A nice big, fenced yard can be a great place for a dog to play or hang out with you. But getting out on the town is also essential to your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Here are some of the reasons taking your dog for a walk is so important.
Most people underestimate the amount of exercise their dogs need. Lack of sufficient physical exercise can cause a dog to be frustrated and antsy, which often leads to behavior problems. Many owners think that their yard provides sufficient opportunity for their dogs to burn off steam. In reality, most dogs left out in yards on their own for hours spend most of that time lying around. Those who don’t often get into trouble and develop bad habits: They bark at dogs and people through the fence and come to believe that this is their responsibility; they dig, either through gardens or under fences; they eat poop or even potentially more harmful things.
Physical exercise isn’t your dog’s only need. Dogs need mental stimulation as well; and a backyard can quickly become boring. In order to provide the mental stimulation your dog needs, you need give him access to new sights, smells and experiences. Going for walks with your dog gives him a bit of physical exercise and gives you the opportunity to take him to new places, to smell new smells, and to meet new friends. On top of that, walks are a great time to get in some training, which makes them a great time to strengthen your bond with your dog. If your schedule does not allow for daily walks, there are likely a few high school students in your neighborhood who’d be more than happy to walk your dog for a very reasonable price.
So get out there and make your dog’s day: Take him for a walk!
Guest Contributor–Danielle Grand has spent the last decade working to parlay her affinity for animals into a dog training career. While earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she was involved in an experimental study on canine cognition. She has also obtained her dog training certification from Animal Behavior College and attended numerous dog training seminars conducted by respected behaviorists. At home in New York’s capital region, she works closely with colleagues and mentors to expand her expertise; she hopes to help forge strong, happy relationships between many dogs and their humans.