“Do you wanna go for a walk?”
In my house, these few simple words are immediately followed up with chaos. My relaxed pups quickly jump up on all fours, let out a few barks, spin around in circles, and then run over to our harness/leash basket as their tails wag a mile a minute. Sound familiar?
As natural athletes and curious creatures who enjoy exploring the world around them, dogs love going for walks! Not only does the physical exercise benefit their overall health (weight, muscles, joints, heart, lungs, etc.), but walks can also provide necessary mental stimulation.
As you lace up your sneakers and reach for your pup’s leash, it’s good to set out with a purpose. Below, I share the four different types of walks all dogs need.
For a lot of people, when they ask their dog if they want to go outside, they’re really asking, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” Potty walks are typically short and to the point — a quick walk down the block and as soon as Fido does his business then it’s back inside. There’s very little sniffing, exploring, and socializing. You’re out on a mission.
Mentally Stimulating Walks
These are your slower paced walks where your dog is given a bit more freedom and isn’t constantly held in the heel position. It’s your dog’s time to stop, sniff, check the pee-mail, and just BE A DOG! Dogs learn a lot through smell and having the time to sniff the grass, nearby bushes, and poles is mentally enriching for them. These are perhaps the most satisfying walks for your dog and, unfortunately, a type of outing that many pet parents overlook.
Whether or not your pup is packing on a few extra pounds, exercise is essential. By carving out just 15-20 minutes to powerwalk with your pup, you’ll elevate his heart rate, fire up his muscles, and do a lot of good for his body (and yours)!
No matter how old your dog is, you should never stop training him. Training walks are your time to work on leash manners, obedience skills, and socialization. It’s a great way to bust boredom, keep their minds sharp, and strengthen your bond!
Before Dog Walks
Before you head out for a walk, it’s important to have the right equipment. First, your dog needs a collar or harness. For walks, I personally prefer hooking the leash up to a harness to avoid tension on the neck. Plus, during the training phase, I also liked to use a front-clip harness. It makes it harder for your dog to pull because, if he does, he’ll be forced to turn around. Check out my complete guide to dog harnesses here!
Next, you’ll need to get your pooch comfortable walking on a leash. If you’re still in the training phase and need some loose leash walking tips, check out my guide HERE!