Most of us see walking our dog as a way to maintain his physical health. Dogs are wired differently. To him, walking is his ultimate idea of a social outing. He sniffs, he pees, he poops, he meets other dogs, he salivates over a cat he wants to chase, he imagines how if he was quicker that annoying bird would be history.
Yes, it’s more of a ‘mind thing’ for him than we would have thought.
TAKES HIS MIND OFF PAIN
Even short walks with a dog suffering from arthritis, dysplasia, and other mild to moderate conditions will help take his mind off the discomfort he feels. A fun game of catch or just fooling around with him works just as well.
HELPS HIM BLOW OFF STEAM
Walking provides him the opportunity to channel his energy in more productive ways rather than resorting to grumpiness, aggression, anxiety or insomnia.
STOPS HIM FROM EXCESSIVE CHEWING
Some dogs chew out of complete and utter boredom. Walking helps high-energy dogs rid themselves of excess energy that they would otherwise have directed on chewing your favourite shoe or cushion.
REDUCES HIS STRESS LEVELS
Being cooped-up all day often leads to anxious, stressed dogs who act out by chewing table legs or tearing up a rug. A brisk walk gives him a change of scenery and stimulates his scent of smell as he sniffs out other animals along his path.
LIGHTENS HIS SENSE OF BOREDOM
A bored dog is a destructive dog. He’ll resort to stealing food off the counter tops, shoving his nose in your dustbins or chasing the cat up the stairs. A walk is a constructive activity that engages his sense of smell, sight and hearing so that when he comes home, he’s satisfied enough to sleep the day away and leave the cat in peace.
ALLOWS HIM A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Just like humans, an anxious, inactive dog will not sleep well and wake up the next morning, a complete grump. Walking tires him out so he sleeps better at night and wakes up with a better attitude.
FULFILLS HIS SENSE OF PURPOSE
Many dog’s metabolisms are geared for work. A Husky pulls sleds, a Dachshund hunts, a Retriever retrieves game. These tendencies are part of their DNA, and as a responsible owner, you must satisfy your dog’s needs as much as you can. A walk generally keeps him content enough as it fulfils his sense of purpose, making him feel he’s put in a good day’s work.
STRENGTHENS HIS BOND WITH YOU
Simple creatures, dogs love nothing better than spending time with you. To him, walking allows him to bond with you. It makes him happy. He sees it as love. And a loved dog is a happy soul!
If you really cannot see yourself walking your dog every day, throwing him a Frisbee to catch or a tennis ball to fetch are good enough physical activities that allow you to interact with him and put him in a feel-good place. Do try it – it will do wonders for your mental health too.