your dog gets more than just exercise on a walk
Whether you have four legs or two, we all know that exercise is important. Daily walks with your dog provide the workout that he or she needs, but couldn't they get the same amount of physical activity from just running around in the yard?
The truth is, your pooch gets so much more from a daily walk than just exercise!
Daily physical activity is important, but just running around in the yard can get a little mundane for your pup. Taking your dog out for a walk will broaden his horizons, helping to strengthen his social skills and even offers mental stimulation.
Walking for just 30 minutes a day can help to stimulate your pet’s mind enough to prevent behavior problems like digging, barking, and other noisome habits that many pups exhibit when they get bored!
Since dogs have a pack mentality, it’s important for your pooch to socialize with other animals. On a stroll through the neighborhood, your pup can meet some of the local dogs and even sniff around where some of his four-legged friends have been. Being on the other end of the leash reinforces your dog’s position in his “pack” or family by showing him to follow the walker's lead.
Daily walks can also help build trust and confidence in a number of ways:
- Socialization: on a walk around the neighborhood, your dog has the opportunity to meet new people and pups as well as explore new surroundings. These new experiences are crucial in the growth of your dog and will promote friendliness rather than fearfulness when confronted with new things. After all, socialization is the key to having a well-rounded pet!
- Training Opportunities: following another's lead, your dog will learn what is and is not acceptable behavior on a walk. Being on the other end of the leash, your pooch has simplified direction and guidance making it much easier for him to understand commands that can later be used off leash!
- Reducing Behavior Issues: if a dog exhibits behaviors like excessive barking or chewing, chances are that he might be a little bored! These attention grabbing behaviors will dissipate faster than you can imagine when your dog is exercising and exploring on daily walks!
- Reducing Hyperactivity and Excitability: if your dog can run laps around the backyard yet still be full of energy when he comes back in, he probably needs to go out for a walk! Exercise is critical, but seeing the world outside of the house offers mental stimulation for your pet that can make them feel much more calm and relaxed when they get back!
- Health Benefits: daily exercise helps your dog maintain a healthy weight and even aids with digestion. In addition to the physical benefits of a daily walk, your dog's mental health will flourish when getting out to explore and experience new things every day!
Keep in mind, though, that some dog breeds have a lower demand for exercise than others:
- Breeds with shorter legs, as you can imagine, don't need to walk as long as a larger dog would
- Dogs with flat or short noses, like bulldogs, can have trouble breathing when exercising vigorously and shouldn't be pushed too hard
- Larger, deep-chested breeds like the Doberman pinscher and the Great Dane shouldn't be exercised directly after a meal as the are more prone to bloating
- Sighthounds, like greyhounds, are built for short-distance sprinting, but do not do so well on long-distance runs; a long, slow-paced walk is preferrable
- Sustained running or jogging is not recommended for younger dogs, as their bones are still growing, as well as larger dog breeds whose joints and bones are more prone to ligament injury, hip dysplasia and arthritis
Walking on the other end of the leash will give your dog rules to follow. Stopping when you want to stop and going where you want to go gives your four-legged friend some direction and understanding in what you would like him to do. Since a dog’s most aspired goal is pleasing their owner, going for daily walks will benefit the whole family!
Written by Alison Heyman
Alison has been with Dan's Dog Walking and Pet Sitting since 2014 and has loved every second of it! She frequently hikes with her dog Maggie in the woods (click link to watch the awesome video!) and loves playing with her on the beach. Aly is a major advocate for the use of all natural pet products and specializes not only in giving animals the highest level of care, but also in creating educational material for our clients on how to best care for their pets with organic solutions.