Even though you might think otherwise, an outing with your doggo is never just a walk. Found moments for cognitive stimulation, whether one-on-one with a doggo, like here with Judgie Boy or the entire pack, requires just as much from me, the human, as it does for my doggo(s). It also allows me to stay current with my doggo’s communicative ways and presents opportunities for creative ingenuity to keep the fun fresh (yes, even when revisiting cognitive challenges for practice, that’s fresh-fun too)!
Our human-animal bond is strengthened by infusing opportunities for cognitive stimulation when on any venture together. And it’s this active-time spent together that invigorates the body, mind & emotions; allows for new perspectives to the world on a micro & macro level; cultivates empathy… it’s never just a walk.
So give it a try! Spice up the active-time with your doggo. Start small. Make it manageable. Enhance the good stuff you’re already doing. Consider your usual active routine & possible on-the-spot opportunities the routine itself may provide (i.e. setting), try-out an added layer of cognitive stimulation (like I’m doing here with weaving between the pillars), evaluate your doggo’s response to the activity, reassess & revise as needed.
There is one non-negotiable, no negative reinforcement! If your doggo presents a hesitant response to the added activity, respect the presentation of the doggo’s feelings with love & reassurance. Empathize with your doggo, even say “let’s try again tomorrow,” & resume the enjoyable aspects of the routine as you and your doggo have established. Build upon the fun and cognitive stimulation, love the moment, love your doggo for trying something new, & give yourself a pat on the back while you’re at it, your efforts are noticed by the one who matters, your doggo.
Don’t have a doggo but still want “in” on some of this good stuff? Here are a few ideas:
- Join a friend on a walk with their doggo(s)
- #Volunteer at a local animal shelter
- #Foster! Give some one-on-one active time to a doggo who needs it most! The result (1) you adopt the doggo or (2) get that doggo ready for their furever family
- #Share this post with others
- Connect with me ✌️❤️🐾