It’s more than likely that your routine walk is your dog’s favourite part of the day. What could be better for them than getting some one-on-one time with their owner while also discovering all the joys that the outside world brings?
All dogs will need walking every day. The length and distance of your walk will depend on your dog. For example, an older smaller breed of dog, like a Yorkshire Terrier is likely to need much less walking than an active, young adult Springer Spaniel or Dalmatian. Ideally, you should aim to walk your dog twice a day, for half an hour at a time. Even if your dog is unable to walk, it’s a good idea to get them out and about if possible, even if it means using a dog carrier or stroller. This allows them to still get the excitement and experience of the new sounds and smells of being outdoors even if they can’t get the exercise from walking.
Nobody likes to exercise on a full stomach and the same is true of dogs. The optimum time for a walk is just before a meal, either before breakfast or before dinner but if this isn’t possible then it’s advisable wait about an hour before putting the leash on for walkies. This is especially important for dogs that are prone to gastric torsion, or dog bloat.
We all know that more exercise for humans can help raise fitness levels and reduce anxiety but this is also true for dogs. Exercise can help to minimise behavioural problems that your dog might be displaying like chewing or barking. If you’re interested in seeing exactly how much exercise your dog is getting then you might want to invest in a dog activity monitor, similar to a human fitness tracker, that will tell you how many calories they’ve burned, what the quality of their sleep is like and monitor their overall level of activity and health.
When out walking, dogs should walk beside you whether they are on a leash or not. If your dog is constantly running off or dragging you around the park on the leash then consider taking some dog training classes. Some dogs can also become aggressive on a leash. This is usually because they are unable to run away due to being on a leash and so they display “fear based aggression” to deal with the situation instead. This can be a particular problem for dogs that were poorly socialised when they were puppies. This behaviour can be eased with some training.
There are some dogs out there that don’t seem to enjoy going for a walk. If this is the case, try and think about the reasons why they might feel this way. Humans will often combine dog walking with other activities like texting, scrolling through Twitter or talking on the phone. Don’t’ forget that for dogs, walks are a social experience as well as a form of exercise. Your dog just wants to interact with you and have some fun. This may be especially true if you’ve been out at work all day.