How much should you walk your dog? More than you are doing right now, I guarantee you.
Here’s the scenario:
I get to a client’s house to take a look at their 8 month old Weimaraner. The dog is just NUTS, jumping around like crazy, jumping on the owners, jumping on me, jumping on the furniture, running circles around the room, bouncing up to eye level with everyone in the room…. you getting the idea.
I watch this going on for about 30 seconds and start sizing up the situation.
Then we start the conversation:
Me: Well, now that’s an energetic pup.
Client: Sure is. She’s like this all the time. Never stops moving, we just can’t let her in the house like this and can’t get her to calm down.
Me: You know, these dogs were bred to run for miles and miles every day.
Client: Really?? I didn’t know that
Me: Just for grins, how much do you walk this dog every day?
Client: Well, we take her about once or twice a week for a walk around the block.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!
This is where we get into trouble. You show me a client that takes their dog out once or twice a week for a walk around the block and I’ll show you a dog with "issues". You just can’t do that.
Dogs need exercise in order to function normally. You can’t just toss ’em into the back yard and think that they are going to get their daily requirement of exercise, they won’t. What they’ll do is probably find a cool place and lay down to sleep or get bored and eat your teak picnic table. These guys need structured exercise on a daily basis and I don’t mean just for nutty Weimaraner, your little Bichon needs to get out and use it’s mind and body just like any other dog.
When you start training a dog exercise becomes even MORE important. Dogs that are so wound up that they are bouncing off the walls are really difficult to train so much so that it’s often nearly impossible. But, if the dogs are exercised on a regular basis things change dramatically. With daily walks (of reasonable times) we can calm these guys down enough to get their attention and get down to some serious dog training that would be impossible with a "backyard" dog.
Now, I hate to say it but not enough dog owners get their pups out enough. Most dogs would do well with a good solid hour a day of structured exercise each and every day. This hour can be made up lots of different ways, 30 minutes in the morning and another in the evening, or even shorter stints of training during the day but at least an hour EVERY day. That’s for the average dog, if you have something like that Weimaraner or a Border Collie you’re going to need to take up marathon running. I’m not kidding.
Now to cut this rant short let’s look at this again. You need to train your dog. In order to get your dog to focus and get trained, you have to give it exercise. When you exercise your dog it’s easier for them to focus and lean and it makes for a nicer house pet (less bouncing, jumping, howling…whatever) and makes both you and your dog happier because it’s getting trained faster. Make sense?
Now, get up and go walk your dog.
Austin Dog Trainer
Fidelio Dog Works