Walking your dog is so much more that stepping outside to take care of a little business! It’s more than just a way to exercise with your best friend. It stops him or her from getting bored, it’s a behavior training opportunity, it’s sensory stimulation on many levels and it teaches your dog how to behave in canine company. On top of all this, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.
A sedentary dog can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings all sorts of potential health problems with it (both physical and mental). Even if your dog is active inside the home, they still need another outlet for pent-up energy. Young dogs need around an hour of daily exercise, but some dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog. Happy dogs tend to behave better, you’ll have a closer bond with your buddy and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!
If your dog has a yard to play in and walking isn’t the only form of exercise available, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs can and will entertain themselves at times. But taking them out for a stroll, to play catch or fetch is much more stimulating and satisfying! If you’re at work all day, consider asking a friend or dog walking service to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you!
Walking your dog can be more than a playful and bonding experience, consider it a training opportunity! Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how 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.
Outside temperatures should always be considered when taking our K-9 friends out in the elements. If the ground is too hot or too cold for your bare feet, it's the same for them. Warm coats and sweaters should be worn on chilly days and nights. And appropriate paw protection will protect their exposed feet.
While out walking, your pooch is more than likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great opportunity to help your dog learn acceptable ways of socially interacting with new animals! It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make friends. If your dog does show fear, taking them to a training class is a great way of removing that anxiety in a more controlled environment. It’s important that your buddy knows who’s really “in control” at all times…..and that should be you. Maintaining control physically, visually and mentally is always key to proper pet behavior, especially when you’re in an open environment.
We love our fur-babies and always want what’s best for them. Keeping them safe while they’re out and about is our responsibility. Unfortunately, not all pet owners are diligent in this concept or informed of the importance of keeping a watchful eye on Fido at all times. As a person who walks dogs (my own as well as for others), I’ve seen too many people give their “sweet baby” unfettered control upon meeting a new K-9 friend. Approaching an unfamiliar dog (or person) should always be done with caution. Sometimes it’s a great interaction with happiness and sniffing all around! But sometimes is not, resulting in unwanted behavior and sometimes injury. A well-socialized pup still likes a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but with your help and guidance, they’ll know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars.
Like a child, your dog wants to explore their world. If they are confined to the house for too long (inside or out), our pets can get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior and unwanted weight gain. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world, and it’s recommended to vary the places you take your pet as much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy and excited your dog gets when he’s walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover! Be patient, we may not want to sniff anything and everything like they do (and will), but give them that time…it’s a welcomed sensory overload for them and their way of discovering and interacting with their environment. And for you, stopping to smell a beautiful flower, taking the time to breath in the fresh air or appreciate the outdoors is never a bad thing.
For your furry companion, every moment spent with you inside or outside in this big beautiful world is an endless adventure filled with excitement, discovery and unconditional love! And like those snuggly moments on the couch, getting outside with your buddy will be good for you both…helping to build a stronger bond, feeding both your souls!
Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you may never look at playtime or a walk with your dog in the same way again!
But before you head out, make sure you have the adequate equipment for your dogs comfort and safety. A properly fitted harness and leash will help train and maintain control in the event you need to react quickly to any situation. And for this…..size matters! Consider your dogs weight, size, stregth, temperament, walking style/behavior and comfort when choosing the proper gear. And please don’t forget the “poop bags”….it’s going to happen! Although this by-product is eventually biodegradable….just like you, no one wants to smell or step in a fur-baby’s number two.
Is time your enemy? Don’t beat yourself up if life’s pulling you in a thousand directions. If making time to take your fur-baby out for a stroll, feels like a hurdle you just can’t cross at the moment…take a breath, there’s an answer. Right now is temporary and it’s challenges will pass. So, for moments such as these, there are friends and wonderful people (maybe you’re that person) or services that can help get your buddy out with a regularly scheduled routine. Your heavy heart will be relieved knowing your pet is still getting their needed exercise until you can take over again. Your dog will be happier, healthier and better behaved because they’ve released some energy exploring and socializing in the world that's beyond their normal view!! Win! Win!
Don’t have a dog of your own to walk?
Volunteers are always welcome at local rescues and animal shelters to help enrich the lives of our awesome shelter pups! The time you spend with a shelter pet that’s waiting for their forever home, will mean so much to that sweet baby and the shelter staff. Not only will you be helping support and sustain an already overwhelmed and underfunded sanctuary for homeless pets, you’ll be an active participant in the socializing of that waiting heart! Hopefully making their adoption and acclimation to a new home and forever family easier and more successful!
SO LET’S GO!!! Let’s take that step, set-up a plan and make something happen!
We at ModernStylePet.com would love for you to share your joyful outdoor walking adventures with us! Whether it’s walking or playing with your baby or maybe you’re helping with someone else’s buddy, let us know. Your experiences and insights might be beneficial to someone just getting started.
Best Wishes and Happy Tails!!