Dog walking – we all know it’s a part of owning a dog. Rain or shine, you’ve got to do it. But many new dog owners wonder ‘how often should I walk my dog?’. The short answer is daily. However, different dog breeds have different needs in terms of exercise.
In this article, I’ll be going over some key points to consider when deciding how much walking you will do with your four-legged friend to keep them happy.
The importance of daily dog walking
Walking your furry friend is an important daily task. Not just for exercise but to also prevent your dog from getting bored, which can result in bad behavioral patterns such as biting, chewing, digging to name a few.
Walking together gives you and your best friend an opportunity to bond over a shared experience. Dog walking can be combined with training and exploring new environments, which will build confidence and curiosity in your dog.
Dogs have an incredibly good sense of smell and sniffing their environment helps them understand their surroundings. Giving them an opportunity to sniff new smells while out and about will allow your dog to follow their natural instinct, which in turn will keep them happy.
Dog walking is also a great opportunity to socialize with other dogs and people. Socializing is key to ensuring your dog will feel confident and happy around other dogs and people instead of feeling timid and shy, which can lead to aggressive behavior.
As a bonus for yourself, daily dog walking with help you reach the recommended daily 10,000 steps. After a nice long walk, you and your four-legged friend will feel nice and tired and ready for some relax time together. You may even allow yourself a cookie or a piece of chocolate for working hard.
Breeds suitable for low to medium levels of exercise
If you know you don’t have the time or the physical ability to take your dog for long daily walks, you might want to consider getting yourself a low-energy dog. These include both large and small breeds and I’ve listed several examples below:
Basset Hound – great family dogs that don’t require long walks. Basset Hounds are happy with mild exercise such as playing in the yard.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – these affectionate dogs are happy with a medium-length daily walk or a play in the yard.
Great Dane – well-known gentle giants that require plenty of space to move around, but don’t require intense exercise.
Greyhound – contrary to the common belief, greyhounds are not high-energy dogs. They love their daily walk, but also love their daily sleep.
Pug – these little dogs are very playful and their exercise needs can be met with a play session in the yard or a medium-length walk.
Shih Tzu – this small breed requires daily activity, but medium-length walks are fine. These dogs make lovely lap dogs.
It is important to note, however, that although these breeds are low-energy breeds, they still require daily activity for health and well-being.
Breeds that require long walks and plenty of exercise
If you’re looking for a high-energy dog to have long walks with or as jogging company, you might want to consider getting a high-energy dog breed. However, if you get a high-energy dog, it’s very important to commit to meeting their exercise needs to prevent any behavioral issues. I’ve listed several high-energy breeds below:
Border collie – these intelligent herding dogs need a lot of exercise and mental stimulus due to their high energy levels and stamina.
Dalmatian – they are well-known for their spots, but it’s important to remember that this popular breed requires a lot of exercise due to its high energy levels. If these needs are not met, dalmatians can develop behavioral problems.
Miniature Pinscher – these “miniature dobermans” are small, but make up for their size with their high energy levels. Plenty of exercise is necessary to keep these little dogs out of trouble.
Pointer – Pointers are hunting dogs that have high levels of energy. They need high intensity walks or be allowed to run freely in a fenced area.
Siberian husky – easily recognizable for their looks. These stunning sled dogs have high endurance and require proper training and exercise to prevent mischievous behavior.
Dog parks provide a great alternative for exercising high energy dogs. It is, however, important to remember that structured exercise, such as playing fetch, is more efficient in meeting the dog’s exercise needs than unstructured running around.
It’s also important to remember that age matters when it comes to dog walking. Young puppies should be fully vaccinated before taking them out to public areas, typically this is at 3-4 months of age.
Young puppies shouldn’t be over-exercised until they are fully grown as this may damage their bone and muscle development. The best way to go about it is allowing your puppy to run around at their own pace and keeping walks short (15-20 min).
Regular daily outings are, however, important for toilet training young puppies.
Similar to humans, senior dogs, injured and sick dogs need less exercise. If you’re unsure about your dog’s exercise needs, the best way to find out is to talk to your vet about it.
A tired dog is a happy dog
In my “About me” post I mention that I own a young beaglier boy. Because he’s a half beagle, his nose is his most important asset. He’s not high energy in the sense that he needs long walks and lots of running, but he definitely needs mental stimulus through sniffing. We walk a minimum of twice daily between 30-60 min at a time. We take our time sniffing all the smells we can find and these are the kind of activities that make him tired and happy.
To make your daily dog walks more enjoyable, be prepared and know what to bring with on a dog walk by reading my tips here. Also, a daily dog walk is a perfect time to practice mindful dog walking, you can find my article about it here.
Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. And the owner of a tired dog is a happy owner.
To many happy barks & walks,