While walking your pet may seem healthy for obvious reasons, there’s a myriad of reasons why walking your pet is important for both you and your pet. It isn’t just about “potty breaks”, it also provides mental stimulation, physical exercise, a chance at socialization and opportunities for behavioral training. All these reasons aside, it fortifies the bond between dog and owner.
Much like we get stir crazy or bored when at home too long or at work, our pets feel the same way confined to the same space. If left unstimulated in the house for too long, it can lead to destructive behavior. Walking gives them the opportunity to explore their general surroundings. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore, so it’s a good idea to take them to varying locations so they have a chance to experience new stimuli. This is why it’s necessary to get outside their basic backyard surroundings and explore new terrain.
Obesity is a major health issue, both in humans and in dogs, but barring medical complications, it has a reasonable solution; burn more calories than consumed. Regular exercise, like walking, is a good way to burn those excess calories and keep the pounds off both you and your dog. Immobility is another common health problem. Joints, even old ones, need to work. People and pets get stiff if sedentary for too long. Keeping joints in motion improves their function. Walking helps to regulate the digestive tract as well. Some dogs, like people, prefer to “go” on a schedule and providing our dog with routine trips outside can prevent constipation. Also, when urine sits in the bladder for long periods, infections are more likely to occur. So regular walks mean an empty bladder, which keeps this region of the anatomy happy as well!
While out walking, your pooch is likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great way for your dog to learn what is acceptable when interacting socially with new animals. It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make new friends or encounter new animals. A well socialized pup will still enjoy a bit of rough and tumble fun with other dogs it may encounter while out, but they’ll know when to stop the more they play with other dogs and become exposed to different boundaries and play styles. When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity. Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. These walks can be a great chance to teach them extra commands and forge a stronger bond with you. You may also see where your dog could use some additional training if they are shy, or on the other hand overly stimulated and may consider working with a trainer. Regular walks are a great way to reinforce training to help aid socialization.
While it is important your dog goes potty on a walk, it isn’t all about the potty. There are many benefits, both for human and dog. Whether its losing a few extra pounds, or stimulating the part of the brain that likes to explore new places and sights, getting out on the pavement or trail is greatly rewarding. The more you’re out, the better your dogs overall health, socialization, and bond.