Every breed of dog requires daily exercise. Whether your beloved pet is a live-wired ball of energy like a border collie, or a couch cuddle loving shih tzu, it is our responsibility as owners, to ensure that they are getting daily activity and enrichment outside of our homes. Not only is this a physical necessity, but psychologically speaking as well.
For your convenience, I have put together a break down of some of the most important reasons we need to ensure our pets are getting walked daily.
Daily Walking has as many physical health benefits for them as it does for us.
Dogs walked daily are much less likely to carry extra weight.
Dogs can’t hide that extra five pounds the way that humans can. Unexercised dogs can put on weight at the blink of an eye. An extra five pounds carried throughout a dog’s life could be the difference between long term joint and hip problems, or a long, healthy life.
Hip and joint problems are common in dogs that carry extra weight, as is diabetes, heart issues, respiratory issues and so many other life-shortening complications. Not only is it uncomfortable and painful for our dogs, but these problems are also quite costly to manage once they begin. You could be looking at years of extra, costly vet bills and prescriptions if you regularly skip your daily walks.
Regular walks keep your dog strong and agile.
Not only can daily walks help prevent diseases such as arthritis by keeping the joints strong and fluid, but it will also prevent muscle deterioration. Dogs are designed to be active, even more so than humans. So just like us, if we remain sedentary, our bodies lose the ability to keep up with even the simplest of activities. They start to feel the difference between an active and a sedate lifestyles sooner and more drastically than us. The ‘use it or lose it’ mantra fits nicely here.
Could you imagine not being able to leave the parameters of your home for days at a time? Sure, it might be nice to have a lazy day now and then, but imagine having no choice but to lie at home just hoping and praying someone will allow you to walk around the block sometime this week. We would go stir-crazy! And so will our dogs.
Dogs do not get enough brain stimulation to satisfy their needs in the home.
Our pets are so intelligent! But just like us, much of our intelligence comes from what we learn out in the world. Giving our beloved pets the opportunity to have new experiences and learning opportunities every day, will enrich their lives and make them more confident, capable and satisfied. Dogs can only get so much enrichment from inside the house, the back yard, or walking to their typical potty-spot and back to. This amount of enrichment is just simply not enough to give our dogs the full, satisfied lives they deserve.
Dogs love, crave and need structure
Structure inside and out of the house keeps our pets happy and provides them a feeling of purpose and satisfaction. Dogs were bred with jobs and purposes, and their purpose is hard-wired into them. They want to feel as though they are fulfilling their life’s duties. Having a walk every day is in itself a form of structure that gives your dog a sense of purpose. With regular walks you’re getting more than you’re investing. The structure of daily exercise and a purpose-driven walk will keep your dog happy and better behaved inside of the home, as well. Daily walks also allows for daily training opportunities to keep your dogs brain active.
If your dog is not being entertained, it will find a way to entertain itself. And you won’t like it.
Dogs that don’t get the stimulation and enrichment they need from outside of the home are much more likely to become disobedient trouble-makers! They will find their own ways to keep themselves entertained in the form of barking, jumping on the counter, digging, tearing apart the garbage, chewing shoes, furniture or whatever suits their fancy and countless other “problem”-behaviours. The truth is that a lot of the time these “problem” behaviours are easy to fix. It all comes down to alleviating boredom and stimulating your dog in appropriate ways.
Dogs are social animals, but without the right experiences they don’t learn how to appropriately behave with other people and animals.
The easiest way to socialize your pet is on walks!
Going for walks regularly, means that your dog will be interacting with other dogs, people and animals on a regular basis. Only within these interactions will dogs learn the do’s and don’ts of socialization. Interacting with the same few people or animals every day in the home will not help your dog build the skills and confidence it needs to lead a happy, fulfilled life.
Dogs who do not learn how to appropriately socialize can begin to exhibit unwanted behaviours that can be difficult to “un-train”.
An unsocial dog can begin to show possessiveness toward its family and become territorial around them. A territorial dog will easily become an aggressive dog to any new person or animal that gets too close for comfort. This is a huge problem! Barking, teeth baring and biting are not uncommon for territorial dogs.
On the flip side, an un-socialized dog doesn’t gain the appropriate confidence that it needs and can become fearful of new experiences. Fear in dogs can show itself in several ways, none of which are good. One way that a dog might show fear is through aggression, which we already know is an unwanted trait. Another way your dog may show fear is through anxiety and stress. If your dog starts to exhibit too much anxiety or stress, you may be risking your dog’s safety with the increased potential for seizures, loss of consciousness and a number of scary and avoidable problems.
All of these things can be easily avoided by ensuring your dog is socialized from a young age and continuously throughout their life. However, fear and aggression are some of the most difficult traits to train your dog out of.
I hope that if you didn’t already, this post helps you understand how critical it is to ensure you are fulfilling all of your pet’s emotional and physical needs. We love our pets and investing the appropriate amount of time or money now will create a happier, healthier family member and save you lots of time, money and stress in the future!