When I do a consultation, the first thing I want is for the pet parent to tell me what issues his dog is exhibiting and what is it that they want to accomplish. Once they do that, usually my first question is: how many times a day do you walk your dog and for how long? Some pet parents look at me a little funny, but what they don’t know is that providing a dog with physical and mental stimulation makes a difference between having a balanced dog or a nightmare of a dog.
A walk, as I tell all my clients, is to be a structured walk. What do I mean by that? Your dog needs to be on your right or left side, not ahead of you and not smelling every single thing on his/her path. In the above picture, I am walking 3 dogs, from left to right: Dozer, a Doberman Pinscher mix; Sarris, a Weimaraner; and my Alex, a pit bull mix. All of them are walking beside me not ahead of me. Walking is draining them physically, and walking while paying attention to what I am doing and I want is draining them mentally. When we got home, they were all out like a light. Well, to be quite honest, I took a nap too.
I’ve written a few times about the importance of walking your dog, and do you know why? Because some, if not a lot, of the behavioral problems exhibited by dogs are the result of a lack of physical and mental exercise. In the above picture, they are all alert but calm. That you’ll get from your dog if you take the time to walk him/her. Before I forget; walking is an excellent exercise for us pet parents. So go out and walk your dog:-)
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Yes!!! Please walk your dog and don’t let your dog walk ou.
Walking is the biggest problem that I have with my dog, Zipper. He runs ahead of me and absolutely refuses to calm down and walk next to me. I want him to go out walking with me every day but I can’t get him to pay attention and stay next to me. He wants to pull me everywhere and he’s only 11 pounds. I have seriously considered getting him one of those strollers for dogs but I know they don’t do anything for him physically.
I’m going to subscribe to your blog and troll it a bit to see if I can find some tips and tricks for getting Zipper to walk WITH me rather than pull me.
Believe it or not, a lot of pet parents have the same problem. You are lucky, your furry kid is only 11 lbs. Imagine those pet parents with big dogs:-) There are a lot of things that we, humans, need to do in order to have a dog walk next to us such as: 1) your dog needs to be calm before putting leash/collar on him, 2) Check yourself: are you anxious, angry, etc.? 3) Walk your dog, depending on age, weather, weight, etc., at a minimum a dog should walk 1/2 hour twice a day and that is the minimum, 4) You, the pet parent, walk out the door first, not him. If you don’t start the walk properly, he will take over and drag you everywhere. Good luck:-)
Thank you for the advice.
I have the same issue with Kita. Since we don’t have any grass in our CA yard (due to drought), I take her to the nearby park. This allows her to have some (supervised on-leash) fun. But I have the same problem Jan has: Kita’s exicited to go, she has to sniff everything, and she wants to visit her doggie buddies across the road. And she pulls.
One other thing I am working on (with some success) during walks: when Kita finishes her business, I tell her “down”. This gets her to relax while I clean up after her.
Good job re asking her to go down. The problem is that when Kita’s excited to go you probably put on her leash and collar. Am I correct? If you do, you are agreeing with that state of mind, overexcited, and so Kita will continue to do it every single time because you are ok with that behavior. This is behavior, not training. Do not take her out when she is over excited. Wait until she is relaxed. How long does that take? Anytime from 1 minute to as long as 1/2 hour or longer.
I’ve always walked Choppy twice a day, but since we’ve started this Dog Walk Challenge, the walks have been significantly longer (usually 1.3 miles, instead of a quarter mile). She has seemed rather mellow lately, particularly with regard to other dogs, which she sometimes has trouble with. I never put the two things together, but perhaps they are more related than I realize!
You are doing great. Keep up the good work. I love when pet parents tell me that they walk their dogs and they actually do:-) Your furry kid is more mellow because her needs, exercise, is been met, therefore she is better behaved around other dogs. Exercise, mental and physical, drains out a dog and as such your dog ends up being more relaxed.
I am so glad we started the long walks. I feel better, Choppy looks better, and it is really just fun. Those first few weeks were hard, but now the long walks just happen – and I get excited when we have time for an even longer walk!
Sarah, I wish more pet parents would do what you do:-)
Couldn’t agree more. A well walked dog is balanced and a pleasure to be around. And when I’m exercised I’m much more congenial and balanced too. 😉
Lol. You said it so well:-)
In my massage and rehab practice, a lot of the issues I see come down to lack of exercise. I walk twice a day, 7 days per week with my dog, and we aim to get off-leash at least once a week.
I am glad you see that too. Some of my clients seem a bit incredulous when I mention walking as a vital part of a dog’s life. You are doing an excellent job.
Thanks. There’s a mind/body connection with our dogs. I’m so glad I chose to do some training in dog behavior as part of my professional development; it makes me better at my job.
I am really glad you did. Yes, dog behavior should be part of what people like you and me should know in order to educate our clients. Enjoy your Sunday:-)
I definitely notice more destructive (or just generally naughty) behavior from Dewey Dude when I can’t get his walk in. Unfortunately it’s been so hot here lately (it was almost 110 yesterday!) that I haven’t been able to walk the dogs on a daily basis like normal. Hopefully this heat wave will subside soon and I can get my boys back to their usual walking routine. We do get in some good vigorous playtime once the sun goes down, but really, nothing beats a good walk.
110? That is really hot. When I lived in Maryland, I woke up at 6am to walk my dogs. The next long walk was around 9pm. It was too hot to walk them any other time.