A recent survey (among ± 4000 dogowners) in the USA showed that one in four dog owners are too lazy to give their dogs a daily walk.
Many well meaning dogowners think they’re doing right by their dogs.. after all, their dog has a nice kennel, it gets fed and it has a huge backyard to play in. Surely not walking them is not cruelty?
Well I have to disagree. I really think that a fundamental responsibility of dog ownership is walking your dog. Dogs need walks for both exercise and mental stimulation. Unfortunately it has become a trend among some dogowners to leave their dog out in the garden to do it’s business and the owners figure that therefor they no longer have to walk their dog…Wrong! You can have acres of land but your dog will still need to be walked daily.
When dogs are not getting the exercise and stimulation that they need, it can cause behavioural problems and it can reduce both the length and quality of their life. Despite the advice from vets and animal welfare experts around the world, millions of dogs are denied this basic dogneed.
Dogs are intelligent animals. They need to have environmental stimulation. They need to explore, be out in the fresh air, getting exercise. They need to see other dogs on their walks and meet random people. They need to sniff new trees, practice their obedience, and tire themselves out. All these things are stimulating and exciting for them. No matter how exciting you make your home environment, it will never replace the exercise or exitement provided by a good walk.
A lot of people will think the English Bulldog is a lazy dog that doesnt need much excersize. This ‘thinking’ results in that a lot of lazy dogowners choose the bulldogbreed, thinking it will be less effort and they can have to pleasure of owning a dog without too much effort. Wrong again!
The Bulldog might not be build for endurance or speed but a Bulldog, just like any dog, needs their daily excercise and mental stimulation. Bulldog are short and chubby in build but they are not fat or lazy by nature!
photo by Shun Zi
I think the dogwalk is really undervalued even by well meaning, loving and experienced dogowners. From the Bulldogs that come into our Rescue with behavioural problems, I estimate that about 60 to 70% of those problems is solved just by meeting there basic need of excersize and stimulation. Let me repeat that, 60 to 70% of the dogbehavioural problems of the dogs that come into our rescue are solved just by walking them daily and giving them plenty of excersize and stimulation. So before you complain that your dog is naughty or disobedient, ask yourself how many times did you walk your dog today?
Walking every day will help your dog to be balanced, healthy and happy for a lifetime and I haven’t even begun to discuss the benefits to you; bonding with your dog, losing weight, and relieving stress are just some of those benefits.
photo by Kirsten McLean