With everyone leading such busy lives these days, dogs (and their parents) have had to get used to new ways of living. We’re often not at home, and when we are, it’s usually after a hectic day where all we want to do is relax on the couch.
However, one task that you should never neglect each day is taking your dog for a walk, and making sure they get an appropriate amount of exercise. Not only is walking your dog an enjoyable activity for you, but it provides a myriad of benefits to your fluffy friend. It keeps them fit and healthy both mentally and physically.
When you chose to get a dog, you agreed to an invisible contract to ensure that they are taken care of properly. Are you asking yourself questions: how long should I walk your dog every day? What are the benefits of their daily stroll? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this is a great choice.
It’s good for their health
Although it will depend on their breed and individual circumstances, taking your dog for a walk of an appropriate length each day will have a majorly positive impact on their health. Walking your dog provides the same kind of health benefits that walking does for humans — it’s great for our cardiovascular health, promotes good joint health, keeps us in good shape, and produces endorphins that help us to feel happy.
Even if you have space at home (for example a large backyard or garden), you shouldn’t rely only on your dog running around these spaces to give them enough exercise. Your dog will usually need half an hour to one hour of walking each day to obtain the benefits, and it will also keep you healthy, too!
It’s quality bonding time
Walking your dog is a great opportunity to bond with them and deepen your relationship as ‘packmates’. Your dog misses you when you’re out at work, so there’s no better way to reward them for being patient than by giving them the outside walk they’ve been waiting for all day! Walking your dog is also a great way to build trust with your furry buddy. When you walk your dog, you get to experience and enjoy exploring and seeing the world – and what could be better than that?
They get to socialize
Dogs are pack animals, and usually love spending time with other dogs, as well as with you! Your dog needs to socialize with other dogs to be mentally healthy. This is especially important when they’re younger. If your dog is less than a year old, it’s vital that you take them out for enough walks, so that they can meet other pooches and learn how to behave properly according to the rules of the doggie world.
It’s a great training opportunity
Taking your dog for a walk every day is a fantastic opportunity to do some proactive training with them and teach them how you’d like them to behave. Running through a series of exercises (such as sit, stay, come, paw, etc.) once you get to the local park once a day is a great way to reinforce this training in your pup and make sure they always know what to do when you ask them to do it. Also, consider using a dog training app, Dogo App! This app comes with a built-in clicker for much quicker training times, as well as personalized training programs – all of which can be worked on during your daily walk!
How long should I walk my dog?
You don’t need to walk your dog at a set time (although this can be useful when it comes to toilet training when they’re a puppy), however, the team at We’re All About Pets say that it’s advisable to walk your dog at least twice a day — once in the morning and once at night. A walk at lunchtime is also great if you can manage it with your schedule.
Walking your dog doesn’t need to be done for hours and hours — a half-hour to an hour three times a day should be more than enough, depending on their age, breed, and individual personality. For example, a young German Shepherd will need around two to three hours of walking every day, whereas a nine-year-old Maltese Shitzhu will get along just fine with two half-hour walks. Here are some other examples of total daily exercise/walking time needs by breed:
- Chihuahua – 30 mins + playtime
- Yorkshire Terrier – 30 mins + playtime
- English Bulldog – 1 hour + over the course of the day
- Border Collie – ideally 2+ hours over the course of the day
- Golden Retrievers – ideally 2+ hours over the course of the day
What should I do during a walk?
When walking your dog, it’s important to remember that this exercise is for them – not for you. Let them stand and sniff something if they want to without tugging them away. Let them do their business calmly without you rushing them along or pulling them. And let them stop and say hello to the dogs they’d like to (as long as it’s okay with the other dog’s owner, of course).
You can take your dog for a stroll around your neighborhood, drive to a different location to walk them, or take them to your local dog park. Just remember to make sure your dog has had all the appropriate vaccinations to ensure they don’t pick up any preventable diseases off the ground, and be sure to follow on-leash and off-leash area rules.