Topic of the Month (February)

Why Walking Your Dog is So Important

Ideally, every dog should be walked on a leash at least twice daily for a minimum of 20 minutes, rain or shine. This is only a guideline, of course, because your dog’s need for and tolerance of exercise will be determined by its age, breed, and health status. Some dogs may need more exercise than this, others may need less. Walks can provide essential social interaction with playmates, positive attention from you and mental stimulation that it can never enjoy within the confines of your home or yard. Walking your dog is also one of the best ways to prevent inappropriate elimination, destructiveness, and other common behavioral disorders

One of the many benefits to walking your dog is that you can enjoy each other’s undivided attention. You may be away at work all day but even if you are home, much of your time is spent doing chores rather than interacting with your pet. Dogs are social animals and need to interact with you, but it is important to give them every opportunity, and from an early age, to meet other people and other animals, too. If a dog does not have the opportunity to socialize it will not learn to interact appropriately with people or other dogs.

A walk allows you to challenge the reliability of obedience skills while increasing the physical and intellectual benefits of walking. Territorial investigation, including marking with urine for example, is also an important part of a dog’s normal behavior and provides valuable intellectual stimulation. Finally, the benefit of daily exercise should not be underestimated since so many of our pets become overweight and prone to a variety of diseases related to obesity.

© Stefanie Schwartz 2011