Why Are Walks Important- for Dogs and Owners?
Owners may think of walking their dog as a chore, especially if it’s raining or too hot out, but for dogs, walks are crucial for their mental and physical wellbeing. The benefits of getting your dog outside are innumerable. Walks are known to improve dog’s bone health, cardiovascular health, mood, and energy.
Think about it: while you’re at work, your dog is spending most of their day waiting for you to come home because you are the most important thing in their life. Walking not only keeps your dog healthy, but it’s also a wonderful way to bond with your dog and show them that you care.
Walks also benefit you because you get a bit of exercise, too. Doctors recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day, and owning a dog is one of the easiest ways to accomplish that. Studies have found that dog owners live longer due to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Those daily walks make all the difference in your health and longevity! Making time to walk your dog is especially important if you have an office job that requires you to sit all day.
While walks are necessary to prevent your dog from having accidents in the house, you also benefit from owning a much calmer dog. One walk when you get home from work can help your dog burn off their energy they’ve built up from waiting around for you all day and also curb their excitement when you come home. Instead of fussing with a restless dog, you can focus on enjoying each other’s company.
How Often Does Your Dog Need to Be Walked?
There are many factors that go into how often your dog needs to be walked. Owners must consider their dog’s size, breed, and energy level.
The general rule is that the bigger the dog, the more frequently they need to be walked. Bigger dogs have greater energy needs, so they need to take in more food and water to maintain their size. Just like humans, the more we eat and drink, the more often we have to go to the bathroom, too.
In relation to their size, certain breeds also have tiny bladders that require more frequent urination. Although they may not require as much food and water as a bigger dog, small breeds like Chihuahuas must have a small bladder that fits inside their small body. Smaller dogs are known to have more accidents in the house, which is why training pads can be a great option to keep your house clean. If you train your dog to go to the bathroom on a pad while you’re not around to take them outside, you can prevent coming home to a mess.
Some dogs are happy being couch potatoes with you, but other dogs require active owners to keep up with their wily energy levels. Although your dog may not need to be walked to go to the bathroom often, they may need to burn off their energy. Dogs with lots of energy will find some way to use it. As an owner, it’s better to take the time to walk your dog instead of letting them tear up your house. Usually bigger dogs benefit from longer walks and smaller dogs can only handle shorter walks.
Other Factors to Consider
Every dog is curious and somehow always manages to find a way to get into something that they shouldn’t, and then both of you have to pay the consequences when they have an upset stomach. If your dog is having a bout of diarrhea, they will require more walks than normal to prevent an accident in the house. When they’re not feeling well, it’s better to be safe than sorry and give them the opportunity to relieve themselves often. Besides, the exercise is great for stimulating bowel movements and helping clear out whatever is causing them distress.
It’s possible that your dog may also have an illness or be on medication that causes bladder problems. If your dog is having frequent accidents in the house that are not characteristic of marking, which is when a dominant dog urinates a small amount on several objects to mark its territory, then a trip to the vet can help solve this problem.
Routines Are Great for Accident Prevention
If your dog has a routine in their life that they can depend on, then there will be less accidents. If your dog knows when you will be there to take them on a walk, then they will have less anxiety. Owners should try to walk their dog at least three times a day, like when you wake up, when you come home from work, and before you go to bed. At these intervals, your dog will have less trouble holding their bladder.
How to Properly Walk Your Dog
Dogs function best in your family when they are not the alpha. You should be the boss. Although you may feel bad or not have a dominating personality, the dog actually wants you to be in control. Dogs in families only become the alpha when they feel that no one else will protect the family and they must step up to the plate.
To establish dominance while on walks, make sure that your dog is either walking beside you or behind you. Although you may just be tired and see no problem in letting your dog lead you, this is a big signal to your dog that they are the alpha, and they will behave disobediently and possibly aggressively toward you. Even if your dog is bolstering with energy, they still have the power to control themselves and stay behind you, even if they would rather charge ahead. The key is to be firm and consistent with your dog to establish a routine and eliminate any doubts they may have about who is in control.
Choose a Harness
This is especially important for smaller dogs, since collars can damage their necks and cause their windpipes to collapse. Bigger dogs have more muscles in their neck that can endure tugging and rough play, but small dogs like toy breeds have no barrier to cushion their necks. If your dog experiences one wrong jolt in their neck, they could have trouble breathing and barking for the rest of their life.
Harnesses are ideal for walking dogs because it is safer and better for training purposes. Even bigger dogs can benefit from harnesses, because collars can trigger an aggression instinct while walking. If your dog sees another dog on their walk, when you tug them back, it could encourage even more aggressive behavior.