Trainer shares the secret to calmer walks for you and your dog (spoiler alert: it all comes down to mindfulness)

Man and dog sitting down enjoying the view while on a walk together
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are so many mental health benefits that come with walking. Lacing up your trainers and taking a walk around your neighborhood, or hitting your favorite hiking trail, a great way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. And if you choose to walk with your canine companion, it can help strengthen your bond, too! 

Alongside packing a few of the best dog treats for your pup, one of the best ways that the two of you can enjoy walking together is to practice something known as mindfulness.

You may already practice mindfulness or heard it being mentioned in recent years, but did you know that mindfulness doesn't just mean sitting silently on the floor with your legs crossed and your eyes closed? 

It's true! According to expert trainer Jess Adam, going on a mindful walk with your dog means you can experience the benefits of this practice anytime, anywhere. And the best part? When you incorporate mindfulness into your daily stroll, you get all the benefits that walking brings with it, too. Talk about a win-win! 

Keen to learn more about one of our favorite ways to build self-care into your dog walk? Read on as Adam reveals how to practice mindfulness while walking your dog...

First things first, what exactly is mindfulness? "Mindfulness simply means focusing your awareness on the present moment," explains Adam. "Dog lovers can benefit from using mindfulness to help cope with stress and remain present when working with their dogs."

While it's definitely easier said than done (the mind loves to wander!), Adam suggests that the next time you go for a stroll with your dog to practice bringing your full attention to what you notice with your senses. 

Here's the sorts of things Adam says you may notice while on your walk:

  • "The sounds of your feet and your dog's paws hitting the ground
  • The warmth of the sun on your face
  • The bold colors of spring flowers
  • The feeling of the leash in your hand
  • The smell of the air."

And if your mind keeps throwing up thoughts? Adam says to welcome them.

"Try to observe your thoughts and feeling without judgment, reaction or response," she advises. 

"When your mind begins to wander, or you start to disconnect from how your body feels, gently bring yourself back to the present moment by noticing and naming what your senses you're taking in."

If you'd love to try a mindful stroll with your dog but are worried about committing your whole walk to it, don't be. Even three minutes of mindful walking can help you feel calmer and more connected to your pup. 

As Adam points out, you can always see if you can increase the time as the practice becomes more comfortable for you. 

When it comes to our top tips to help keep dog walks fun, practising mindfulness is one of our favorites. Why not give it a go sometime?

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Pupford Beef Liver Training Freeze-Dried Dog Treats
$16.89 from Chewy
We gave these to our tester Isaiah for his dog Hayes to try. He reports back that they're his new favorite treat and are a suitable size for training. "He could and would eat the whole bag if allowed!"

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.