Domestic dogs, as we all know, are descended from wolves, and although our modern canine friends come in all shapes and sizes, they still have the exact basic needs as their wild counterparts. Wolves in the wild keep moving – they have to do this to find food and shelter. Whilst our dogs no longer need to find food on the go, they still have a deep-seated need to be on the move. Of course, dogs cannot take themselves around the park, so we are required to walk them!
The main purposes of dog walking
• Mental stimulation – sniffing etc
• Socialising with other dogs
• Socialising with the rest of the world
• Play –building relationship with you
There is a school of thought which says that a tired dog is a happy dog, and there’s no doubt that there are many advantages to tiring your dog out on a good long walk.
A tired dog will sleep better and be less likely to pace around the house in the early hours. He’s also less likely to show unwanted behaviours such as chewing the furniture, digging the garden (or the carpets!) or barking excessively.
Also, during a walk, your dog’s nose will constantly receive messages telling him who’s been around that way, stimulating him to leave his calling cards.
He can socialize with other dogs on the walk, meet different people and get used to traffic noises and smells. All this makes for a well-balanced and confident dog.
One of the most significant advantages of walking the dog is the opportunity to get some serious exercise and improve his and our health.
A dog not getting enough walks will be overweight, which is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Obesity is just as big a problem for our pooches as it is for us. It can lead to medical and physical disadvantages in old age, such as diabetes, arthritis with its attendant mobility restrictions, and heart disease.
As a North London dog walker, I’ve seen many dogs that require extra exercise, and it’s great to see the transformation in the dog’s health after some regular walks.
Walking the dog also brings training opportunities and reinforces the things he has already learned.
Most importantly, walk time with your dog reinforces the bond of trust and friendship between you.