We all want what’s best for our dogs. We make sure they are properly fed, we keep them clean and groomed and we also take them to the vet regularly. In other words, we take good care of their physical health.

 All of these things are necessary, but there’s one area where people are sometimes lacking, whether it’s because of time, physical issues, the weather outside, and so on — so the most important thing we can do for our dogs doesn’t get done. Our dogs need to walk. A walk is without doubt the best treat for our friends and the best exercise, not only physically but also psychologically. It is the single most important thing you can do to keep your dog happy, which is to keep them balanced. A balanced dog is a happy dog.

Remember, having a big back yard to play in does not offer the same benefits as a structured walk.  A walk has a lot of benefits for your dog:

1. It relaxes your dogs

A structured walk drains the excess energy and brings the dog to a calm state. Remember “a tired dog is a good dog.” When your dog gets rid of its extra energy, its calm state of mind prevents it from misbehaving. Most common dog’s misbehaviours such as unwanted chewing, excessive barking etc. will go away once your dog is tired.

2. It helps your dog to socialise

How would you feel if you only left your house once a week? Dogs feel the same and need to be out socialising. Dogs are social animals and the worst thing you can do to your dog is to isolate it. When you take your dog out for a walk, you’re both likely to run into other humans or dogs, and the more your dog is exposed to other beings, the more social he will become as he gets used to making new friends and gets more comfortable with the old ones. It will also give him a sense of his “territory” outside of the home, which will help to calm him down once you are back there.

Sharing new experiences with your dog on the walk can help build his self-confidence and reduce things like anxiety or fearfulness. The more often the two of you encounter new things with nothing bad happening, the easier your dog will be able to handle novelty without panicking.

3. It is the way to bond with your dog

A walk is the best way for you to establish a relationship with your dog. Be honest with yourself, do you walk your dog or does your dog walk you?

As I always say, a walk has a lot of meaning for dogs and when they walk in a pack, each has a different position. Some walk in front, some in the middle and some are always at the rear of the pack. Without noticing, you have formed a pack with your dog and when you allow her to walk ahead of you, you are asking her to lead. If your dog is very confident, she may become protective of you and may bark at other dogs and humans approaching you. If your dog is not a confident one, she may become fearful when approached by other dogs and humans and may exhibit aggressive behaviour.

Ask your dog to walk next to or behind you. By doing this, you are in charge of the walk and your four-legged friend can enjoy the walk without the need to protect you or to become anxious when approached.

4. Its healthy for your dog

Obesity isn’t just a human problem. According to a recent survey, nearly 26% of dogs in the United Kingdom are overweight, and the are overweight for the same reason that humans are:

  • too much food
  • lack of exercise
  • regular daily walks will help to burn excess calories and keep your dog in shape.

If you master the walk and lead, you can transfer this experience to other aspects of your relationship.

Take your dog for a walk please.