Why It’s Important To Walk Your Dog
During long, cold winter days, going for a walk can seem like a daunting task—especially if you live in the Midwest. It’s cold, it’s snowy, it may be slippery. Because of this, January has been designated “Walk Your Dog Month”—because we all need a little encouragement to bundle up and get out there!
Taking your dog on daily walks is beneficial for you and your pup, both mentally and physically. Here are 5 reasons to take your dog on daily walks.
Long walks give your dog mental stimulation.
Would you like to lay around all day doing nothing? Neither does your dog! It’s so boring. Going for walks outside allows your dog to soak in many sites, sounds and smells—all which help to stimulate him mentally (not just physically). Dogs need to satisfy their natural instinct to hunt and explore, so daily walks will help your dog to stay happy and healthy. Plus, it’ll tire him out and he’ll nap well afterward. Win-win for both of you!
Walking outside is an important socializing opportunity for your dog.
When walking outside, whether it be in a park or around your neighborhood, your dog will be exposed to all kinds of sites, sounds, people and animals. He’ll have the chance to meet neighbors and other dogs, which will teach him the acceptable way to interact with others. Socializing will also help your pup to gain confidence in new situations, so he won’t get nervous if a loud garbage truck roars by or he gets barked at by a Rottweiler. It is essential that your dog know how to play with other dogs, and when to stop. Walking him will help him to be the friendliest pup around!
Going for walks keeps your dog healthy.
Just like exercise helps us to sleep better and reduces our stress, the same goes for dogs. If your dog displays some bad behaviors, such as chewing things he shouldn’t or counter surfing, a lack of physical activity could be why. Dogs need attention and exercise to expend energy, but also to stave off boredom and anxiety. And bonus—it gets YOU moving too, which is good for your health as well.
Taking your dog on walks is a good training opportunity.
Leash manners and basic obedience are keys to a healthy, happy dog—and owner. While, of course, we love and spoil our dogs, it’s important that they understand boundaries and rules to stay safe. It is our job to keep our dog out of harm’s way when out for walks. This includes preventing him from darting at cars, being attacked by other dogs, or chasing a squirrel into the woods. Taking your dog on daily walks presents an opportunity to teach him leash training (with high value dog treats, of course): how to heel, stop at crosswalks, resist the urge to chase moving vehicles and animals, et cetera.
Going for a walk will give you both a fresh perspective.
Crisp air and new scenery will give both you and your dog a fresh perspective. Especially in the winter, getting a daily dose of vitamin D is vital to good health and mood. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D contribute to depression—sunshine will act as a natural mood booster for us and our dogs! And some deep breaths of fresh air (even if it is cold!), can help awaken our senses and minds. Being outside helps us to have a more positive outlook on life. That alone sounds worth it.
So now that you have 5 reasons to take your dog on daily walks, bundle up and enjoy “Walk Your Dog Month!”