When we first got our dog, we started walking her twice a day. And I’m not talking a short walk around the block; I’m talking heading to the park and throwing the ball for 40min, rain or shine. Our dog had spent 5 months at the pound, hadn’t she earned the right to stretch her paws after all?
It meant we had to do one walk in the morning, before 6am and another one after 6pm. Add to that long working days, unexpected events that life throws at you and pretty soon, our friend the guilt showed up when we could only do a 30min walk per day.
So how often should you really be taking your dog on walks? How long is long enough for walkies? Does your personality influence the walks? What makes a walk successful? These are all questions we started asking ourselves.
The benefits of walking your dog
We all know that dogs need to be walked. Staying in the backyard, as big as yours can be, simply won’t cut it!
Exercising, socialising, exploring and sniffing are all activities that support a healthy life!
This rings true for humans also: walking your dog will not only benefit your physical health but also your mental health. In a country where about 40% of pets and 2 in 3 adults are overweight, a simple activity such as walking can improve your fitness, lower your blood pressure and stress levels.
It’s no secret that our dogs love to spend time with us and walking is a fantastic bonding time.
So how often should you be walking with your dog?
How many walkies is too many walkies?
The number of walks you need to have will depend on your dog’s breed, age and size. An elderly or sick dog might only need a 20min walk outside the house.
Character, both pet and owner, is also at play (more on that later). Dogs that have been socialised a lot as puppies, love to go out and about. Other dogs simply aren’t that excited about meeting new people.
The good news is: there is no magic number for how often and how long walkies should be. It is a shared experience and if you listen to your dog, you will learn to identify their favourite places to go to and when they've had enough.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your dog’s exercising routine, consider joining events such as Pawgust (with Guide Dog Australia) which encourages dog owners to walk 30min per day for 30 days in the month of August. Perfect way to get active while raising funds!
Don’t forget that walking is an activity that can be shared: kids, partners or dog walkers can help your dog get its quota of daily exercise if you have a busy schedule.
Does your personality influence the way you walk your dog?
Have you ever made a detour on the trail because you have spotted a big dog and want to avoid collision?
Some dog owners feel anxiety walking their dogs. It could be because you cannot anticipate your dog’s (or other dogs) reaction? Your dog might be very reactive on leash when coming across other dogs. It can also be because of your dog’s breed stigmas, comments or judgement you get from other dog owners.
An easy way to prevent unnecessary anxiety is to walk your dog at quiet times, when there is less chance of bumping into other dogs. Have a look at a dog walker's top 5 walking spots in SA.
Our sense of danger is different to our dog’s. We’re very quick to anticipate and imagine the worth case scenario. This often leads us to a place of conflict: I know my dog needs to exercise but I don’t feel comfortable with him/her being off leash.
What makes a walk successful?
Do not fall into society’s pressure when it comes to walkies. What works for other dog owners or what you see on Instagram (insert doggy meet up at the park) might not work for your dog or fit your lifestyle.
A successful walk is a walk that will give your dog the opportunity to stretch its paws, smell new scents while also making YOU happy to spend time with your fur friend and disconnect from our human world for a minute.
A note of precaution: in extreme summer Australian weather, there IS such thing as a successful walk, and that is either early in the morning or late at night. Please refrain from taking your dog out on adventures when the temperature is higher than 30degres.
Wanna receive blog posts straight to your e-kennel? Join our newsletter
The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to help dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub