Every dog owner knows that their dogs need to get out and go for a walk. But many dog owners fail to do it every day. A recent survey shows that around a million dogs are left alone at home when their owners are away. It has also found out that 1 out of 10 dog owners does not walk their dog.
The main benefit our dog gets when they go out and walk every day is exercise. Every dog needs exercise to stay fit, develop a healthy immune system, and have good overall health. If your dog is left alone in the house all day, he or she will not be able to burn off any excess fat that has been stored from eating. Moreover, a dog's natural instinct is to walk. In the wild, they walk as long as they like, whenever.
Why You Should Walk Your Dog
It is without a doubt that dogs love going out on a walk. A mere sight of their leash in your hands gets your dog's tail to wag like crazy and pace furiously. This usually is followed by a whine or a squeal telling you how excited they are. We know for a fact that a dog walk does involve us bringing them out to the park. If you want what's best for your pet, getting them enough exercise daily is vital for their well-being. You need to walk your dog every day because:
It is a Great Form of Exercise
PhysicalWalking your dog is a great way to keep them fit and active. It helps to maintain a healthy weight and prevents them from getting obese. When they have shed those extra pounds, it preserves the integrity of their joints and muscles; thereby minimizing the risk of developing arthritis. It reduces the risk of developing health-related conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, etc.
MentalWith daily walks, you get a chance to explore your neighborhood. And because dogs explore with their nose, they get a chance to use and hone it. When you give them the time to sniff things out, it provides mental stimulation.
It Helps them to Socialize MoreWalking your dog helps them to socialize often as it exposes them to various scenarios, people, animals, and other dogs.
It Motivates You to Move
How often have you planned on exercising to stay fit but failed to do because you are glued to a more comfortable and relaxing alternative? Around 75% of Americans do not exercise regularly thereby putting their health at risk. This is where your dog can help. If you regularly take your dog out for a walk, you are getting exercise as well. We know that we want what's best for our pet. This is enough motivation to get up the couch and go for a walk.
It Hones Your Dog's ObedienceWhen you walk your dog, you are able to practice their obedience skills. For example, when you encounter another dog in the park, you can help them practice their social skills. The more frequent you take them out, the less they are obsessive, destructive, or encounter dominant issues.
How Far Should You Go
The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on its breed and its size. A study in Perth found that people are more motivated to walk their dog if it is a larger breed. If the dog is old, sick or a smaller breed they found that people don't walk their dog as much. All dogs need some to be exercised every day.
When considering how far should you walk your dog, think in terms of time rather than the distance. This is due to the fact that each dog breed is different. For example, a 1-mile walk would be tiresome for a Chihuahua but could be enough for a Golden Retriever.
It is recommended to walk your dog every day for at least 30 minutes. If you have a more active breed, 60 minutes of walks per day will do. Older dogs will need 15-20 minutes of walk. Walk your dog in the morning and at night. If that sounds too demanding, you can carry out the task to other members of the family.
Make sure you know if your dog is healthy enough for a walk. If your pet behaves poorly when taking them out for a walk, it may be a sign that your dog is sick. This affects the amount of time you need to walk your dog.
How to Walk Your Dog
Getting your dog ready for a walk is not difficult. Here's how to do it:
Choose a leash that is appropriate for your dog. It should not be too long nor too short. The ideal length is 4 to 6 feet. Avoid using retractable leashes particularly if you don't know how to use it properly.
Choose the side on which you walk with your dog. Consistency is the key to training your dog to walk. Walking them on one side lets them know that you'll be going out on a walk. Your dog will be accustomed to walking when they know what to expect.
Walk your dog right at your side. It is a way of letting them know that you dictate the walk, not them. They shouldn't be more than a few feet ahead of you as you won't have any control if your dog gets distracted.
Use a harness instead of a dog collar. It gives you greater control over your dog, unlike collars. Most dogs find it comfortable to wear when on a leash unlike on a dog collar. Moreover, it puts the strain on your dog's shoulders rather than its neck.
Use a special treat to reward your pet. Use treats when you are teaching them how to walk on a leash or when they have done a good job of not pulling the leash.
Remember that your dog relies on you for their quality of life. If you want your dog to have a healthy, balanced and better outlook in life, all it needs is one to two hours of your time. Taking them out for a walk not only improves their physical and mental health but also helps to develop a stronger bond with your furry friend.