Happy National Walk Your Dog Week, everyone! This yearly celebration, which runs October 1-7, originated in 2010 to highlight the growing problems of canine obesity and behavioral issues. Though it officially ends tomorrow, that’s no reason to stop focusing on the importance of walking our dogs, no matter the weather or how busy we are, every single day.
There are so many fun ways to take dog-walking to the next level. One way is to make the experience transformative and healing for not just your dog, but also for you. In case you missed them the first time around, here are links to two articles I wrote on this very topic:
“How to transform every dog walk into a meditation”: In this piece, I share six easy tips you can try today to turn your dog walk into a walking meditation. Why meditation? Because informal forms of meditation, like walking your dog, can provide incredible benefits. Imagine bringing all of your energy here to this present moment and opening your heart to the peaceful power that exists in the now. This is something animals instinctively know how to do, but meditating with them can teach us this skill, too.
One way to do this is to follow your dog’s lead. Letting someone else “drive” can be liberating (even if that “someone” is a dog!). Maybe take a different path this time, and let go of feeling like you have to watch the clock. (Several more tips—as well as a special “Remembering Gratitude” meditation—can be found here.)
“The transformational power of walking your dog”: This second article digs a little deeper as to why the simple act of walking your dog mindfully can be so powerful. Breathing in fresh air, releasing endorphins, savoring the moment—these things get you out of your head and help you to see (and feel) the natural world in a way that is healing for both mind and body. For more, including how to include the Reiki precepts in your quiet daily walk, click here.
National Walk Your Dog Week is also a perfect time to reevaluate your dog-walking goals. Do you want to walk your dog more frequently? Or take him on longer walks? Do you want to walk more mindfully, or find new favorite places with your pooch? Take a few moments this week or weekend to brainstorm ways you can inject some newness and enthusiasm into your daily dog walk.
Even if walking your best fur friend is your favorite time of day, here’s a cool way to stay extra motivated year-round: Use an app that turns every dog walk into a fundraiser for your favorite animal welfare organization! Wooftrax and ResQwalk let you do just that.
Finally, here are a couple of innovative products sure to make each dog walk safer and more beneficial for you both: the StarWalk, an activity tracker for your dog that sends vital data to your smartphone, like temperature, calories burned, total steps and more; and these cool LED dog leashes and collars, which will come in extra handy this fall and winter, now that our days are getting darker earlier.
How do you keep your daily dog walk fun and fulfilling? Share your tips here. Happy walking!