This Is Ripple
The benefits of walking your dog are many. My dog is a great example of how consistent walks can transform a dog.
I adopted Ripple the Zen Dog from Dekalb Animal Services back in 2013. He was 9 months old, and hell on wheels! Reactive to dogs, reactive to strange people, reactive to children – he has it all. He has been my most challenging dog thus far in my life as a dog parent.
I started walking him every day, because I wanted to start to enjoy the benefits of regular dog walking with him. Ripple will be mentioned throughout this article, as he is the perfect example of how consistent walking can transform a dog.
It gives them the comfort of a routine and the exercise they so desperately need. And it usually results in calmer behavior at home.
Leash manners will improve with consistent walks. And it can even help to prolong their life.
"What if My Dog Isn't Like Ripple?"
What if your dog is calm and well-behaved?
Even if your dog would give Lassie a run for his money, he would still greatly benefit from regular dog walking. Dog walks on a consistent basis are good for ALL dogs.
To learn why, read on!
Dog Walking Benefits - 1. Dogs Need Exercise
We’ll start with the most obvious benefit – walking is super dog exercise!
It is the easiest way to get rid of some of that pent-up energy they have, which can lead to destructive behaviors.
If your dog is bored and has too much energy that hasn’t been released, he may reduce your couch cushions to nothing but stuffing. Or leave your favorite pumps in tatters!
A tired dog is a happy dog, so get out of the house with him at least once per day (exercise requirements are different depending on breed) and let him walk out the crazy. LOL
Don’t have time to walk your dog every day?
Let us walk them for you!
Dog Walking Benefits - 2. Walks Lead to Calmer Behavior
A wonderful benefit of dog walking, this is where Ripple is the perfect example. He is so calm now compared to the whirling dervish I adopted!
Sure, he is an older dog now, and that has something to do with it. But he no longer reacts to going for a walk like a kid being told they are going to Disney World.
He calmly goes to the front door and waits for me to harness him up. We walk out the front door together. He doesn’t try to pull me onto my face immediately.
Regular walks, if done consistently over a long period of time, can lead to calmer behavior not only on leash, but at home as well.
Because Ripple’s energy has been released with a brisk 2-mile walk every day, he has never destroyed anything in our house. He doesn’t get into trouble and is just a generally great dog to have around!
Regular walks will likely lead to your dog doing what dogs usually do during the day when you’re not home – sleeping!
Dog Walking Benefits - 3. Routine
Calmer behavior is also achieved because dogs like routine. The lack of a routine can actually make your dog anxious.
Getting your dog into the routine of going on a daily walk helps to calm her because she knows it is coming. So she is no longer overly anxious or overexcited about it. It is simply expected.
It is a great benefit to dogs to be in a routine of going for at least one walk a day. It gets them out of the house to explore the world outdoors. And it gives them something to look forward to.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog?
The short answer is daily for most dogs.
Depending on the breed of dog you have and your living arrangements, how often you should walk your dog can vary. Breeds such as pointers, terriers, and working breeds need to be exercised at least daily. Preferably several times a day.
Your basset hound may be happiest with one short walk a day.
But they need to at least be able to get out of the house and sniff around at least once a day. It is great enrichment for them!
How Long Should I Walk My Dog?
Similar to how often you should walk your dog, how long you should walk your dog depends a lot on breed.
The working dogs, sighthounds, and other active breeds would benefit most from a long walk of at least a couple of miles.
Your elderly pup or that bassett hound I mentioned might be happiest with a walk around the block.
The bottom line – pay attention to your dog.
How is he doing? Does it seem like he is enjoying the walk?
Does he have plenty of energy, or is he looking at you and pulling to go back home?
Dog Walking Benefits - 4. Better Leash Manners
An invaluable benefit to walking your dog regularly is that he can learn to walk on leash properly.
Regular practice in teaching leash manners means you won’t have to struggle with him when you take him to the vet or the dog park.
