When Avy and I go out for a walk we do one of three things: 1) an off-leash trail walk 2) an on-leash neighbourhood walk, where I choose the route and length of the walk or 3) the “choose your own adventure” walk.
There are a lot of opinions on whether or not you should allow a dog to stop and sniff whatever they want while you are on a walk. Just google “should my dog sniff on a walk” to see pages of opinions on the topic. When I was first training Avy I read a helpful article that suggested that once your dog has learned to walk properly on the leash you should let them have the occasional walk where they are allowed to explore and sniff as much as they like.
Another article from a local dog training company suggests that letting your dog explore their environment while sniffing will help to tire them out. http://yaletowndogtraining.com/let-dog-sniff/
For Avy and I this translates to a “choose your own adventure walk”. When we want to go out for a neighbourhood walk and I’m not on a tight schedule I will let Avy dictate where we will go and how long we will spend in each place. It’s fun for both of us, because it will take us in directions we don’t always go and Avy gets to pick what she wants to do.
For today’s choose your adventure walk Avy took me up the street to her favourite dog food store, where of course she got a cookie. Then she took me across the street and through a pedestrian park. There she decided she wanted to sit in the sun for awhile and watch everyone go by. After sitting for about 10 minutes she was ready to go so we carried on. This time she took me to a fenced empty lot in the neighbourhood which is used as a play area for the local dogs. There were no other dogs there today so I played with Avy, throwing sticks for her to chase. Finally after she had enough of that we carried on home.
Really, it was the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. We got lots of fresh air, enjoyed the sunshine and Avy got to pick everything that she wanted to do. If you have a dog that is well trained on leash walking I highly recommend you give this kind of walk a try.