When your plugged-in, constantly-on-the-go lifestyle has you on the fritz, it feels impossible to take your dog out for a leisurely stroll. According to a recent study, 33 percent of pet parents rarely walk their pups.
Only half pound the pavement with them each day. While it’s not always possible to walk your dog for hours at a time, you should be taking a long walk at least a few times a week.
#1: Improve Health & Manage Weight
Mentally, getting outdoors and having a routine, as well as the release of endorphins from light exercise, reduces anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. If yours is one of them, he’s at risk for bladder cancer, skin infections, heart disease, and diabetes. The Department of Family & Consumer Studies has found dog owners walk at least four hours per week while non-pet owners squeak in an hour.
#2: Train Your Dog
Has your dog downed a whole frozen turkey or started plowing your flower bed? If so, he’s getting rid of pent-up energy. Walks are the perfect opportunity to curb his bad behavior while practicing obedience commands. “It is one thing for him to be able to ‘sit’ in the middle of your living room but a whole different story in a busy park,” says Steffi Trott, founder of SpiritDog Training. “By taking your training on the road, you’re able to proof commands and teach your dog that anywhere, anytime, can be training time.”