14 Reasons to Walk Your Dog Today

In the spring, I see dogs and their people everywhere I go. It’s like puppy rush hour on the D.C. Beltway.

But now that it’s cold and grey? Not so much.

There are dogs in my neighborhood I haven’t seen in months. Why is it that so many people don’t walk the dog in winter? After all, there are so many great reasons to walk all year long.

Honey & Pam walking at Taughannock falls in winter.

Damn, woman. It’s so cold even the waterfalls are starting to freeze.

Reasons to Walk Your Dog

Some reasons are good for the dog. Some are good for you. And some are just plain silly. But they’re all worth considering.

Stimulate your dog’s brain.

Dogs can’t do crossword puzzles or sudoku. They can’t read thick Russian novels. But they can sniff and solve problems. And they’re more likely to do that on a walk than they are sitting on your couch.

Honey the golden retriever walks at Taughannock.

I guess we might as well try to learn something as long as we’re here. After all, I have to keep your brain stimulated after all that rot you watch on television.

Stimulate your brain.

C’mon. We both know you’re not spending your day solving puzzles and reading Russian novels. So step away from the cat memes on Facebook and do some sniffing of your own.

Look at Christmas lights.

Oooh, sparkly. It’s dark. It’s gloomy. But at least there are pretty lights on the trees. Go look at them.

Mike and Honey on the swinging bridge.

This is one noisy, moving bridge. I’m so glad you brought snacks.

Socialize your dog.

If your dog is a puppy, the best thing you can do is gently expose him to all kinds of new things so he learns to be confident and unafraid. But even an adult dog can learn to accept inflatable snowmen and animatronic reindeer with a few treats. And a dog that takes new things in stride is an easy dog to live with.

Spy on your neighbors.

My mom told me that when she was young, her grandmother used to take her and her sisters for walks around the town at dusk. Y’know, after people turn the lights on but before they close the curtains. Apparently, Nana knew all the town scandals.

Just imagine if she had a dog instead of three granddaughters.

Keep the cats in their places.

With all the dogs indoors, the cats take over the neighborhood. They’re on every porch, under every shrub, and leaving their cute little footprints in the snow everywhere I look.

We have to keep things somewhat equal before they take over the world.

Honey the golden retriever jumps up on a log on a walk.

I thought this was a walk. How come you keep having me jump on and over logs and rocks?

Exercise.

A walk around the block isn’t much of a physical workout for a young, healthy dog. But throw in some running, a few hills, and maybe an agility trick or two and you have yourself a workout.

Prevent seasonal depression.

Even on a cloudy day, you’ll get more sun exposure outdoors than in your house. I try to get maximum sun exposure by raising my face to the sky as I walk.

I can’t tell if it works. I’m too depressed from tripping because I can’t see where I’m going. But Honey feels great.

Gain a smug feeling of superiority.

How do I feel smug? Let me count the ways.

When you’re walking while everyone else is driving, or worse, hibernating indoors, you’ll feel that awesome glow of self-righteousness. Toss in the disdainful remarks you can make about your neighbors who didn’t shovel their sidewalks and you’re good for the day.

Honey the golden retriever and Ginny the foster dog walk in the snow.

I don’t know why you wear a coat, Ginny. All you really need is a little snow on your nose.

Have a few hours of peace and quiet.

After your dog has sniffed out every squirrel, checked his p-mail, and strolled up and down every hill in your neighborhood, he’ll be ready for a nap.

Late morning, after I’ve brought Honey and Ginny in from their walks, is the quietest (and most productive) part of my day.

Build muscle.

Ginny, our foster dog, is recovering from hip surgery after an accident. At her recent vet check up, I was told to work on building up her muscle mass.

Honey is doing her part by always being ready for a game of bitey face. But there’s nothing like a long, slow walk to build muscles. Add in those hills I was talking about earlier and you’re improving the range of motion too.

Keep your backyard from becoming one massive poopsicle.

I don’t even want to think of what my neighbors’ yards will look like in the spring after an entire winter of not walking their dogs. Ugh.

Because if they’re not walking their dogs, I’m sure they’re not rushing outside in the cold to scoop the poop either.

Hang out with the cool kids.

Once when I was riding my bike on a particularly cold day, a young guy in a balaclava pedaled up beside me at a stoplight and gave me a fist bump.

Those of us who walk our dogs in the cold and dark need to start a club. Because we are the cool kids. Literally.

Honey the golden retriever walks the pier on Cayuga Lake.

No one out here on the lake except us and the ducks.

It’s fun.

Honey loves the snow. She can’t stop play bowing and plowing the fluffy stuff up with her nose.

Even if you don’t have snow, winter has its own special beauty. So get out and enjoy spending time with your dog.

Their lives with us are all too short. And no one ever said at the passing of their dog, “I wish I had spent more time on Facebook while my dog slept in the other room.”

Go. Walk your dog. Today.

Your Turn: Do you have a favorite reason to walk your dog?

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Comments

  1. We don’t get that “fair weather” walking thing either. Winter walks are our favorite ones. We know year round what is going on in the neighborhood, we take Christmas light walking tours in the winter, it is wonderful. Everyone has winter clothes in MN, so put them on and get out with your dog! Mom was really mad when even at dog school they talked about training your dog to go to the bathroom in the yard so you don’t need to walk it in the snow and cold. Ridiculous, but then again, all our neighbors think we are nuts because we do walk more in the winter than in the summer! Glad you walk too!

  2. Walking is the best medicine – for everyone canines and humans alike! To me the rule is a walk everyday, rain or shine. Yes, that’s a little easier since I love in SoCal, but it was the same rule when I lived in Syracuse, the snow capital of the US…or at least one of them. Great post, thanks for joining the Hop.

