After a couple months of the same walking route at a local park, I decided to switch things up a bit with Claude and head out to the forest. The change in his general demeanour was an interesting one; it was like he had more spring in his step. This made me wonder if dog’s get bored of the same walk, so I decided to put it to the test. Here’s what I found out.
Do dogs get bored of the same walk? Yes, dogs can get bored of the same walking route. Just like humans, dogs can get bored of the same walk day in and day out. Dogs love to experience new sights, smells and people! If your pup is acting out of sorts, it might be time to change up the same old boring routine.
But how did I get to this point, and decide that dogs get bored of the same walking route?
Well firstly, there’s the anecdotal evidence of seeing Claude appear to be happier when we had a trip to the forest. I also spoke to other dog walkers on our travels and the ones I met out in the forest said they would come out to freshen up not just the dog’s routine, but also their own.
After all, who wants the same boring walking route every day? We wouldn’t as dog walkers, so I don’t think it’s a stretch of the imagination to believes dogs would think any differently is it?
There was something else I had noticed also though; destructive behavior.
I had to leave Claude at home for three hours one day, and our newly planted rose bushes had been dug up. I thought it was strange, as he hadn’t had a lack of exercise, and had been walked twice a day for weeks.
This made me wonder if Claude the French Bulldog was bored of the same walking route daily. Once we started to alternate the routes each day between the park and forest walks, this digging up of the garden actually stopped.
Was it a coincidence?
Perhaps… but for me, it does sound like the two things could be closely related.
Anyhow, aside from my own personal experience, I also spoke to a dog behavioral specialists over email. I asked my vet as well.
What the experts say about dog walking and boredom
Below you can see a synopsis of what the experts say, some of whom appear to back up my own observations, others not.
What the vet said
“I don’t believe that dogs get bored of the same walking route each day. Unlike us humans, dogs are not visually orientated. That means they work off smells and sounds so even the same walk will be radically different from day to day. For example, if you have a male dog, he will smell the scents of females who have peed on the grass since the last time you were at the park. I honestly think that walking the same route every day will never be boring for your dog as there will always be new and fresh scents and smells every time.”
What the dog behavioral specialist said
“I am a firm believer in variety when it comes to dog walking. Dogs pick up on owner’s feeling very quickly, so the first thing to think about is how bored you are of the same walk. If you are, your dog could pick up on it. But more importantly, I believe that dogs need a variety of walks to keep them alert and interested. The happiest dogs I have worked with are the ones which have varied walking routes as just one aspect of their life.”
So, there you have it. Two differing opinions from two different experts.
Whilst I completely see where the vet is coming from, I still prefer to take our dog on different walking routes nowadays.
It keeps me fresh and interested, and also means that Claude gets to meet new dogs he might not get to meet otherwise.
And social interaction is great, particularly for French Bulldogs which is the breed we have.
But how do you go about changing up your dog’s walking routes so things don’t get boring? It can be as simple as just walking in the opposite direction that you usually start off with, but let’s not limit ourselves.
We want some change, and here’s how to spice up your beloved dog’s walking routine.
1. Walk a different route for a change
When it comes to walking your pooch, try to walk a different route once in a while. If you usually walk around the block, try to walk around a different block, or walk in the opposite direction of which you normally start.
You could even hop in your car once a week with your dog and drive to a dog park or a new spot that allows you to walk your dog. We also take Claude to the beach as we’re lucky enough to live near water. He loves to jump into the shore (but not too deep, Frenchies can’t swim).
You might feel lazy though after a long day at work to get in your car and drive to a new spot though; If this is the case, you could always walk to a nearby store to quickly buy something, or stop and speak to a friendly stranger, who might show some interest in your best friend.
Another idea could be to walk to a friend’s house who lives nearby. Stay for a cup of coffee and let your dog enjoy his new surroundings for a bit.
There are many ways to spice up your dog’s walking routine.
