

When you decide to transition your regular dog walks from a stroll around the block to more of a mindfulness exercise, it’s a good time to reflect on the overall wellbeing of your pet. This could include taking out pet insurance to protect against the unexpected.

Help to avoid unexpected vet bills if your pooch suddenly suffers an eligible accidental injury or illness. Start comparing a range of pet insurance policies with Choosi today.