Because of the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, most of us are at home and staying safe with social distancing. In this environment, the go-to activity to get out of the house is walking the dog.
Walking outside is great exercise for humans and dogs alike. Being outside not only helps us physically but mentally, too. There is scientific proof being outside with our dogs improves our mood and outlook on life (which we all can use these days). It gives us and our dogs better physical health and it boosts our immune systems. With all these reasons to get outside, we are sharing ideas and tips for a better dog walking experience for you and your dog.
Dog Walking Fundamentals
Here are simple answers to the questions you might have about walking your dog more.
Q. How long should you walk your dog?
A. Walking just 30 minutes a day with your dog is beneficial for good health. Advanced walkers can take their dogs for an hour or more. By walking an hour a day, most people can reach the daily step goal of 10,000 steps per day.
Q. How often should you walk your dog?
A. Ultimately, it depends on your dog. Most dogs can take 30 minutes to one hour of walking every day. More active dog breeds need several outings. Some people walk their dog in the morning before breakfast and at night, after dinner.
Q. Is your dog walking more than you are, since a dog has twice the legs?
A. Your dog's leash size will determine how far your dog is walking. If your dog is on a short leash, they are walking the same distance as you are. However, if they are off leash or with a longer leash, they might be taking extra steps adding up to a half mile more than you are.
Q. Why do dogs pull while we walk?
A. Humans with their two legs will always walk too slow for dogs trying to get to the next scent ahead. It is recommended by the AKC to work with your dog through training and not let them pull you and walk ahead, but walk by your side. If your dog starts to pull too much, stop the walk and wait until they calm down or take steps backwards. This is doing the opposite of what they want to do. Eventually with training, they will learn pulling does not help them get there faster. The AKC has a video with instructions on how to prevent your dog from pulling.
Q. Do dogs prefer walking in neighborhoods or trails?
A. It's always easiest to start in your own neighborhood. But just as humans can get bored with the same walk every day, so can dogs. Shake it up by going different directions and trying different park locations.
Q. Should you pick up doggie doo when you are walking?
A. Absolutely! Picking up dog poop is being a good neighbor and it's also food health. Leaving your dog's poop behind can also leave harmful organisms like E. coli, hookworms and other nasty things that should not be spread to other humans or dogs alike. We recently wrote a blog post on why you should scoop the poop.
Q. Should you reward your dog before, during or after the walk?
A. Treats are recommended to help in training during the dog walk as a reward. If your dog is already a good leash walker, give them their treats at the end of their walk.
Q. What if my dog does not want to go on a walk?
A. With all this extra activity, your dog needs to stay healthy and ready to go. If your dog is not interested in walking, it may be they have a joint problem. One of the top dog health problems is arthritis in dogs. As joints age, they get stiff and sore, especially with extra activity. Protect your dog's joints with a supplement to keep their joints healthy.
Q. What sort of joint supplement do you recommend to protect dog's joints?
A. The best way to make sure you are protecting your fur-baby’s joints and ensuring maximum play time is to make sure you are providing vital nutrients found in a joint supplement. Supplements like Glyde™ Mobility Chews provide your dog with essential, natural ingredients to promote joint health. Glyde is the only joint supplement with three proven key ingredients to relieve the painful signs of arthritis: glucosamine, chondroitin and, of course, the power of New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (GLM). GLM is what makes us different as it is an all-natural ant-inflammatory, helps improve joint function and is one of nature’s best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Q. Is there a way to track the amount of walking and exercise my dog gets?
If you are trying to determine how much exercise your dog is getting, a tracking system is a great tool. When it comes to being more fit or exercising, most of us might track our progress to see how we are doing. A great way to track your dog’s progress and overall fitness health is with an activity tracker. If you are interested in trying a dog tracker, check out the new bundle with Glyde Mobility Chews, the Glyde + FitBark Bundle!
There are many trackers available on the market that can be used with our four-legged friends. The FitBark Dog Activity Monitor is a leading product being used in many countries to do exactly that. FitBark attaches to your dog’s collar and tracks a ton of vital health information such as activity minutes, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep quality and overall health and behavior. It even links to your Fitbit, Apple Healthkit, Google Fit device, or a compatible iOS or Android mobile device so you can track you dog’s fitness goals right alongside your own and chart progress side by side.
Q. How many times a day should I walk my dog?
A. If you and your dog live in a space without a place for them to go out and relieve themselves, it is recommended you walk your dog in the morning, afternoon and evening. However, if your dog has access to a yard and can go out when they need, a good walk in the morning and evening is optimum.
Q. What other things can we do with our dogs outside?
A. Off leash parks are a great place to get your dog running with other dogs. Be sure to keep your dog safe when interacting with other dogs. Many of us have heard bad tales happening at off leash parks. Other ideas include playing fetch with a good stick or Frisbee. We wrote a blog about good off leash park behavior.
Hopefully these tips help you get outside more confidently with your dog and keep you both more active!