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The Benefits of Walking Your Dog

by Dr. Dana Koch published January 19, 2016

The month of January is National Walk Your Dog Month! The weather may be colder outside, but your dog can still benefit from exercise and more quality time with their caring owner. The following are the top reasons to take your favorite canine out for a walk.
1. Energy spender – walking your dog on a regular basis will allow your canine to expend any excess energy he or she may be experiencing. Many dogs with an abundance of energy will often relieve this by resulting to destructive or anxious behavior. Walking will lessen your dog’s desire to chew or ingest pieces of furniture, carpet, toys or other potentially hazardous or inappropriate objects.

2. Training techniques – when an owner takes their dog on consistent walks this helps to develop boundaries. The owner is able to exert a more dominant nature and work together with their canine companion to form a strong working relationship. Additionally, this can help to teach a dog to be more social amongst other humans and animals. You can learn how your dog interacts with other canines and whether you need to discourage negative reactions. A fearful or anxious dog may benefit from exposure to varied environmental elements, such as cars, bicycles, children playing, other dogs barking or sirens.
3. Health benefits – regular exercise for both dogs and human alike contributes to improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. This can help to prevent heart disease, respiratory conditions, weight gain and decreased muscle mass in your dog. An overweight animal is at an increased risk for several health concerns, including arthritis and certain endocrine disease such as Diabetes and Cushing’s disease.

4. Exploration – dogs have a natural desire to explore their environment through sight, sound and smell. A walk helps to provide mental stimulation for your canine as they use their senses to further experience their neighborhood, park or trail.

5. Trust builder – walking your dog can contribute to an improved trust in your relationship. Pets often prefer regiment schedules and are excited when exercise becomes part of their daily routine. Walks will expose your dog to many new objects, sounds, people and animals in the environment. Your canine will learn to feel more comfortable around these elements and trust you, their owner, to guide them on their walking route.
Time to grab your dog’s favorite leash and hit the pavement. Start the year off right with a new and improved exercise routine that benefits both you and your favorite furry friend. Your dog will thank you for all the quality time he or she is able to spend with you!

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