Dog walking provides benefits for both dogs and their owners.
Walking in nature stimulates your mind, gives you physical exercise, provides chances for socialization, and offers opportunities for behavioral training. It also gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.
Walking your dog regularly provides a basic foundation for physical and mental health. Dogs want 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. It is important for you to vary the walks so that your dog can explore many sights, smells, and sounds of the world around you.
Walking is a great way to get exercise for both you and your pet. A sedentary pooch can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings potential health problems. 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!
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. 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. It’s good for you too. Walking regularly provides an opportunity to meet and socialize with your neighbors.
Walking your dog is a perfect opportunity to practice how to walk on a leash and 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.
Remember, 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.
For 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.