The answer to this may seem obvious, as many dog owners will testify. One mention of the word ‘walk or walkies’ to a canine companion will normally result in excited doggy chaos.
Dogs love walks. Going out for a walk is one of the main highlights of your dog’s day. The opportunity to run, explore and sniff various locations to see who has been around and check the local doggy news, is a very important and enjoyable activity for every dog.
Dogs love walks for many different reasons – for humans it is a walk, for your dog there is a lot more going on.
When you take your dog out you are giving him the opportunity to:
- Smell and sniff – We simply cannot comprehend the power of our dog’s noses which are immensely superior than our own. When our dog goes out he is bombarded with a cacophony of smells that make his world what it is. He smells the rabbit than ran across the path 6 hours earlier and can tell which way it ran and whether it was injured or not. For your dog, every smell tells a story.
- The dog message board – have you ever stopped and wondered why so many dogs pee on the same lamppost? Many people simply put it down to ‘marking territory’ but there is much more going on. When your dog stops to sniff that lamppost he is almost ‘reading the mail’. The scents of other dogs tell him who was there, what they were doing, what their sexual status is, what they ate and probably a lot more. It’s like the neighbourhood bulletin board – and your dog will leave his message there too.
- Playtime – going for a walk is fun and for most dogs the chance to charge around, explore, get muddy, chase squirrels and meet other dogs that want to play – is great fun. Dogs are just like children and love to play out.
- Time to be independent – I always make an effort to take my dogs to places where they can run free and decide where they would like to sniff, walk and run. So many dog owners just keep their dogs on the lead and never let their dogs explore properly. Dogs need to explore, to sniff and a dog that gets to run freely is doing what he loves, and, as well as burning off energy, he is learning about the world and becoming a better dog. LET YOUR DOG RUN FREE.
- Going out with his mates – my dogs may be working spaniels but they are also my friends and companions. When I take them out for a walk we are going on a team adventure, who knows what we will see, find and, in the case of the dogs, smell? Walks are a great way to develop that trust and bond between owner and dog and dogs love time spent together.
How many walks a day does a dog need?
If you were able to ask this question to a dog he would probably say lots and lots and lots – at least my dogs would.
Most dogs will happily benefit from two walks daily of between 30 minutes and 2 hours each. The amount of time spent will depend on your dog and his age and condition and, from the human perspective at least, how much time you have and maybe the weather – but the dog isn’t bothered about rain.
Many dogs will happily run themselves into the ground while on a walk and, after a short recovery at home, are ready to go out again, and will if given the opportunity.
Most spaniel breeds, for example, will be happy to walk all day and the same is true of other dog breeds.
Do dogs get bored of the same walk?
Dogs can get bored of taking the same walk day after day. You should do your best to take your dog for walks at different places so that he can see, smell and explore new areas.
Your dog will love the beach, the forest, going for a paddle or a swim. Take a different route if you live in a town, walk further or go out at a different time of the day.
Variety in dog walking is good and important, and it will probably be good for you as well.
Do walks make dogs happy?
Judging by the reactions of most dogs that I see when they are told that they are going for a walk, I would say yes.
Walking is exercise, which your dog loves, it is stimulation which he needs and which most dogs enjoy and it is a social occasion.
A dog that never gets out for a walk is at risk of becoming depressed, unfit and unwell and socially isolated.
Taking your dog for a walk is vital to having a happy and contented canine friend.
When should you not walk your dog?
If it is too hot or cold then you should wait until things improve. Taking your dog out in extremes of conditions can do more harm than good if he is not used to these.
Avoid letting your dog run around in the heat of the midday sun and don’t do any training as he will be at risk of dehydration or heat stroke. This is particularly true when training spaniels or other hunting dogs – wait until the evening or go out first thing in the morning.
Likewise, if it is really cold or weather conditions are bad then you probably won’t be able to go on much of a walk anyway.
As long as your dog can get out to go to the toilet he will be fine for a short time without a walk.
Dogs like walks. They enjoy the adventures that they you have with you when you take them out and love exploring and sniffing new areas.
Try to take your dog to different places and let him run free so that he can have a great time on his walks.
Last update on 2020-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API