Welcome back my doggists!
This week we will see the importance of walking your dogs and I hope you self-analise if you truly enjoy walking with your dog; or it’s just a daily must.
I want to start the reflection with a simple calculation. We say that the average is 3 daily walks x 365 days having a year x 12 average years of dog = 13.104 walks in your dog’s life. Now comes the question: would you like to give your dog 13.104 positive or negative experiences?
There are many opportunities to make your dog happy but also to make his life miserable. As is the case with dogs that during each walk have to endure twenty pulls on the neck or that are dragged and not allowed to smell anything, not to mention having to feel spikes, suffocation, an electric shock or a nasty spray of citronella in the face during the entire walk. Also notice the typical owner in a hurry who walks their dog just enough to ensure compliance with the minutes that they have decided to go out; they walk at a pace so fast that the dog, instead of actually walking, is obligated on trot to keep up without time at all to put his nose to the ground. The worst, and what saddens me the most, are smaller size dogs that already have to move at a gallop to keep pace with the owner who wants to finish the walk around the block as soon as possible.
Did you ever think about it? We realize nothing. We want to go from one place to another, and if we can we also find the opportunity to exercise. But dogs just want to walk smelling everything, stopping and sniffing, and that irritates us.
“We are in a hurry to get to the Park, so come!”; “What you smell is not interesting, so I pull and drag you!”; “Do not stand anywhere, keep moving!”
Well here is the breaking news of the day: Dogs prefer to walk 15 min and be able to sniff everything they want rather than going for 30 min at the speed and on the route you planned. Even if you don’t get to achieve your desired goal in minutes or meters, It will also be a better and more relaxing walk.
It is not healthy to go jogging or by bike half an hour with your dog. Those who want to do sports, leave the dog at home. First because it is not good for your dog’s health, dog’s bodies are not designed to run for prolonged periods. If you look at their natural behavior they make a couple of runs and pause. Secondly, although you may think it’s the way to exhaust your dog, you’re increasing his levels of stress1. This can also cause injuries to your dog’s back, joints and muscles2.
Your dog follows you running because he doesn’t want to lose track of you if he is off leash, and if you run with him on leash he would have stopped much earlier than you think when given the chance. There are other ways of “tiring” a dog that are much healthier: everything that involves nose work3, for instance. So, please, be a little considered with your canine companion.
We need to change expectations. Our reasons for going out are not the same as the dog’s, we have already seen it. On the other hand, we have to stop making excuses. One of the most common problems is that the dog pulls, but there is a solution and we can do it right. It is unnecessary to cause pain or discomfort, even less so we can walk more comfortably at the cost of your dog’s health and well-being. We must teach the dog not to pull4, it’s not their nature walking next to you at the same pace as others, he has to learn that. There are tools that help the dog to pull less.
I will dedicate a post to this but for now, so that you can take the step, I recommend harness for all dogs. If your dog pulls I recommend the brands Sense-ation and Easywalk, both are for sale online. In no case use prong collars, shock collars or citronella collars. Besides these are already banned in several cities, they are very undesirable for many health and behavior problems that come to cause. I leave you these 2 leaflets (very recommendable) to download:
For the skeptical ones I invite you to try on the collar yourselves or to put your hand gripping the throat a bit to see if it’s hard for you to swallow or breathing now. It is not a joke, I’ve done it myself. It is uncomfortable, unethical and you should question it even if recommended by a vet, dog trainer or other professionals. No dog has to wear this. Period.
Another thing to comment are dog parks. To be able to walk your dog off leash so he can play is fantastic if you know how to prevent problems and it’s done responsibly; for that you have to choose well the locations where you are going with your buddy, as well as reading his body language and being constantly supervised.
Remember that dogs don’t have to get along with all dogs that greet, as it can happen to us.
I confess that I’m not a fan of dog parks, at least in the city, but you must keep in mind that the best candidates for it are young and adolescent dogs who enjoy playing and socializing with other dogs. However, for other dogs it can be very stressful. As they mature dogs may be more selective with their canine pals, and we must be aware and understand it.
We have to make sure not to put our dogs in situations that are uncomfortable. It is our responsibility to identify these moments. It is time to become aware of how we walk our dogs and to make sure that every walk is a good experience, since it is an important part of their lives.
Pay attention to your dog during the walk, sure you can find more than the leash to connect with him! 😉
I hope you liked my post and you may help me to influence people so that all dogs can have good walks. 🙂 So share, comment and all that!
See you soon,
Stress, Anxiety and Aggression in Dogs Paperback –by Anders Hallgren
(2) Back problems in dogs: underlying causes for behavioral problems Hardcover – by Anders Hallgren
FROM TONGUE TO TAIL – THE INTEGRATED MOVEMENT OF THE DOG DVD by Julia Robertson
(3) Nose Work – Search Games DVD by Anne Lil Kvam and Turid Rugaas
(4) ¿Cómo enseñar a tu perro a no tirar de la correa? http://sentitcani.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/loose-leash-6tips.jpeg https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fs-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F12%2Ffc%2F1f%2F12fc1fc8671ebd1188723eabe3d58e7d.jpg&f=1