February 22: Walk Your Dog Day

No one knows who instituted Walk Your Dog Day, celebrated on February 22, but it makes sense for the health benefits for both pet owners and dogs. Below are just a few reasons.

AllisonGizmo_WalkKeeps both you and your dog healthy: A study by Michigan State University shows that people who walk their dogs are 34% more likely to meet expected levels of exercise, with a recommended level of 150 minutes of activity such as dog walking per week.

Provides mental and physical stimulation for your dog: Dogs are naturally curious. Walking fulfills their need to explore and will give them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. In addition, it’ll help burn off some of your dog’s built-up energy, which will in turn help prevent separation anxiety and destructive behavior.

Provides the social interaction you both need. There’s an old saying that if a guy wants to catch the attention of a girl, he just needs a baby in a stroller. My experience is that dogs will serve just as well in attracting attention, whether from a neighbor you’d like to get to know better, random strangers, or that next potential dating partner. Going for walks will also help your dog learn how to interact with other animals and people in your neighborhood.

Strengthen the bond between owner and pet: Walking helps solidify the bond you have by allowing you to experience new environments together. As an additional perk, walking dogs in new places introduces them to new people and new experiences. This helps them better socialized, which makes them better canine citizens.

Serves as an excellent training activity: Pet Care RX points out that by using proper methods you can stay in control during the walk, and this will establish you as the alpha dog in the relationship. In the past, I’ve used the opportunity to practice obedience commands.

Allows you to give back: Walk for Dog apps allow you to raise money for your favorite animal cause simply by taking a stroll.

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