National Walk Your Pet Month

Many of us are making New Year’s resolutions to get healthier. Maybe it’s time to make one for our pet as well.  January is National Walk Your Pet Month, and this may be just the encouragement we need.   Even some cats can be trained to walk on a harness and leash!

Together, this is a perfect time for you and the dogs in your life to get the great health benefits walks provide as well as a great bonding time. While walking your dog is a way to help your pup get rid of extra amounts of energy, it is also a great source to set a good foundation for training.

Walking your pet regularly provides a basic foundation for physical and mental health. Like a child, your pet wants to know the world. If he or she is confined to the house for too long, your pet may get bored, and boredom can lead to destructive behavior. Your dog is dependent on you to take them out to explore the sights, smells, and sounds of the world. This is why it’s also good to vary the places you take your pet as much as possible. You’ve probably noticed how busy (and excited) your dog gets when he or she is walking, so let them enjoy every opportunity to discover!

Here are some of the top reasons to walk your pet:

Walking is Good for Your Pet’s Health

Remember that a sedentary pet can quickly become an overweight one, and that brings potential health problems with it. Even if your dog is active inside the home, he or she still needs another outlet for pent-up energy. You’ll benefit from having a well-exercised dog, as tired dogs tend to behave better, and you’ll help your pet avoid unnecessary weight gain!

Walking Helps with Your Dog’s Socialization

While out walking, your pooch is most likely going to meet other dogs. This is a great opportunity to help your dog learn acceptable ways of socially interacting with new animals. It will also help build doggy confidence so your pet will be less afraid to make friends. If your dog does show fear, taking them to a training class is a great way of removing that anxiety in a more controlled environment. Well-socialized pups still like a bit of rough-and-tumble play with other dogs when out for a walk, but they’ll know when to stop and will come away without any battle scars. Walking your dog and exposing him or her to different dogs, people, and situations is a win for everyone.

Walking Your Dog is a Training Opportunity

When walking your dog, consider it a training opportunity. Dogs aren’t born knowing how to walk on a leash, so you’ll have to teach your dog how to follow your lead. On these walks, you can begin teaching commands like, “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” especially if you take treats along to use during the process.

Foundation work is not something we need to “get through” so we can start working on the “real skills,” in fact, the work we do now is crucial to the success of our future training goals. By taking the time now to teach our puppies good training habits, proper form, and a solid understanding of various foundation exercises we are reducing their risk of injury (present and future) and save critical time that would be needed to re-train those bad habits later in life.

Just Walking Your Dog May Not be Enough

Exercise needs are based on your dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health, but a good rule of thumb is you should spend at least 30 minutes every day on an activity with your dog. Younger dogs and dogs bred for sports or herding activities may need much more.

If your dog has a yard to play in, walking isn’t the only form of exercise available. However, don’t expect your dog to create their own exercise routine just because you’ve put them outside. Dogs don’t self-entertain, so if you want to tire your pet out, play catch or fetch!

If you’re at work all day, consider taking your dog to doggie daycare, hiring a dog walker or asking a friend to take your dog out during those hours. Your pet will enjoy the company, and you’ll come home to a happier dog waiting to greet you. Animal Medical Clinic offers daycare services at our Melbourne location.  Give our Kennel Manager Nancy a call to discuss it.

Ready to get out of the house with your four-legged friend? With this insight, you’ll never look at a walk with your dog the same way again!