On a day when the UK is being battered by stormy weather, this is probably a question crossing the minds of a few people this morning!
And especially if you have a big garden which you dog loves to race around in and play with their toys, you might find yourself thinking that they get plenty of exercise so going out for a walk is a luxury rather than a necessity.
But if your dog is excited when you go to pick up the lead (and not all are - small dog quite often aren't keen in bad weather!) then here's why I think actually taking them out walking is important:
- Exercise is important - for both your dog AND you! It's essential for keeping your dog slim and trim.
- Walks aren't just about exercise - they're about a change of scenery too. Imagine being enclosed in the same surroundings every single day - even the most beautiful would quickly get suffocating wouldn't they?
- Socialisation (for better and hopefully not worse!) is part of your dog's ongoing education throughout their life. Positive interactions and maybe even a brief play, can have a great effect on your dog's mood - and yours too!
- Where you walk is important - going to different places rather than the same each day keeps life interesting, and is helpful for building a strong recall. Your dog is more likely to pay close attention to you if you go somewhere novel or on different tracks each time.
- Not all walks are created equal. Open spaces are fine, but the proprioception opportunities are limited if your dog is always running over the same surface. Proprioception refers to the body's ability to sense movement within joints and joint position. This ability enables us to know where our limbs are in space without having to look.
- Walking in woodland and over different terrain is going to make your dog's brain & body work harder so that they are nicely tired out when they return home from a challenging walk. You might well be too!
Wrapping up warm in woolies and waterproofs is normal for us, and doing the same for your dog make help them enjoy a wet and windy walk more. Plus it'll save on how muddy they are when they get home as a coat can be popped straight into the washing machine.
Check out some of my favourite dog walks by searching 'Dog walks' in the search box - and if yours isn't there please do email me to give me details. I'm always keen to explore new places with my dogs!
Today I'm grateful for my dog walker Clint Elliott who's help means that I'm only headed out it this awful weather once today rather than multiple times!