When the darker nights are drawing in ever earlier – when you’re going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark – it’s tempting to just kick off your shoes, close the curtains, crank up the heating and plonk yourself in front of the telly for the evening. But wait – haven’t you forgotten something? Your faithful friend has been waiting all day for his walk!
As with people, a lack of exercise can cause a number of problems for dogs such as boredom, leading to destructive behaviour around the house, and can even lead to depression. And pent-up unused energy can lead to disrupted sleep. So in order to have a happy, healthy dog you need to get out there and walk him even through the dark winter months. Let’s look at what you can do to make winter exercise for your dog enjoyable.
The first and most obvious solution would be to walk him in the mornings if you have time when it is light. If this is not possible then consider asking a professional north London dog walker like me take your dog out. We can’t all pop home during the day to walk the dog but course, longer weekend walks or trips away could be used to make up for getting less exercise during weeknights.
You could of course check out evening exercise and socialisation classes for dogs and their owners usually held indoors, if you really don’t fancy slogging round the park on dark nights.
However, there is a certain enjoyment to be had walking your faithful hound even during those dark winter evenings and the key to winter walking is preparation. Invest in some good quality reflective items for your dog such as a flashing light collar or reflective coat. Make sure you’re visible also. Wear warm, comfortable (waterproof if necessary) clothing and footwear and carry a fully charged mobile phone and torch. Be visible, confident and stay safe and if you follow these simple rules you will enjoy your walks and both you and your dog will still fulfil your exercise quota! Taking a torch out and letting your dog chase the light may make it more fun than searching for lost balls! Even better, find out if there are any dog walking groups in your area and get together with like-minded dog-lovers.
Once you get back home, towel dry the dog, put on your warm, comfy slippers and chill out, safe in the knowledge that your pooch is happy, healthy and exhausted!