2. Walk with a friend
If you live close to a friend who also has a dog, you could also walk together around the block. The added company of a friendly face could do you and your dog wonders.
Not only will you have someone to chat to about the day, but your dog will also have a buddy to sniff around with.
3. Take the whole family along
Perhaps you like to jog or walk with your dog on your own. If you would like to change your dog’s routine, get the whole family involved. Take your kids and your spouse with on your weekly walking adventures. Your dog will be happy with the attention and company.
You could even walk to a park together, and let your kids play fetch with your pup.
The extra exercise will leave your dog feeling happy and tired. He won’t have the energy to destroy your garden if he is left exhausted at the end of the day.
4. Walk a bit further than usual
If you have the energy, you could always push on and walk a bit further than usual. Walk another block. Walk another 2 blocks, if you like.
The new sights, sounds, and smells will leave your dog feeling excited and add to their mental stimulation.
One thing we did recently was take Claude on the bus to a completely different part of the city. He loved the excitement of travelling, meeting new people, and then the adrenaline buzz of going to a park he’d never visited before. He definitely wasn’t bored of this walk at the weekend! You can see him on his first bus trip in the photo below.
5. Use walks as an opportunity to train your dog
Another great idea to make your dog’s walk less boring and more exciting is to use walks as an opportunity to train your pup. Take a few treats with and teach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, heel, come and fetch. This is what we did when Claude was a puppy.
You could even make commands a bit harder each time, by making your dog wait longer for a treat, or sit for longer. When your dog obeys, reward him with a new tasty treat.
It’s also a good time to train your dog to not pull on their leash.
6. Let your dog roam free
If you have a well-behaved dog and there are no other dogs around and it’s sensible to do so then let your dog loose and sniff around.
Dogs love being free to roam and explore new smells. This is great fun for your pet, and this will also tire them out.
This is one of the main benefits (aside from alleviating boredom) that we have found with our forest walks. Claude can roam and run around with no restrictions.
He’s one happy dog when we’re out in the woods.
How else can you keep your dog mentally stimulated?
Besides walks, what else could you do to keep your dog mentally stimulated?
If your lazy to go for a walk on a particular day, you could always stay home and play with your dog for a good solid hour or so.
Play fetch, tug of war, or let your dog catch water from the hose if they like water. You could also use some brain games, to help mentally stimulate your four-legged friend. You could place their food in a toy, and they could try to figure out how to get their food out of their toy.
Another idea is to make them wait for their food, before eating it. Place their food on the floor and tell them to wait. When you give the command, they can eat. This is great for obedience training and it can be a fun game for your dog. I’ve even seen some people place a treat on their dog’s nose and tell them to wait until they get the go-ahead to eat.
Another fun thing to do is to teach your dog new tricks. You could teach them to shake paw, or rollover. Dogs love the extra attention and the new learning curves adds to their mental stimulation.
Training also helps boost your dog’s confidence and helps to improve their manners.
One really fun game is to let your dog use their sniffer to find things in your house. Hide a treat somewhere, or a toy and tell them to find it. We loved doing this with treats.
We would hide a treat in one hand, and then our pup had to put a paw on the hand, that had the treat in it. Start off with an easy hiding spot, and when your dog finds the treat, make sure to make a big fuss about it.
This shows your dog, that you are pleased. Reward him and try again. This is a really fun game, that boots your bond with your dog.
You could also create an obstacle course for your dog. I remember as a kid, I would make our Frenchie Claude jump over something like a stick and then make it a bit higher each time. He loved it!
Whilst there is no real scientific evidence to suggest one way or another whether dogs get bored of the same walking route each day, I am sure you can agree that it’s a great move to vary things up as much as you can.
I believe that a dog who has different walks and experiences is always going to be a happier dog. And what about us owners? Well, I know that from my own experience I get bored of the same walk, so by changing things up regularly things keep fresh and we have so much more fun.