The opportunity to go outside is priority number one for most dogs, but their motivation goes beyond simply meeting their bathroom needs. Similarly, moving their body has advantages that surpass basic exercise. Walking with your dog is arguably one of the best activities, and it’s because of the synergy between all of these elements. Dog walking combines several life-affirming qualities, and dogs aren’t the only ones benefiting from the ritual.
Who’s Walking Whom?
Dogs need at least 20 minutes of vigorous walking every single day. This is in addition to any time spent in the backyard or on short bathroom breaks.
Responsible dog owners might pride themselves on the amount of time they give their dog every day, and they should! Dog walking not only provides mental and physical stimulation, but it can help with socialization and training as well. What’s more, you are spending quality time together, which reinforces the bond between you. In other words, you might think you’re doing your dog a favor, but it could be the other way around!
Get That Brain Moving!
Dogs recognize and understand their surroundings primarily through smell. Without daily flexing of their olfactory skills, dogs can get bored, depressed, and even destructive. In addition to all the wonders that smell can bring, dogs love to hear, taste, see, and feel the world around them. Instead of working separately, all of the senses combine to make a dog truly happy and satisfied.
Move Those Limbs
Dog walking provides excellent exercise. By releasing pent-up energy, body movement reduces stress and anxiety. Increased circulation and heart rate can go a long way toward lifelong health, and prevent unnecessary weight gain. This goes for dogs and their people alike!
Dog walkers regularly see fellow dog walkers. This can definitely create some drama to an otherwise peaceful walk, but meeting new friends has the potential to add to a dog’s sense of confidence and trust. If handled correctly and reinforced, introductions can add value to your dog’s social skills. Plus, if they are fully vaccinated, they can enter dog parks or other play areas to meet new dogs.
Not every dog knows how to walk on-leash. It is a skill that has to be taught, and coincides with other meaningful obedience training. Combining appropriate leash skills with life-saving commands like “no,” “come,” “leave it,” and “heel” is a top-notch endeavor with a lasting impact.
Beyond Dog Walking
The established pattern of daily dog walking can create healthy habits for life, but sometimes dogs need a bit more. If you’re unable to meet their basic requirements, hire a professional dog walker or doggie daycare to help.
Our team at Hampton Veterinary Hospital is always happy to address concerns about your dog’s health, behavior, and overall well-being. Please call us at (603) 926-7978 or schedule an appointment online.