What is a walk? Sure, it's the time to go pee and poo. Yet it can be something so much more for both our best friend…and for us.
- A dog wants to please its Human. It's instinctive. Historically, humans and dogs bonded together during work; they had a working relationship. Work also gives dogs purpose. Today, The Walk is the closest thing dogs have to Work. We can replace the vital human-dog working relationship with its modern counterpart, a Walking Relationship.
- The Walk is a natural opportunity to reinforce the good behaviors you want your dog to have. Training during The Walk deepens your relationship with your dog, something you'll both appreciate outside and inside your house. Fido,Sit! GOOD DOG!
- All of the above make you The Leader. And in a calm and natural way. Replace the word Leader with Alpha. Or Quarterback. Or Captain. Or Commander, or…call it what you will. Alpha is not an idea; it is a way of being. When you Lead this way, you are Actively Alpha. Because dogs are social pack animals, it is comforting to them to have a Leader. It helps them relax. Now your dog is part of the team, your team. Having no Leader causes the opposite - frustration and anxiety. The Walk is a great place to be a Leader.
- The Walk is also a great place to get exercise. For both human beings and dog beings. Tied up in the back yard is not exercise. Nor is having free run of the fenced in yard - where after 5 minutes they go to sit under a tree. Exercise keeps us all fit and healthy. It strengths our muscles, keeps our heart in shape, lets our lungs work better, keeps our limbs lubed…Because we no longer hunt for our food, organized activity is a vital part of a modern dog's life.
- The Walk is an opportunity to socialize. Interaction with others is important, whether it is with other dogs or humans. And even if you don't meet anyone during the walk, just being "out in the world" is vital. Even if it is just a few blocks from home, being able to sniff a different tree is important to our dog's mentality. And because we never know what will happen- squirrels don't usually keep a schedule - the walk is a great opportunity to handle life and the different situations it brings. This builds confidence and morale.
- And what about sniffing? What dog doesn't want to sniff! What a treat! With a snout 400 times as sensitive as ours, sniffing is one of our dog's main pleasures. It is the essence of their life. It is what they are built for. Like your favorite ice cream, diamonds, or the Super Bowl - dead squirrels and stinky worms make a dog's heart soar!
As with humans - Activities, Positive Relationships, Purpose, Education, Exercise, Being On The Team, Socialization…and Sniffing all make for a comfortable and happy dog. Heck, it makes for a comfortable and happy human too. Walk=Love.
WALKING SAVES LIVES
Some good dog owners inadvertently train their dogs to be hard-to-walk.
From there it's a short distance to "unmanageable", and then "bad".
Not walking your dog is the direct opposite of building a good relationship with your dog. The less a dog is walked, the less socialized it becomes, the more unmanageable it becomes. Sitting around at home with no purpose is not much of a life. Many dogs are handed over to the pound because they are "unmanageable". There is no nice way to say this: dogs that are considered unmanageable are euthanized - that is a fancy word for killed.
Walking changes this; it makes "bad" dogs good and good dogs great.