Walking the Dog

Charli Saltzman

Seeing Eye instructors are famous for this phrase. A tired dog is a good dog. Looking back on my few years as a dog guide owner, I’d have to agree with that statement. A dog, especially a young dog, has a lot of energy. Unfortunately, they don’t always use that energy in the right ways. Some dogs will burn energy by getting into mischief. Sometimes the trick to a well-behaved dog is plenty of walking.

Walking your dog is important. Just like us, the dogs need the exercise. Not only that, but walking a dog will burn the energy that would otherwise be used to cause trouble. As you probably know, life gets busy. I definitely understand. Work for a college student sometimes never seems to end. However, because Joba goes to classes with me, he does get to do a lot of walking. Especially on nice days, I will take the bus home from school. I actually live a couple of blocks from the bus stop, so when I get off the bus, I have to walk a little ways until I am home.

It is definitely no mile, but that combined with walking around campus from class to class adds up. However, this is a bit harder for a pet dog who can’t go to work or school with you. I as well as anyone can understand why it’s hard to walk. I much enjoy just relaxing. But I need to remind myself that walking is good. Because it is winter, walking is often hard to do because you don’t want the puppies to get too cold. I have learned other techniques of helping my dog burn energy, but I want to focus on the advantages of walking.

Walking is good exercise for not only the dog but also for you. Exercise can also release stress and just give you time to relax your mind and wind down from a busy day. Either that, or it can be your inspiration to face the day if you are an early-morning walker. I am not. Walking can also keep your dog at a healthy weight, decreasing that extra fat. It also helps keep your dog’s nails from becoming too long because the dog is trimming them down as he walks.

This walking is easy to do in the spring and in the fall, but it can be a challenge both in the summer and in the winter. In the winter, it can be very cold, and walking can be more miserable than fun. Also, if it snows or there is ice on the ground, the salt the city puts on the streets and sidewalks burns the pads of a dog’s paw. A word of caution would be to always wipe your dog’s paws after walking in the winter. In the summer, the ground can be very hot for your furry friend. Perhaps you could find an in-door place where you and your dog can still get the exercise.

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to walking. But just remember this one thing. Walking gives you a chance to be alone with your dog. You and your companion can use that time to bond. I know for myself, walking with Joba is teamwork. We are working on a mission together, and we are partners in this mission. It may be walking to school. It may include walking to the store. And, maybe it even includes getting lost a couple of times until we figure out where we are going. Whatever the walk may look like, it is our time to bond with each other and to trust each other, and it can be a lot of fun.

You can also take the opportunity while on a walk to work on obedience and leash commands. Perhaps your dog is like Joba. Maybe he gets excited when he sees another dog. It could also be that your dog is frightened of other dogs or even people. Walking can be a good time to socialize your dog, for example, allowing people you walk by to pet him or her. During the walk, you can also continue to teach your dog to walk beside you rather than pull you. Teaching your dog to heel is an important leash command dogs should learn.

Dogs are wonderful pets. They bring that happiness into the home and warmth on a cold evening. But they have that energy that sometimes cannot be contained. Take the dog for a walk and give your furry friend and yourself that good tired feeling. It’s important both for you and your dog.

The Animal Foundation


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