Making sure your dog gets out for daily walks is necessary for their overall health and well-being. Most pet owners know that it is important, but not everyone understands why a dog should be walked, especially if they have access to a backyard. Walking your dog is about more than just getting their potty breaks in, although that is an important aspect of walks – dogs should not be made to wait a long time between trips outside. We’re sharing four reasons why going for walks with your dog is a vital part of their daily routine.
Exercising and staying active
To keep your dog in good health, they should exercise every day and going for walks is a great way to help keep them healthy. Walks help their heart and lung function, as well as support joint health and mobility. If a dog’s life is too sedentary, it puts them at risk for long term health problems such as heart issues. Depending on your dog’s age and breed, they might have a lot of energy to burn. Going for regular walks that include time for sniffing and exploration can help tire your dog out so that when you are in the home, they are more relaxed. The amount of exercise required should be gauged on a per pet basis – your low energy pug will need a fraction of the exercise that your high energy husky will require.
Walking your dog is a great time to help your dog develop socially and behaviorally. As outlined in our blog about puppy socialization, socialization is one of the most important activities you can do with your dog. In order to be confident and well behaved, a dog needs to be exposed to lots of different kinds of creatures, activities, and senses. A walk will give them the opportunity to see squirrels, hear loud vehicles, and discover new scents. They might interact with other dogs and humans (if you can safely allow this) and this will help them learn how to behave in these scenarios. If your dog only ever goes outside in the backyard, they will be missing out on so many socialization experiences.
Similarly, walking your dog is always a great opportunity to work on training techniques. Carry training treats in your pocket and work on commands such as “sit”, “down”, “heel” and “stay” in different locations and with varying levels of distraction. Working with leash manners such as polite greetings and loose leash walking will help your dog learn how to move in the world. It will help you grow a stronger bond and build on their focus and impulse control. This will make walks a more pleasant experience for both of you, your dog will feel confident and you will have a well-behaved dog.
You benefit from walks as well!
Going for these walks is generally viewed as an activity primarily for your dog, but you can derive a lot of benefit from the walks as well! Most people these days live a more sedentary lifestyle. If this applies to you, walking your dog is a great way to get your body moving and take in the fresh air. It’s good to take a break from the computer and the chores at home by spending some time outside.
Hiring a dog walker
Since going for walks is so important to your dog’s mental and physical health, you should make sure you have time to walk them at least twice a day. Life can get busy and you might not have time to take your dog out as often as you like. If that is the case, you might want to consider hiring a dog walker. Dog walkers can come in the middle of your workday so that your dog gets a pee break and isn’t alone all day. Not only does this give your pet some relief, but you won’t have to worry about working late or stopping at a store on the way home.
When hiring a dog walker, make sure that you don’t just hire anyone. The walker has to be someone you trust entering your home and interacting with your dog. You should make sure that whoever you hire is knowledgeable in pet first aid, basic dog training, educated about potential issues dogs have, what to do if something goes wrong, etc. You should also look for someone who is licensed and insured, as well as someone with good recommendations or online reviews!