Taking your dog for a walk is one of the simplest activities that you and your dog can enjoy together. While your dog is just having fun sniffing out their new surroundings, you can know that you are doing the best thing possible for keeping up their health. Whether you venture out onto a wilderness trail or just explore a path through your neighborhood, your dog will receive these amazing benefits that encourage better health and behavior.
Reinforce Training Strategies
Proper puppy training is essential for young dogs, especially when you have a high-energy dog such as a Golden Retriever. Once your dog has graduated from the basic levels of training, taking them out in public is the perfect way to help them learn to follow commands when they are surrounded by distractions. For example, learning to walk on a leash without pulling takes on a new level of challenge once your dog catches an interesting scent on their path. Remember to use the same reinforcement strategies on your walks that your dog was taught in training, and always provide praise for good behavior so that your first walks are always a positive experience.
Curtail Challenging Puppy Behaviors
Boredom is often the cause of many common behavior issues with dogs such as fence jumping and digging. While a backyard is a great place to let them out for a short romp, most dogs need a larger amount of exercise to fully release their energy. Dogs that enjoy long walks every day are less likely to engage in challenging behaviors, and being able to explore a new environment gives them an outlet for their natural curiosity.
Give Them an Opportunity to Socialize
Once your dog has had all of their first vaccinations, they will be ready to make a few friends. Remember that dogs are naturally pack animals, and they still need an opportunity to socialize with other canines. If you only have one dog, ask a friend to bring their pup along for a walk. Alternatively, you could walk to a neighborhood dog park so that your pet can engage in some playful activities. Socializing your dog will reinforce their training for being in public spaces while also meeting their need for play.
Practice Weight Management
Obesity causes many of the same health issues in dogs as it does in humans. Feeding your dog a proper diet that is designed for their breed and age is the best way to keep their weight under control, yet it is also important to provide plenty of exercise to help burn off extra calories. Walking your dog encourages better overall fitness, which helps to keep their weight within proper limits.
Encourage Proper Digestion
The movements generated by walking help to stimulate the digestive system. While you never want to get your dog too hyped up after eating, going out for a walk an hour after feeding can help get their system moving. This is especially effective for easing issues such as constipation that affect your dog’s comfort and health. Just make sure to carry along a disposal bag and give your dog extra time for stops if they need to take a potty break along the way.
Boost Their Mood
Dogs are known for their cheerful demeanor that brings joy to everyone in their family. However, they are also prone to having an occasional down day just like their human companions. Whether your dog is sad about being cooped up after too many rainy days or they are mourning the loss of a companion, getting them outside is the perfect way to lift their spirits. Once they smell the fresh outdoor air and feel the sun on their little nose, your dog will feel refreshed and revived by the excitement of going on a walk.
Promote Cardiovascular Health
A dog’s body is designed to run, leap and play. When a dog does not receive enough exercise, they are vulnerable to cardiovascular illnesses such as strokes in their later years. Spending too much time inside simply does not give them the space they need to get their heart rate up. A brisk walk is ideal for getting their blood pumping so that their whole body can benefit from better heart health.
Enjoy a Deeper Bond
Guiding your dog along on walks establishes you as their leader, which is important for developing trust. Young dogs may lack confidence in outdoor environments at first, yet they quickly begin to gain a sense of trust as you encounter new experiences together. Spending time together on walks shows your dog that they are a valued member of your family, and you will love getting to see your dog show new parts of their personality with every step on your path.
Walking is known as one of the most effective types of exercise for staving off ill health in both humans and dogs, which means that you can both benefit from getting out of the house. So grab some water and a leash, and make walking a regular part of your dog’s daily routine. In fact, don’t be surprised if your dog loves their walks so much that they start bringing you their leash when they are ready for an outdoor adventure.