Dog walking is essential for both the physical and mental health of your dog. While playing around the house and in the yard is important, this does not provide enough exercise for most breeds.
Daily Dog Walking
Almost every breed of dog requires 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise every single day. The best way to meet this need? A brisk walk or jog. At the end of the walk, your dog should be calm and have less energy than when you started. Some active breeds of dogs will require several exercise sessions per day.
Dog walking is also a fantastic opportunity for socialization. Try to stick to the same route and go for your walks at roughly the same time each day. That way, you’ll hopefully begin to cross paths with other people and pets on a regular basis.
Interestingly enough, Cesar Milan suggests that the focus of dog walking should not be to give dogs an opportunity to go to the bathroom. In his opinion, elimination should happen in your yard before you leave for the walk. Read his article Behaviours to Avoid During the Walk.
How to Know How Often to Walk Your Dog
Breed, temperament, living conditions, and age all play a role in how often your dog will need to be walked. If you have an active dog who spends most of his day running freely on a large property, he may get enough of an energy release that he only needs an evening walk. On the other hand, if the same dog was in small suburban home, he would likely need 3-4 walks during the day to meet his exercise needs. Remember, as mentioned above, the vast majority of dogs (big and small, young and old) need a minimum of one long walk per day.
We recommend talking to your vet for specific recommendations for your individual dog’s exercise needs. When dogs are given ample opportunities for exercise, particularly through regular dog walking, they are less destructive and aggressive, bark less, and are generally much happier creatures!