I am proud to say that I upheld my New Years Resolution for my dogs for 2012. I vowed to walk my dogs for an additional hour every day, and found that time by waking up an hour earlier. I am still doing that, and have been converted to a full-believer in a minimum walk length of 75 minutes being necessary for dog’s mental health and well being.
The benefits have been huge. My old dogs (10 – 12 years old) have stronger cores and backs than many of my client’s young dogs. My two youngsters are solid, with bodies that are firm to touch. The most interesting difference in increasing from one hour of walking a day, to two, has changed my dogs mentally. My youngsters and one older cranky terrier who were very ‘mentally busy’ have found a place of mental calmness. They simply seem happier, and more content, as do I.
Now that I see the benefits, for both my dogs and myself, I am looking at alternate ways to exercise us all, and am trying to decide how I can improve upon what I have now. I am having great fun running them on my bike. My adrenalin dare-devil side has me looking into Scooterjoring. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0csd3XMJBw I have also had great fun swimming them in the summer-time.
Nothing can beat the benefit of hiking through the forest, or through our glorious beaches. Watching my dogs run, leap over logs, explore, use their noses to trail, hunt to find the most perfect stick and carry it proudly, and playing in puddles gives me such pleasure. The double benefit is watching them nap at my feet when we get back home. Having the freedom to ‘be dogs’ leaves them tired, and mentally balanced. I can always see when I have skipped a couple of days of walking.
Your walking location is important. I believe that dogs need to be able to be free (providing your training is good enough) in a place where they can explore. That means the area you choose has to be large enough and remote enough that they can be free without being under contant command from you. The faster moving they are – the larger your area needs to be!
Dogs have an inherent need to explore, and without it, they will not be mentally happy. If you walk the same spot every day – it becomes dull and boring. Just like us, they respond well to change. Try and find several different places to walk, or even different routes within your walks. Sometimes simply doing your walk in reverse can make it all very exciting again.
I can tell how much my dogs are enjoying their walk by their speed of movement. If they are all sticking close with me – they are bored and not exploring. If they are zipping back and forth across the trail – they are having fun and doing what I want them to do.
Have fun coming up with your New Years Resolutions for you and your dog for 2013. Make sure that they are both achievable for the whole year! Continue to exercise your dog. Remember – the harder they are to walk – the more walking they need.
Happy Walking Everyone,
The Naughty Dogge is a dog training school located in Victoria, BC. We truly are dog-trainers and competitors, bringing out the best in any dog, regardless of breed and issues. That means we teach competitive agility, Competition Obedience, Retrain Dog Aggressive Dogs, Teach Puppy Classes and Pet Dogs to be perfect citizens, and work with behaviour problems. There is probably not an issue that we haven’t retrained! This newsletter is copyright to Monique Anstee, December 2012 and may be reprinted with full credit given to Monique Anstee at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact us at 250.590.2664