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Every dog owner has had first-hand experience of the excitement and joy that fills a dog when the word ‘walk’ or ‘walkies’ is mentioned. But what are the reasons for this reaction and why is it so important to make sure a dog is walked every day? Read on to find out.

A little bit of background

Walking your dog is about so much more than just “toilet breaks.” Walking your dog provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, chances for socialization, and opportunities for behavioural training. Moreover, it gets both of you out and about while helping to grow the bond you have with your dog.

A dog should be walked twice a day and for at least an hour and a half in total. Although this can vary depending on the size and breed. A recent survey has shown that over a million dog owners leave their dogs in a room when they are away from the house. It also found that 1 in 10 of dog owners don’t take their companion out for a walk if the weather isn’t pleasant. These statistics clearly illustrate that some dogs in this country are not being walked enough.

It’s not just about keeping off those extra pounds

Walking your dog regularly provides a foundation for physical and mental health. Like a child, your dog wants to know the world. If he or she is confined to the house for too long, your dog will get bored. Because of this your dog could start to act out and this can lead to destructive behaviour. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world. Therefore, it’s also good to vary the places you take your pet as dog much as possible. You have probably noticed how busy (and excited) your dog gets when he or she is walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover! 

Follow this link to read a great article on the top places in London to walk your dog.

Socialising your dog is an important part of being a dog owner

While out walking, your pooch is most 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. But 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. Well-socialized pups still like a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but they will know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars. Walking your dog and exposing him or her to different dogs, people, and situations is a win for everyone.

If your dog is slightly older and is still struggling check out this article for more ways to help.

Things to keep in mind

Exercise needs are based on your dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health. However a good rule of thumb is you should spend at least 30 minutes every day on an activity with your dog. Younger dogs and dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more. 

If your dog has garden to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch! Find more ideas on what activities you and your dog can do together in The Animal Foundation’s Guide to Your Dog’s Play Time and Activities.

If you’re at work all day, consider taking your dog to doggie daycare, hiring a dog walker or asking a friend to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you will come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you.

If you need even more of a reason check out these 6 Scientific benefits of walking a dog by Whiskers to Tails Pet Sitting.

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