We usually save resolutions for the New Year but this October, why not re-commit to walking your dog? The weather is just starting to cool down here in Florida. Cooler mornings can provide a fresh start to your day and everyone benefits from getting outside. Walking regularly promotes heart and muscle health in both you and your dog. Joint stiffness is less common in people and pets that walk frequently.
Believe it or not, a regular walk routine can even help your dog’s urinary health. Getting their body on a regular elimination schedule can help keep the bladder empty and prevent infections. Mental health also benefits. Fresh scents in the outdoors help keep a dog’s brain engaged and entertained. If you haven’t heard it before, a tired dog is a happy dog. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviors like chewing or undesirable traits like excessive barking.
Here are some tips for walking your dog
– Start slow. Just 15 minutes can be a great first foray into walking.
– Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with current rabies and id tags.
– Attach a dog waste bag dispenser to your pet’s leash so you are never without bags.
– Pay attention to heat, rain, and other environmental factors that could affect your walk.
Want to do even more?
– Try to go to one new place every week to mentally stimulate your dog (and yourself)
– Practice simple things during your walk randomly such as sit, down, watch me, leave it, and any other cues your dogs know. Doing this is a very easy way to add training into your every day making your dog even more likely to listen to you in a variety of situations
– Once a month try to take your pup on a walk on the beach here in sunny Florida. Dogs love the sand and everyone loves the beach! Not sure if your beach is dog friendly? Sites such as bringfido.com can help you pinpoint dog-friendly places.
If walking isn’t your thing or disability prevents you from walking long distances, consider using a pet-friendly service to help get your pet out. Rover.com is a great resource for personal dog walkers that are very affordable. You can also consider a doggy daycare or taking your dog to a friend’s house for a play date.
So grab a leash and get outside this October – for both you and your dog!
About the Author: Paige White, CPDT-KA, is the Manager of Behavior at SPCA Tampa Bay. She brings with her years of experience helping people interpret dog body language so that owners and pets can live their best lives together. When she’s not working with shelter dogs, she’s being trained by her own three dogs – Weezy, Eddie and Rocky.