|January is National Walk Your Dog Month!|
Right in time for New Year's Resolutions, January is National Walk Your Dog Month!
Here are ten reasons why walking your dog is beneficial:
1. Provides an outlet for their energy. Dogs build up a certain amount of energy every day that needs to be expended. If it doesn’t happen through walking, it will often result in bad, destructive behavior or separation anxiety. You may have heard that a tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and also, a bored dog can become a bad dog. A good walk can also significantly calm a hyper or energetic dog.
2. Walking aids greatly in training your dog. Draining energy results in a calmer, satisfied and more submissive dog who is much more likely to focus on you and your training. The walk itself should be a time of training. Done correctly, it can reinforce the bond between you and your dog and will help to establish you as the pack leader. Remember that you should be in control and walking your dog, not him in control and walking you. See future articles for tips on training your dog to walk properly on a loose leash.
3. Fulfills his natural roaming and exploring instincts. In nature dogs walk as a pack and roam for miles every day searching for food and water. Even though your dog is not a wild dog, walking is still in their natural instinct. Dogs are working, thinking animals that need a purpose beyond just sitting or sleeping all day long. Walking provides a sense of direction and accomplishment. Regular walks can help prevent her desire to run away or bolt out the door in an attempt to fulfill that roaming instinct.
4. Provides both physical and mental stimulation. Exploring their surroundings with their senses is also an instinctual activity for dogs. During the course of a walk your dog will be exposed to all sorts of smells, sights and sounds. This also acts as a mental workout for the brain.
5. Provides much needed social interaction. Socialization is an important part of any dog’s life, especially in their early years. When walking you will most likely encounter other people, children and other dogs. This will help to build her confidence and social skills. Dogs who are not walked can become more fearful and shy, or might lack the necessary social skills to interact with people and other dogs.
6. Provides exposure to a wide variety of “worldly” things, creating a more confident and stable dog. A dog who is walked often will become more comfortable around all sorts of things such as bicycles, skateboards, traffic noises, loud trucks, mailmen, etc. Dogs without this exposure can become fearful, skittish and territorial, seeing every strange sound, vehicle or person as a threat. Many dogs who bark constantly are barking out of fear of everything they hear or see that is strange to them. If you walk the same route regularly, it can also possibly assist your dog in finding his way home if he gets out of your yard and lost.