Walking your dog is about so much more than just “potty breaks.” Walking your dog provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, chances for socialization, and opportunities for behavioral training. Moreover, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.
Walking Provides Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Walking your dog regularly provides a basic foundation for physical and mental health. Like a child, your dog wants to know the world. If he or she is confined to the house for too long, your dog will get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world. This is why it’s also good to vary the places you take your pet as dog much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy (and excited) your dog gets when he or she is walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover!
Walking is Good for Your Dog’s Health
Remember, too, that a sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, he or she still needs another outlet for pent-up energy. 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!
Walking Helps with Your Dog’s Socialization
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. Walking your dog and exposing him or her to different dogs, people, and situations is a win for everyone.
Walking Your Dog is a Training Opportunity
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.
Just Walking Your Dog May Not be Enough
Exercise needs are based on your dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health, but a good rule of thumb is you should spend at least 30 minutes every day on an activity with your dog. Younger dogs and dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more.
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! Find more ideas on what activities you and your dog can do together in The Animal Foundation’s Guide to Your Dog’s Play Time and Activities.
If you’re at work all day, consider taking your dog to doggie daycare, hiring a dog walker or 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.
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.