Thinking About Skipping Your Dog’s Walk? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

Came across this Washington Post article today on

Why skipping your dog’s walk is a bigger deal than you think

Australian Shepherd

While I usually do get my dogs out for walks daily, this was a great reinforcer to keep that up. I do it as much for myself as I do for them. I need my fresh air!

But a friend recently asked why I didn’t just let them hang out in the backyard since we have a big fenced yard. In truly dreadful weather, I appreciate that I can just open the door and let them out without worry to do their business.

But the article makes the point that, for dogs, only hanging out in their backyard “is like reading the same book again and again.” As Stephanie Borns-Weil, an assistant clinical professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says, “Dogs don’t exercise by themselves, for the most part. They’re just going to sit there because the space is familiar.”

So, backyards shouldn’t be counted on for substitute exercise. (Unless you have more than one dog, and they like playing together like mine do.) And all dogs need some exercise every day. Not just for physical health but also for mental stimulation.

That’s where the sniffing part of walking comes in. I wrote about the importance of letting our dogs read the doggy gazette here. The other benefit to your dog is the one-on-one time they get to spend with you.

I agree with the article’s summary wholeheartedly:

“Studies have shown what many dog lovers likely already know — that canine companionship and dog walking can reduce stress, benefit health, lower medical costs and decrease depression and anxiety. It’s a gift we can give each other. Fenced-in yard be damned.”

Read the full article here»

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