Nothing causes more commotion in our house than the words, “Do you want to go for a walk?” Just uttering the word “walk” causes heads to jerk and tails to wag. Lord help us if we’re putting our shoes on at the same time. Some dog owners refer to the activity in code when talking to each other. “Let’s take the dogs out for a W.” We’re rationing certain words in our vocabulary like “walk” and “go” because we know how important walks are to our dogs. Try asking your dog if she wants a cookie. After paying that out, ask if she wants to go for a walk – which causes more excitement? Cookies might make tails wag, but suggesting a walk puts the whole body in motion.
The secret to a dog’s happiness is at least two walks a day. Not only are you giving your dog a chance to take care of business and set the ticker in motion, you’re also providing mental stimulation. Your day is probably pretty busy; work, friends, taking care of kids, watching TV, checking out the internet, etc.. Your dog on the other hand, spends the entire day waiting for you. If you just sat in a chair for an hour with literally nothing else to do, wouldn’t you be bored? Your house is pretty boring for those at floor level. On a walk, smells are new, other dogs are barking out their greetings and for 15-20 minutes you are consistently interacting with your dog.
Unfortunately, letting your dog out in the backyard isn’t the same; all those smells are familiar and a couple laps around the yard doesn’t really qualify as exercise. It’s especially important during the winter months to try to maintain your momentum.
So think about your dog’s happiness and try to get squeeze out the time for at least two walks a day. The benefits for you include a little more exercise and fresh air, a better trained dog who isn’t chewing up the couch in frustration, a visit with your neighbors and a safer neighborhood.
We’ll see you on the sidewalk!