Just like people, dogs need exercise to thrive. Daily walks are the best way to make sure that your furry friend stays fit and healthy. They’re also great for socialisation (for you and the dog) and burning off any excess energy.
As anyone who’s lived with dogs will tell you, a tired dog is a happy dog. Regular walks will make your dog that bit more easy-going and relaxed- and that makes your life easier. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog and getting a bit of exercise yourself.
As well as the physical exercise that a walk provides, all the sights, sounds and smells are great mental exercise for your dog too. Let them sniff and explore- it all contributes to having a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog.
With Doha’s first free to use off-lead dog park opening in the very near future, we thought we’d reiterate just how important a proper exercise regimen is and just how much fun walkies can be for you and your four-legged friend.
How much exercise does a dog need?
How long is a piece of string?
Different breeds need varying amounts of time exercising. Larger working breeds might need upwards of two hours a day to keep them in top condition (and minimise destructive behaviours) where as a smaller toy dog might only need a short walk.
The age of your dog is also an important factor in deciding how long your walk should be. Until they’re somewhere between 6 months and a year old, the growth plates in their joints can be damaged by too much exercise. A good rule of thumb is 5 minutes walking for each month of age until they’re at least 6 month old.
What to do on your walk
Spend time with your best friend! Put the phone away and just enjoy your time. Bring a ball or a Frisbee, head to somewhere it’s safe to let them off the lead and play fetch- there’s loads you can do on a walk.
Walks make a great chance to practice your training. You can work on walking to heel, recall, socialisation and lots of other things which make your life that little bit easier. Remember to bring treats and reward your dog every time it does what you want.
On or Off Lead?
It’s always best to keep your dog on the lead when you’re somewhere there’s a chance they could get distracted and hurt. It doesn’t matter how closely they usually stick to you, that one time that they decide they want to chase something could lead to disaster.
It’s also good to get them used to being off lead when it’s suitable. If you’re in an enclosed area or far away from anything dangerous, let them off to run about and explore (the dog park is a great place for this). Not only does this let them go at their own pace, it gives you a chance to reinforce the recall command so you can be confident that they’ll come back when you call.
Where are your favourite places to explore with your canine companion? Are you as excited as we are to meet all the others at the new park when it opens?
Let us know in the comments!