Is there a general rule for how often should you walk your dog? No, there is not. Each dog is different and each dog requires a different amount of outside time. But there is one thing many owners have in common. And that is how they prepare their dogs for going outside.
Remember, going out is the single biggest reward for most dogs. Yes some dogs are a couch potato and love spending time inside. But even an apartment dog would love to go out and sniff for a while.
So, why not make going out part of your dog training? Today, we will talk about how to make going out a reward for good behavior.
How often should you walk your dog?
We can say generally, you should walk your dog at least three times per day for 15 minutes. But this can vary according to factors like breed, age, size, health condition, and eating habits.
Smaller dog might be fine with just a small walk. But high energy dog breeds need more than one walk per day.
Benefits of walking your dog
Walking your dog is good for your health and your dog health. Why walks matter in the first place? Well, besides your dog’s toilet needs, there are more benefits.
- Walking your dog keeps your dog healthy
- Walking helps with weight control, regular exercise makes your dog bun calories and maintain a healthy weight
- It helps with joint health. Your dog’s joints are similar to ours. Puppies have to keep their joints in motion to stay in good shape
- Walking helps with digestive health and urinary health. When dogs go outside, they poop and pee. Regular walks keep their poop regular
- Walks are also a mental stimulation for your puppy because they use their nose to sniff and get rewarded with smells
- Regular walks improve your health as well, as you lose weight and burn calories
Difference between dog walk and potty break
What is the difference between a dog walk and potty break? Well, essentially a dog walk is longer potty break. When you take your dog only for a short potty break to pee and poop, you are limiting his fun time.
Dogs like walks because it gives them a chance to explore the world. They love to sniff around. A long walk keeps your dog mentally healthy. Without exercise that stimulates their mind, pups can get anxious and destructive. So, take your pup for a walk.
Remember, walking your dog should be fun and entertaining. It is a great bonding opportunity for any dog owner and his pet. And you can incorporate dog training during walks.
The big mistake owners make
Now let’s talk about a mistake owners usually make when they take their puppy out. As we said before, walking your dog is one of the best rewards you can get to your puppy. Yes, some puppies are crazy for attention. But even they love going outside. And if you have an apartment dog, going outside is the best thing in the world.
Now, what is the mistake? You are probably wondering, how can I make a mistake when taking my dog out? Well, what happens when you tell your dog “let’s go out”? Does you puppy get excited and anxious to go out? And then you put on a harness while they are acting silly and happy? You prepare yourself with treats and your dog jumps up and down happy?
You are probably saying that is how my dog should act. Well, wrong. What you do is you prepare your puppy for a failure. Your dog is already full of energy. You go out and he is happy and full of energy before you go out. You have mistakenly awarded his silly behavior with the biggest reward in a dog life.
What should you do instead? Well, we said before that even going out is a dog training opportunity. When you want to take your dog out, have him sit in a calm behavior. Put on his leash, and have your dog focused and paying attention to you before you go out.
Never let your dog walk out of the front door first. This shows your puppy who the leader and who the follower is. You guess it right? Why should your dog listen to you if he is the first one out and choosing the way to go?
If your dog jumps up and down excited before going out, have him in a sit position and then go out.
Going to the dog park
Here is another area of concern for any prospective dog owner. That is the dog park. While it is a great place for hanging out with your puppy, it can also turn into a mess.
If your dog pulls to get into the dog park, he doesn’t listen to you. Your pup already has something more fun and entertaining on his mind. And you do not have control over the situation.
If he pulls, simply go backward. Continue going backward until you get to a proper distance between you and the dog park. Try to get your dog focused on you. And then walk calmly toward the park.
Your dog should enter the park in a calm manner and by your side. Playing with other dogs is reward for good behavior.
Activity needs depending on your dog breed
Every dog belongs to a particular dog breed group. And each of these groups have specific activity needs and limitations. The American Kennel club defines several groups.
For example, the high energy dog breeds group includes Border collie, Dalmatian, Siberian husky, Labrador retriever, Australian shepherd, and Irish Setter. For these high-energy dogs, outdoor activities are great. Think of hiking, running, and more for your canine buddy.
Sheepdogs and cattle dogs need physical and mental stimulation. Any herding dog needs a minimum of 2.5 hours of activity per day. You should try to play as many games as you can with shepherd dogs.
Terrier dog breeds are usually small, lively, and with a strong temper. While they are small, they need quite a lot of exercise. They also need mental activity games to keep their brain stimulated.
What about your companion dog? Well, usually, companion dogs do great with two short walks. Puppies in this group include Chihuahua, Bichon Frise, Maltese, Pomeranian, French Bulldog, and similar.
With most dogs, you can do sports like running, biking, hiking, obedience training, dog tricks, intelligence games, agility training, and more.