Our life is in chaos. But our dog Honey always gets walked.
Does she need a walk every day? And what will happen when we’re living on a boat?
And do you need to walk your dog every day?
A certain celebrity dog trainer claims you need to walk your dog every day to exercise him.
Maybe some dogs get their exercise from walking. But Honey’s stamina is much greater than mine.
My feet would be bloody stumps before she showed any signs of tiring on the kind of forced march Mr. Television Dog Trainer promotes.
So if a large athletic dog doesn’t get tired from walking, why do it?
- bonding while you and your dog are doing something together
- enjoying being outdoors
- and my favorite, mentally stimulating your dog.
The walks that tire Honey out aren’t the long, fast ones. They’re the walks where she stops to sniff every four steps.
Scientists say that scents connect humans to memory.
I suspect smells connect dogs to a much more active part of their brain. A part that gets worn out from sniffing. And thinking.
So I’m definitely pro walk.
But I’m even more pro dog. And I’m not sure that all dogs benefits from a walk EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Take The Walk Your Dog Quiz
Give yourself 3 points for every A answer, 2 points for every B answer, and 1 point for every C answer.
1. If you miss a regular walk with your dog, how does he or she act?
A. Weird. Bouncing off the walls or whining or getting in trouble.
B. Maybe a little off. But I can’t be sure.
C. The same as always.
2. What does your dog do when you take out his leash?
A. Starts spinning, barking, or showing other signs of excitement.
B. Looks up with interest.
C. Needs to be coaxed to get up so you can put on his leash.
3. If the weather isn’t ideal, does your dog still want to go for a walk?
B. She’s willing to miss a walk if it’s raining or too hot.
C. Heck, my dog doesn’t even like walking on a warm, sunny day with butterflies marking our path.
4. Does your dog enjoy another physical activity even more than walking?
A. Well, her favorite thing is to walk to another fun activity like agility classes, swimming, or rock climbing.
B. Sure, my dog loves playing fetch in the yard or tugging with her favorite toy.
C. My dog is part potato. But luckily he finds a way to burn off calories when I’m not looking so he stays fit and trim.
5. If you can’t take your dog for a walk, do you fill in with other mentally and physically stimulating activities during the day?
A. Yep, whether we go for a walk or not, I’m always doing training or games with my dog. Otherwise, she would go nuts.
B. I feel so guilty for missing a walk that I make a point of doing something extra to make up for it.
C. Does cuddling on the couch while watching Jeopardy count?
6. Is your dog frightened of things she sees outside on a walk? People, other dogs, loud noises?
A. Not a thing.
B. My dog is a little timid. But we work around it by planning our route and time of day to walk.
C. My dog starts to shake when I open the door for a walk.
7. Is sniffing very important to your dog?
A. Are you asking me if my beagle/coonhound/bloodhound mix likes to sniff? Heck, yeah.
B. My dog loves to check her p-mail. But she’s not obsessive about it.
C. I could put a liver treat under my dog’s bed and he’d never notice it was there.
8. Does your dog get something extra from walking that he doesn’t get from other activities?
A. My dog sure loves meeting other people or chasing squirrels when we walk.
B. My dog likes spending one-on-one time with me. But we can also do that at home.
C. You mean besides sore paws?
9. Do you think your dog needs a walk every day?
A. Well, duh. My dog definitely does need a walk every day. I don’t even know why I’m taking this quiz.
B. I’m not sure. That’s why I’m taking this quiz.
C. Well, duh. My dog definitely doesn’t need a walk every day. I don’t even know why I’m taking this quiz.
How did you do?
If you scored 27 out of 27 points, take your dog for a walk now! She’s probably wondering why you’re taking this silly quiz when you could be out for a walk already.
If you scored 18-26 points, your dog certainly benefits from daily walks. You probably want to do everything you can to make it a regular part of your dog’s day.
If you scored 9-17 points, you can probably skip a walk occasionally as long as you fill in with other stimulating activities.
If you scored less than 9 points, your dog is probably hoping you’ll lose the leash. But walking is still good for socialization, exercise, and training. And you’ll definitely want to find other ways to work your dog’s mind and body.
Doing Things With Your Dog
Okay, my little quiz probably didn’t tell you anything you didn’t know already.
But maybe it gets you thinking differently about how you spend time with your dog. If walks are getting dull, there are plenty of other things to do together:
- Playing games like fetch or tug
- Training for competitions like agility, lure coursing, or fly ball
- Trick training
- and so much more.
Walks are wonderful. But walks aren’t sacred.
The idea is to get exercise, mental stimulation, and special time together. And there are more ways than just walking to do that.