Most dog breeds were originally bred to do a job. Whether it is hunting, sporting, tracking, or herding, even if your dog is a mixed breed, there's a high probability that he has some traits in his genes that drive him to do certain activities.
In today's world, most dogs are house pets. They're our companions, our best friends, and our movie-watching snuggle buddies. We don't typically put our dogs to work, especially living in a city like Atlanta or Decatur. So what can you do to satisfy your dog's innate urges?
Dog walking, that's what.
The most obvious benefit of walking your dog is the exercise, and of course, a potty break. According to the ASPCA, at least one 30-minute on-leash dog walk per day is necessary to maintain their physical health. Elderly pets also greatly benefit for daily dog walking routine, as the walks keep a senior dog more active, and does so at a pace that's more comfortable for them.
Doggy Happiness Index
If you're not actively engaged with your dog, he will sleep the hours away
A fenced-in back yard is fantastic for your dog to get a quick potty break here and there between dog walking. It's a dream come true for playing fetch and getting great exercise! But he needs someone to throw the ball. He needs a playful wrestling partner. Leave him alone in the back yard and watch him for a few minutes. Is he running? Is he exercising? Probably not. He's just meandering and sniffing, barking at passers by through the fence, or even just laying in his favorite spot taking in some rays.
In short, fenced-in back yards and dog parks are wonderful for exercise, but they are not a replacement for walking your dog. Here's why:
DOGS CAN BE LAZY BUMS
There, I said it! We like to think of them as these big balls of energy who bounce off the walls in excitement all the time. But the reality is that they sleep. A lot.
All dogs need to be walked
Here's why dog walking is so important: On a walk, there are several forms of stimulation that your dog simply can't get with other forms of exercise.
- Mental stimulation. Your dog is a super-nerd about canine urine. Ever wonder exactly why that tree your dog's been sniffing for the last 90 seconds is so dang interesting to him? The answer is as nerdy as it gets: Data.
When a dog gets to slow down and investigate every smell, every sight, every sound, he is gathering information about his territory that he didn't have the last time he walked that route. He's just doing his "job" and identifying who's been on his turf. Then he'll reclaim it as his own. Job done.
- Taking in the world around him. And I mean, reeeallly taking it in. As in, getting used to it and accepting it as normal, and therefore making your dog more calm. On your walk, you're bound to see other people, children, and other dogs. He'll also see and hear cars, skateboards, lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and he'll hear a neighbor's dog barking through a fence, etc. Frequent exposure to all of these potentially scary or overwhelming sounds will lessen their effect on your dog, and he will be more calm as a result.
- Behavior Training. Walking your dog also gives you the opportunity to work on his training. You read the books. You paid the trainer. You learned that training a dog is often times more about training YOU! You have to stick to the training techniques you learned to make your dog behave the way you want him to. He needs the structure. It makes him calm because he knows exactly what's going to happen next, all the time. Heel. Sit. Wait for the light to turn before you cross the street. And because his reward is a happy human and maybe even a couple of treats during and after his dog walk, he's a very happy pup! Did you know that a quality, professional dog walker can help you reinforce your dog's training?
In today's hectic environment, with busy professional schedules, kids' soccer practice and swim lessons, your work travel schedule, and even your family vacation, your dog's life can easily play second fiddle. Hiring a professional dog walker is a great way to help get your dog the daily stimulation and sense of accomplishment that he needs. When you get home from your busy schedule, your pup will not only be happy as ever to see you, but he'll also be calmer, more stimulated, and a little bit smarter about his (your) neighborhood.
If you've been wondering if a daily dog walker is right for you and your pup, ask us about our Dog Walking Services. We have a dedicated team of wonderful professional dog walkers, and we service your intown Atlanta and Decatur neighborhoods with daily dog walking routes.
How has a daily dog walker helped in your dog's life? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.