  3. Great post and ideas for walking in the winter. I don’t like the cold and it’s often hard to get around in the ice and snow so am a bit lazy in the winter months- though this year am going to try my best to be consistent and walk more often. Noah is adjusting to being less “energetic” on the ice which makes the trips easier. LOL. Will keep your ideas in mind.

  4. We take at least three walks a day. When Mom’s hip problem was bad so we couldn’t take long walks. Even so she took me out three times a day. Now she has a bad cold cold so we don’t go far – still three times a day though.

    Hopefully, when she’s better and the weather is a little better we can go back to the park.

    For the rest of you, have fun and appreciate your walks. Enjoy the moment.

  5. Great great reasons! Have a great weekend.

  6. Did Jedi put you up to this? It’s cold and yucky today — and I live in Florida! — and I’ve been debating whether or not I should skip our walk. Now I feel guilty. let me get my coat . . .

  7. You’re such a good person. The last winter we lived in Pennsylvania Rod walked the dogs about 90% of the time, because I really hate the cold. It makes me cranky. Good thing we’re in places where the weather’s much warmer in the winter now!

    I’m really glad to hear that Ginny’s doing so well! I’m sure getting out to sniff the sites agrees with the beagle in her.

  8. We can’t wait to get Kenzie out for walks! We always walked with Cali, no matter what the weather :) Looks so COLD where you are!! Love that Honey has snow on her nose – so cute!

  9. My double-coated corgis prefer winter to summer in a big way! Fortunately, DC winters are rarely that cold or snowy to restrict activity. I have ski bibs for the days that are extra cold or there is a strong wind. I don’t even notice the temps dressed like that.

    The only thing that stops corgis is deep snow. With 3 inch legs, a foot of snow is a walk stopper! And of course right now, a broken knee cap for me is also a walk stopper. Poor John is stuck with the (now short) walks and so none of us are happy.

    Oh, and yes, the trails around my house are empty this time of year. But then, I rarely see a dog in good weather. Go figure…..

  10. Awesome reasons to go for a walk! I like the one about the neighbors ~ you gotta know what is going on! I live in S. Florida so it is always a great day for a walk or two or three. In fact, I think Tristan and Biddy want to go right now!

  11. I had to laugh at your comment about neighbors’ yards! Actually, I keep OUR yard cleaned up on a daily basis, except when it rains — then I clean up after the girls each time they do their business, as long as it’s still light out enough to see it. I don’t want to step in it in my boots (the soles have deep grooves. Need I say more?)!! Of course, my PITA neighbors NEVER clean up after the dog and I won’t “say anything more about that”!

  12. PS I wish we lived in a neighborhood with sidewalks, or at least safer streets! I would LOVE to be able to walk my 3 girls around the neighborhood in ANY kind of weather! But I won’t walk on our road alone, never mind with dogs that love to “graze”!

  13. Hahaha!! I love this post. I worked 0530-1600 today, then came home and walked all three of my dogs. I was tired, but getting out in the brisk fresh air renewed my energy. So worth it! I also felt superior…

  14. Loved your post! I’ll be honest…I don’t walk my dogs like I should. Scout is limping a lot so I have to be careful with him, Teddy is scared of his own shadow and he is terrified to go on a walk and Ash, well…she is the one I should take out more often. But I feel guilty when I take her out and not the other two. I need to not feel guilty and just take her out!!!! Shame on me.

  15. So true about preventing seasonal depression!

  16. We are hardcore dog walkers. We go out EVERY day, year round. Lately this has been quite challenging, though. One day we had to skip all together, because it was all ice outside. It hasn’t got a whole lot better since, even though there is a bit of snow on top of it. We we had extremely limited options of places to go; we ended up walking through gravel yard and parking lots. Any other place is just asking for a broken leg *sigh

  17. I actually do better with walking the dogs in winter than I do when it’s warm out. The heat becomes a dangerous issue for them here and I’m not good about taking myself for a walk without them. We’re already signed up for the Idita Walk this year and our annual New Year’s Day hike is being planned.

    Another reason walking your dog, especially on different, varied routes, is that it helps keep Canine Cognitive Disorder from setting in.

  18. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come back from a spring walk only to say, “Where were all those people walking their dogs when it was 20 below out?”

    Where I walk I actually like the fact that there are less people out in the winter. It’s a convenient place because of where we live, but it’s also convenient for everyone else who doesn’t leash their dogs. Well you asked! :-)

    Probably my favorite part about walking in the winter is that there are no bugs. There I said it! I can’t stand bugs…

  19. walkies are the best! Love the idea of snooping on the neighbours when we’re out, will try that next time lol

  20. I love this list! The spy on neighbors made me laugh… I feel like I know the “goings on” around the neighborhood since I do most of the dog walking. My favorite reason, though, is just to get fresh air. I get tired of being in a stuffy house all day. I love smelling the seasons as we walk about.

  21. Besides all else the primary reason to walk my dog is that he doesn’t pee and poop in the house,

  22. Excellent post! I love your reasons. Reducing the amount of poop to pick up for so many dogs is a big motivator for me. It help me relax and destress. It’s nice to get out of the house. And I look forward to the peacefulness of it while I listen to my podcasts.

  23. I can’t imagine not walking my dog in the winter. The only time walks are significantly shortened are when it is lashing it down outside and that because the dogs hate it. I am a bit of a freak and actually really love walking in the rain!

Trackbacks

  1. […] getting your mutt and your butt out of the house in January, pop over to Pamela’s post at Something Wagging This Way Comes today for some great ideas and motivation to keep you and your dog in motion. And here I was […]