A Guide to Dog Walking...& the Importance of
Updated: Jul 2
A dog's natural instinct is to walk. As responsible dog owners we owe it to them to provide the daily exercise they need, regardless of age, breed or size.
Establishing a dog walking routine as soon as possible is crucial to your puppy's development, toilet training habits and early learning.
Puppies can be a bit daunted by the new world outdoors to begin with, so offer lots of encouragement and it won't be long before the walks become the main focus of their day and something wonderful to look forward to.
Walking your puppy or dog not only has physical health benefits, there are plenty of psychological benefits for both the owner and dog too. With so many smells, sights and sounds in the great outdoors, a dog is mentally stimulated every time they go outside. Even if you have a garden, which is a nice bonus, a dog should still have daily outdoor walks for their general well-being.
Taking your dog on a walk enhances the owner and dog relationship and also provides your pet with an opportunity to receive some positive attention from his owner whilst spending time doing what they love; walking, running, sniffing and exploring.
Adolescent & adult dogs require at least a 30-60 minute walk twice a day & puppies around 15-30 minutes. Usually one long walk and one shorter. Ideally one early morning walk and one in the afternoon or evening.
Socialisation with other dogs on walks is an important part of a dog's life and of course, letting them use their fantastic sense of smell. We have around 6 million scent receptors but dogs have around 200-300 million and the part of their brain devoted to analysing smells is a lot larger than ours. Dogs gain a great sense of environmental context through sniffing and get tons of information about other dogs from their scent.
Dog walks also provide outdoor training opportunities for general obedience, lead walking and recall, regardless of their age as dogs never stop learning. There are lots of distractions outside like smells, other dogs and people so bring high value treats like cooked chicken to keep them focused and interested.
Letting your dog off lead for a good run round, at least once a day so they can burn off steam is hugely rewarding for their mental and physical state. If still a puppy or if your dog has poor recall, invest in a long line (long lead not a retractable) you can buy these at different lengths, 10ft, 15ft, 20ft and walk your dog a quieter times so he can still have an off lead experience whilst on lead. Long leads should always be used for puppies learning recall.
Try and vary the walks if possible, doing the exact same walk every day can become a bit boring for your dog and you of course! Even if this means just walking round the park in a different direction or doing some zig zags. Also promote some calm moments, by sitting in the park or just hanging out in a nice sniffy spot that your dog particularly enjoys.
Get to know what your dog loves...after all, the walks are their time. Whether it is just sniffing around, playing ball or socialising with dogs (other owners permitting of course), attempt to allow them to get the most from the walks and try to make each one a positive experience.
Be your dog's eyes and ears when outdoors. If you spot an impending situation in the distance, like an extremely hyperactive dog, or lots of noisy young children, you can always do a 180° turn and go the other way in order to avoid any potential negative outcome for your puppy or dog.
And if it's raining, remember there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes! Rainy days can be great days for walking the dog as the parks are usually quieter, which provides a great training opportunity for recall and general obedience with less distractions, or just a great time to have a lovely run around with your dog.
Most dogs will arrive home after their walk in a calm and relaxed state of mind and a tired dog is usually a happy dog. Dogs are extremely active creatures and if they do not get regular exercise, this can lead to anxiety and other potential behavioural problems, like barking and chewing.
When a regular walking schedule is in place for your dog, you will start to notice the long-term impact this has on their behaviour generally. And another lovely bonus is the pure adoration your dog gives you in return. As well as amazing rewards for your dog, you can also enjoy and reap the health benefits of being active outdoors!
If it is not possible to walk your dog every day due to time constraints, there are lots of local dog walking services available to help out, so your dog can have either a solo walk or a fun time in the company of other dogs.
Please contact Faith at www.pandapetservices.com for any dog walking, behaviour training or 121 puppy training or call 07941 640348. As pet professionals, we are happy to discuss our services anytime. Thank you and good luck with your lovely pet.