The Dog Walk, a Dog’s Perspective
The dog walk, a daily activity that all dog owners engage in. But have you ever thought how enjoyable the walk is from your dog’s point of view? Many dog owners get to a point where walking the dog becomes more of a chore rather than an activity to enjoy. In many cases the reason for just walking the dog round the block boils down to time. We are living in an age where time is money and everything is done on the go. People always compress more and more things to do in a given day but the time allowance of a day remains the same. Therefore some things will have to make way for other “more important” things to do. Sadly, in many cases it is the dog that gets less attention.
The Dog Walk – Back to basics!!
The question that we need to answer is: Why do we take our dogs out for a walk? What is the purpose of walking your dog?
The walk aims to satisfy the basic needs of the mind and body.
For a healthy and balanced dog both the mind and the body need to be stimulated and nurtured properly. There is a physical aspect as well as a mental aspect to a properly satisfied dog.
Let us discuss them separately starting from the easier aspect, the body. Dogs are animals with a different anatomy from us and their physical requirements are different from ours as a species. A very important ingredient for a successful dog walk is adequate exercise.
By adequate exercise we mean an amount of exercise that is adequate to the energy level of the dog. This depends on a variety of factors, such as: breed, age, weather, type of exercise, etc. We will not go into the very fine details or else this post will go on for ever but feel free to contact us if you need a more in depth explanation of this aspect of things. (We will try to add a more detailed post about this). The amount of exercise given has to be enough to leave the dog tired but not too exhausted. At Pet Sitting Malta we have a saying:
A tired dog is a good dog.
Stimulating the mind is the part of the walk that many owners get wrong. This aspect requires more effort and understanding from the side of the owner. How many times have you seen someone walking the dog while scrolling through his phone? Next time stop and observe. You will see that the dog and owner are completely disconnected and in two different worlds despite them being connected by the leash. There is no connection and no bond between them. In the world of dogs where there is no bond there is no leadership.
In order to satisfy the mental needs, there must be interaction. Interaction comes in many ways and although it is a very long topic to discuss here, we will mention a few key points and add a more detailed post later on.
Interaction with the owner
Reward based games are a very good way to bond with your dog. Such activities where the dog does something and gets rewarded offer a potential for communication between the dog and the owner which in turn translates to the dog being mentally happier. A simple occasional “sit” followed by a treat can greatly affect the spirit of a dog. Other games such as fetch, even if the dog just runs and never returns the object, are a great way to stimulate the mind.
Interaction with the environment
Dogs do not interact only with their owner but they are constantly interacting with their environment. In order to grow healthier and more confident, dogs need to be exposed to different environmental stimuli. To satisfy this need we must expose our dogs to experiences such as rain, cold, grass fields, heat, different smells that other animals and dogs leave behind, swimming, mud patches etc. A walk cannot be satisfying to a dog if he does not get dirty. In fact our second saying at Pet Sitting Malta is:
A dirty dog is a happy dog.
In order to have a healthy and mentally balanced dog, the walk must be as interactive as possible. Avoid the boring walks round the block and whenever possible take your dog to the countryside. Take some treats and a tennis ball and play / communicate with your dog. Let the dog get as dirty as he or she pleases and remember that:
A tired dog is a good dog and a dirty dog is a happy dog
We hope that you found this post informative. We would like to hear your response either in the comments section below or by contacting us directly. If there are any topics that you wish to be discussed, please let us know and we will do our best to address them.