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Seasonal tips

Gratitude Walks: A Thanksgiving Tradition for You and Your Dog

Add a Little Extra Thanks to Your Doggy’s Thanksgiving Day With a Walking Meditation

This year, go one step beyond telling your dog thank you around the Thanksgiving table—show them with a gratitude walk, or a walking meditation, before and/or after the big meal.

How’s a Gratitude Walk Different From Any Other Walk?

Easy, just walk like your dog.

When a dog’s on a walk, they’re on a walk. Mind, body—nose, especially! It’s admirable, really. They don’t have their doggy phones out. They aren’t distracted by anything other than everything currently around them. The sights, sounds, smells (oh, the smells!), the ground beneath their paws.

We could all stand to take our dog’s lead when it comes to how we walk. And there’s no better time to start than with our dogs and gratitude on Thanksgiving!

3 Ways to Walk Your Dog With More Gratitude

1. Be fully present with your dog. They may not look like the portrait of a peaceful meditating dog with their wildly panting tongue flapping about, but you can be sure your dog is in the moment and experiencing what’s around them in every possible sense. Do the same (with or without your tongue out).

2. Share 3 things you’re grateful for—silently or out loud to your pup. The 3 things can be about your dog, the meditating walk, life in general, or this year’s doggy Thanksgiving day in particular. Mix it up every walk.

3. Tell your dog thank you when you get home. You’ve just shared a pretty special time together, improving the health and happiness of your hearts, bodies, and minds. Not to mention, solidifying a new gratitude tradition with your dog. Bonus: Want to really seal the deal on this Thanksgiving dog bonding activity? Say thank you with a treat! WHIMZEES® Fall Shapes Dental Treats or any of these fall doggie treats are tasty, festive, and sure to be much appreciated.

Every Walk Can Be a Gratitude Walk

With a little extra mindfulness and intention, every walk with your dog can be a gratitude walk. No matter the day or dog friendly walking path, there are also a few extra walking tips to keep in mind for every walk to be more enjoyable for all involved.

5 Extra Tips for Every Walk

1. Get ready – Assess the outdoors that day. If it’s hot out, do an early or late walk—and don’t forget the water. If there’s snow, put on those coats and/or booties. And that goes for everyone in the family!

2. Bring some treats and water – Who doesn’t need a little snack on the go? It’s positive reinforcement, good hydration, and another way to tell your dog thank you.

3. A shorter leash – Retractable leashes can be fun, but a shorter leash can help you keep them safer and away from other dogs who may be nervous or not as excited to see you. Try to avoid pulling on the leash. It’s all practice and training!

4. Give them time to sniff! – Dogs are always grateful for a moment (or every moment!) to stop and sniff. It’s great for mental health and an especially effective workout to mentally stimulate older dogs.

5. Take time for the bathroom – While we all want to keep moving, there’s nothing grateful (or graceful) about walking and pooping at the same time. Let your pup take time to do their business and, as always, stop to pick it up in a doggy bag.

Start a New Gratitude Tradition With Your Dog

Once you finish watching the Thanksgiving dog show on TV and share some doggy Thanksgiving recipes around the table, head out on a dog friendly walking path for a walking meditation with your four-legged friend to do a whole lot more than just digest. Take a stroll to connect your feet to the ground, your heart to your hound, and your mind to the moment. Your heart, mind, and canine will thank you for it.

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