You can make it a game – give him a treat for walking next to you. Praise him for it. As he is looking up at you and trotting next to you, reward him for it.
I started doing this with Ripple (because he is food OBSESSED), and it has made all the difference in teaching him leash manners.
Whether your dog is small or large, they need to be able to walk well on leash, just to make your life easier.
Going on regular walks helps you (or your walker) practice good leash manners with him.
Dog Walking Benefits - 5. Longer Life
I believe many factors contribute to a longer life for dogs, but regular walks is definitely one of them.
For instance, my pit bull Scarlet, stopped walking when she was about 12 years old. She was just getting old and lazy. She died when she was 15, which is a good long life.
However, my black Labrador, Lucy, is 15 and a half, and she still walks almost 2 miles a day with me! And she is showing no signs of stopping.
Scarlet’s muscles had started to atrophy almost immediately after she stopped going on walks. As a result, her body gave out and stopped working. I truly believe she would have lived longer if she had kept up the daily exercise.
As a professional dog walker for the past several years, I have witnessed firsthand the happiness that dogs experience from their walks.
From dogs that grin from ear-to-ear when they see me coming, to tails that wag so hard that it turns into twerking.
Sometimes, I can hear them screaming with excitement before I even walk in!
DOGS. LOVE. WALKS.
And I know they will love you more for giving them that gift.
Effects of Not Walking Your Dog
Even more important than pointing out the benefits of walking your dog is recognizing the effects of NOT walking your dog.
Encourages Obese/Overweight Dogs
Obesity in pets is a common problem I see on a daily basis.
I know you give them treats because you love them. But you are actually killing them with your food-centric love!
Couple that with never taking them out for exercise, and you are looking at saying goodbye to your beloved canine years before his time.
The good news is, you can stop this now.
While giving fewer treats and cutting back on their meals is a good start, daily exercise really helps with this!
If your dog is severely overweight (i.e. you can’t see a waistline), just start with 5 to 10 minute walks around the block. You can build on that once he starts to lose the weight that makes his joints hurt and his body waddle.
When a reduction in food intake and regular exercise are done in combination, I have seen a huge transformation in dogs in just a couple of weeks!
Another big effect of not walking your dog is laziness (both her and you!).
Some dogs have gotten lazy to the point that they don’t want to go on a walk. Low-calorie treats can help motivate dogs who are otherwise not jazzed about going for a walk.
Laziness over a long period of time can lead to muscle atrophy. This is especially common in older dogs. But it can happen in younger dogs to, and it can prematurely age them.
Boredom in dogs leads to disobedience in many cases. This is especially true in younger dogs, but some never grow out of it.
Most healthy dogs have a lot of energy. If they have no healthy outlet to get rid of that energy, that is when bad things happen in your house.
Furniture is destroyed, remotes chewed, carpet ripped up, crates demolished.
Daily exercise is a great way to curb those behaviors.
As I mentioned above, Ripple has never destroyed anything in our house. The main reason for that lies in his daily exercise.
I know his energy requirements and I walk him every single day without fail. If I ever don’t, we notice a difference in his behavior. He is bouncing off the walls!
It is a major factor in keeping him a happy, mellow house companion.
Find a Dog Walker in Your Area
Finding someone who will walk your dog is easy.
Finding a professional who will go the extra mile to ensure your dog is safe, happy, and gets the most out of his walks is a little tougher.
For more information on how to choose the right dog walker for your family, click here.
Here are a few ways to find a professional dog walker:
- Google Search – make sure you thoroughly research your choices.
- Go to a professional pet sitting organization and search their directory. A few good ones are:
- Talk to neighbors and friends about who they use. Over half of our business is word-of-mouth referrals from other happy clients!
If you live it Peachtree Corners or surrounding areas, contact us to walk your dogs.
We would LOVE to help your dogs be happier, more well adjusted companions!
~ Steph Sorensen