The first week of October is National Walk Your Dog Week. In honor of that, the theme for our Positive Pet Training blog hop this month is exercise and training. In this post, we are going to focus on the benefits of walking your dog(s)!
In the past, Walk Your Dog Week was something I often used to motivate me to get out and walk. With four dogs in the house, we were not daily walkers; it was easier for me to play with all the dogs at once in the yard. We still went for walks on occasion, but it was never a daily habit. Now that we are a one dog household, we walk almost every day, and I’m very happy about that. I am seeing so many benefits from my walks with Luke. I am sure there are more than 10 good reasons for walking your dog, but here are our top 10!
#10 Most dogs love to walk. There are certainly exceptions to this, but most dogs enjoy getting outdoors and getting a good chance to sniff around and stretch their legs.
#9 Almost all dogs and humans can do it. Even handicapped and elderly dogs can enjoy a walk with a stroller, wagon, or wheelchair.
#8 It can be as long or short as you want/need. Walking doesn’t burn as many calories as running, but you can make it longer if that’s your goal. If you have physical limitations, you can keep it shorter. Our walks vary in time depending on what I need to do that day. Even a 10-15 minute walk is better than nothing in my book.
#7 Fresh air and enjoyment of the outdoors. We are strong believers around here in getting outdoors and enjoying our beautiful earth. One of the things I hate most about winter is being stuck inside in stale air more. As long as it’s not pouring rain or a blizzard, we get out there!
#6 Walking stimulates your dog’s senses – smell especially. Also, since it is both physical and mental for them, they are more well behaved. When dogs get the exercise they need, they are more relaxed and less apt to be looking for things to get into. While Luke still looks for attention and play time in the evening, he hangs out quietly when I’m working at home.
#5 You can combine it with training. We use walks to practice many of Luke’s cues, such as “watch me”, “this way”, and “let’s go”. I always have a bag of treats in my pocket and Luke enjoys stopping to get them.
#4 There are so many health benefits! Walking benefits their heart and can lower blood pressure just like it does for humans. It helps to keep their weight down. You might notice in our photos how lean Luke is, and trust me, he eats A LOT! While he does chase the ball a bit, along with squirrels and chipmunks in the yard, walking is really his biggest form of exercise. When we walk in our woods, he also gets to scramble or jump over logs and stone walls, so he gets a little cross-training in there as well!
#3 It’s good for you as well. While I do credit working around the farm some too, I think these daily walks are one of the biggest reasons I’ve kept my weight down lately, and I feel better, mentally and physically, overall. There is nothing like a good walk to clear your head. Our morning walks help me to plan my day as well and get it off to a good start.
#2 It helps bond you and your dog. Our daily walks, along with trick and other training that Luke and I do together really makes us closer. He’s by my side all the time, always interested in what we might do next! He gets so excited when he knows it’s time for a walk, and he gives me kisses and then sits patiently to have his harness and bug spray put on. He has worked hard to learn how to please me and make things easier to head out.
#1. Walking is low impact exercise that’s good for their joints. There is a reason I made this my #1. When I first started planning this blog post, something came to me that I hadn’t even realized lately. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of Luke’s knees pop out because of his luxating patellas. I’m pretty sure it’s been months. And while summer is usually better for that, we don’t restrict his running like we probably should. If he wants to chase a squirrel, I let him. While I do try to let him out of the house via the patio door instead of the deck where there are stairs he completely leaps over when he’s excited, I think our daily walks are the biggest factor in this. We are keeping his joints loose and lubricated every day, and strengthening the muscles around his knees as well when we climb hills. I was really thrilled when I realized this (and hope I didn’t jinx it). I also think the CBD oil could be helping, but I really believe the daily walks are the biggest factor here.
Bonus point! Our daily walks in the woods on our 17 acres of property gave me an excuse to buy Luke a new harness from ComfortFlex*. Autumn is hunting season in New England, and while we keep our land posted from hunters, they could wander in and miss the sign, or hubby might give permission for friends or neighbors to hunt. I feel more relaxed with Luke in his new blaze orange harness; I always feel it’s better to be safe than sorry. Notice how it coordinates nicely with his orange Nifti SafeLatch leash*!
Autumn is our favorite time of year to walk. Even the Dadz has been taking Luke for walks lately on days he has off and I have to go to work. While I miss those walks on those days, I think it’s great for my hubby to get to enjoy the benefits of walking as well.
Do you walk your dog daily? What is your #1 reason for doing so?
We are pleased to be co-hosting the Positive Pet Training blog hop with Tenacious Little Terrier and Travels with Barley. Pet bloggers, please join us in this hop by posting your positive pet training stories. The hop remains open through Sunday. Our theme this month is “Exercise and Training”, however, you may share any positive pet training story, whether it’s on our theme or not!