Walking your Buddy (or Spot or Fido) is so much more than just a way of exercising man’s best friend. It stops him or her from getting bored, it’s a behavior training opportunity, and it teaches your dog how to behave in canine company. On top of all this, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.
A sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings all sorts of potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, they still need another outlet for pent-up energy. Young dogs need around an hour of daily exercise, but some dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog, as tired dogs tend to behave better, and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!
If your dog has a yard to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch! If you’re at work all day, consider asking a friend to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you.
When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity! Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. On these walks, you can begin teaching commands like, “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” especially if you take treats along to use during the process.
While out walking, your pooch is most likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great opportunity to help your dog learn acceptable ways of socially interacting with new animals! It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make friends. If your dog does show fear, taking them to a training class is a great way of removing that anxiety in a more controlled environment. Well-socialized pups still like a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but they’ll know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars.
Like a child, your dog wants to know the world. If they are confined to the house for too long, pets get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Wild animals learn about their environment through mothers and members of the clan, and a domesticated animal only has that opportunity for a few weeks while with their mothers and siblings. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world, and it’s recommended to vary the places you take your pet as much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy (and excited!) your dog gets when he’s walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover!
Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you’ll never look at a walk with your dog the same way again!
Don’t have a dog of your own to walk? Volunteer with The Animal Foundation and help enrich the lives of our pawsome shelter pooches!