Walking your dog can be mutually beneficial for you and your dog and immensely improve his quality of life.
Quality of life
I once read that a dog’s quality of life should encompass more than just providing his basic needs and absence of suffering. It should include the quality of his relationship with his environment and how he lives his life.
Your dog doesn’t have a choice in what he gets to do. He relies on you to take him for walks and provide him with opportunities to enjoy his life doing things he loves to do. His self-expression through his natural instincts.
Examples of this would include a hound dog’s natural instinct to track scent or a retriever honing his abilities to fetch and retrieve a ball, Frisbee or bird.
Dogs are working, thinking animals that need a job – a purpose other than sitting or sleeping all day long.
If you don’t have a hound or retriever, that’s not a problem. Obedience training works as a great way to say “good job” for your dog. Rapid fire sits and downs for two minutes is not only great exercise, it creates mental fatigue.
Remember, it’s not a substitute for outside walking. You still need to provide outside opportunities for your dog.
So take him for a walk in his world. Provide your dog with boundless opportunities to do these things and more. Take that first step.
That first step means understanding more about his breed characteristics and instincts. In other words, know where he’s coming from and meet him there – in his world.
Also take your dog for a walk in your world – where he also lives. Include opportunities to have fun with you doing the things you do whenever possible. These would include (where appropriate) interacting socially around other people, children and dogs in all kinds of settings.
If you desensitize your dog to noise, traffic and public places like dog friendly restaurants, this will not only improve his quality of life, but also his chances of going more places with you.
Change is much more enjoyable
Walking your dog is better when you change the route and change the location. Reversing your regular route or even changing your route gives your dog a whole new perspective.
Remember, he’s not viewing the route as much with his eyes as he is with his nose.
Change locations by walking your dog at the beach or in a State Park near you. This is something that you might do on weekends as time permits. Not enough time to go to the beach or State Park? Most cities have hiking trails around the city. Weather permitting he would appreciate getting out with you in your world.
We know regular walking can lengthen and improve the quality of life for your dog. Having a walking buddy gives you a great reason to get out yourself and stay fit.
Who knows, if more dog owners took the time to walk their dog, they might not only loose weight but have Jay Leno changing his monologue about lazy, overweight Americans!
We’re always learning and there’s a bunch of you out there we are grateful to be able to serve and learn from. I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this.
Comment below, I’m here to help.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
If you have problems with your dog misbehaving and being a bit of a brat, check out my Ground Rules for Great Dogs.
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.