Family Walking Dog Through Winter WoodlandMany dog owners may chuckle to learn that there is actually a National Walk Your Dog Month (we mean, aren’t they all); but seeing as January has this special designation, we’d like to take the opportunity to focus on what makes dog walking fun for everyone.

We all know our pets could probably use more exercise, yet for some reason many of us seem to let this simple task fall to the wayside. Walking your dog has so many benefits besides just exercise; bonding, stress relief, training opportunities, social opportunities, longevity, mental stimulation, and of course, releasing that pent up energy that can lead to misbehavior! With so much at play, don’t let this opportunity pass you and your pet by…

Benefits of Dog Walking

  • Bonding – Time spent on the leash will help enforce the pack relationship between you and your dog. If your pet has issues, such as pulling on the leash, or barking at anything that moves, this is a perfect time to focus on his or her basic social skills. If this has been an ongoing problem it may be a good idea to try a new harness, leader, or leash to find what is most comfortable for both of you. Find the combination that lets you be firmly in control.
  • Training – Walking is a perfect opportunity to work on many skills beyond the leash training. Once the two of you have mastered the basics you can work on dealing with the variety of things that crop up an a walk. New people, other dogs, sidewalk food… there is always a new challenge to overcome!
  • Spending Energy – A tired dog is a well behaved dog! This is true on a both mental and physical level. Keeping your pet well-exercised and engaged will keep him or her from causing trouble at home, when they are prone to get bored or restless.

A Note About Flexi-Leads

Since we’re on the subject, let’s address the Flexi-Lead. We see them everywhere and they seem like such a good idea; but the truth is they’re very dangerous for pets and owners alike.

Consumer Reports posted an article in 2009 covering the dangers of Flexi-leads to humans, which include friction burns, lacerations, and amputations. Unfortunately, the same injuries happen to dogs on Flexi-leads, too; as is getting tangled in the lead or injuring the neck when he or she reaches the end of the lead unexpectedly. With just the handle to hold onto the leads are frequently dropped or jerked out of the walker’s hand when a dog bolts.

Please use a static leash under 6 feet long for your daily walks.

It’s no secret that we can improve all of our family’s health by getting out and walking with our pets, no matter how busy schedules are. This month (and every month), let’s make the effort to focus on not just talking the talk, but actually walking the walk with our pets.