Two of the most common excuses people have about not to walk their dog are
“I have a big yard.” and/or
“ I have multiple dogs and they play all the time.”
Listen the Podcast Episode I recorded: Human Walk Your Dog.
Let’s start with the obvious benefit #1 and that is walking is good for you.
We live in air conditioned boxes called homes…without natural air -Oxygen- flowing through them. Our home environments , our offices, places where we shop are not natural environments. Our bodies are always being exposed to electromagnetic frequencies, conditioned air, and radiowaves. It is really important for us humans to spend some time outside.
Even if you walk in your neighborhood for 5-10 minutes a day it is going to have an incredible impact on your well-being. Getting real oxygen, feeling the cool.warm/hot air temperatures on your skin, feeling the wind blow, seeing some sun light, clouds is good for your well being.
Using your dog as an excuse to spend some time outside, by yourself is the best form mindfulness exercise.
BAM! So, the biggest benefit of having a dog is you the human now have an excuse to go for a walk. Spend some time with your thoughts, get to be mindful. If the only benefit of walking your dog was for your dog to get a certain number of steps it’s one thing, But a “Walk” with you means so much more to your dog than “taking lots of steps”
Another reason for walking your dog is it’s actually a bonding experience between you and your dog.
Lastly, by integrating a little bit of training to your walk you can reinforce yourself as the leader of our pack.
Those are BENEFITS FOR YOU.
What about your dog? Why do dogs need to be walked even if you have another dog, and a big yard.
Because we’re humans, and we mostlyexperience the world by using our eyes, and ears it’s hard to fully grasp the importance of smells for our dogs.
Your dogs’ nose is 1,400 times better than yours.
A dog never forgets a smell. You can leave for a decade and come back and your dog will remember your smell.
Dogs can smell roughly about a mile, mile and a half circle. When you are sitting at your house your dog can actually smell what your neighbor is cooking.
They also smell in layers. You may smell pepperoni pizza, but your dog smells Pepperoni, Olive Oil, Dough, Wheat, Cardboard of the box, The guy who carried the box, soap that guy used, whatever else was in his car.
If you pay attention you’ll notice your dog is likely to regularly pee on the same spots (a fire hydrant, tree, bush, or new limbs your neighbor stacked.) They often smell before and after they pee, and they go about their business. This is called “Marking” this is not gender specific. All dogs “mark.” More dominant the dog is more marking they do, but all dogs mark.
What is happening when your dog Marks a spot and smells it today. Tomorrow, when your dog is walking on that path she is going to smell this spot again. Because she knows what her mark smelled like. Because she smells in layers she is able to smell what has happened since the last mark…..A bird passed, A pregnant woman walked by, another dog came and peed, a raccoon walked by, a car passed by. All that information just by smelling.
Once she smelled and got all the information, she is going to pee again. Remarking it. Saying Check! I already smelled all this. I don’t need to worry about it any more. And a new mark starts, and now we have a clean slate.
So, this… this critical part of the dog’s life …. Your Dog’s psychie. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT BENEFIT OF WALKING YOUR DOG.
This is also why when you walk your dog she becomes mentally tired. Because she is really thinking. She is figuring out his territory.
This is why unless you live out in the country, your backyard is wide open and there are other animals walking thru it , having a big yard is not a good enough excuse to not walk your dog.
Pro Tip: If you want to enhance your walks occasionally change your path. So your dog has more spots to mark. He will have more to smell, and more new things to learn.
Bonding with your dog and re-establishing yourself as the leader
Dogs, like us humans are designed to walk. They walk to hunt, to look for stuff, to explore, to chase things, protect their territory. So walking with your dog, you’re emulating their natural order. Therefore when you are walking with your dog is the best time for you to practice your leadership skills.
Here is an easy to remember practice. Start at the beginning of your walk. You’re out the door….
Give your dog a minutes to sniff and pee out side. Then start walking, for the next 5 minutes… don’t let your dog mark. Just Walk, Walk, Walk. After about 5 minutes or whenever you feel like it’s enough time give your dog some sort of a release command for your dog to go pee and mark. (FYI Corners, Large bushes near intersections are good spots for your dog to mark.)
So walk nicely until you get to a corner or near an intersection, release your dog preferably giving a release command. So she can pee/ mark. Now don’t struggle, don’t insist on obedience. Let him do his thing.
Because You are the one who is allowing your dog to smell and mark you are the one who told your dog “Now it’s time for you to go pee/mark/check things out.” This will reinforces your position as the one who is leading the walk.
You are the one who gave your dog time to figure things out. You are the one who allowed your dog to walk around, pee, mark, smell. DO NOT RUSH THIS. This is WHY you are walking.
Once, a minute or two past, say “Come on, let’s go.” and now, he’s back in the walking command and you’re walking until you release him again. (next intersection/ next large bush, next fire hydrant)
This will reinforce yourself as the leader of the walk. The one who is in charge, and The Provider of rich natural experience for your dog.
If for some reason, you can’t walk with your dog because your dog is pulling on the leash and driving you nuts.
You can Schedule a Lesson via ZOOM
If not. Listen to Finding the best dog trainer Episode.
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