Level Up Your Walks
All dog owners know that taking their dog for walks is a necessary part of dog ownership. It is healthy for our dogs to have time outside to relieve themselves and move their bodies. But, what you might not know is that not all walks are created equal.
Taking a walk around the neighborhood or leashing up for a quick potty break doesn’t provide all the benefits of walking that you and your pup could be enjoying!
Walks do have the power to reduce your dog’s stress levels and alleviate behavioral issues by allowing your dog to engage in healthy, natural behaviors. Unfortunately, walking down a busy street or taking your thousandth trip around the same neighborhood doesn’t provide your dog with the freedom or novelty needed to reap the many benefits of walks.
So, what takes your walks from boring to beneficial?
The catch is that last part, “allowing your dog to engage in healthy, natural behaviors” while on your walk. Sniffing and exploring with freedom of movement helps satisfy your dog’s physical, mental and emotional needs.
Now, we get it. Watching your dog sniff a tree for what feels like forever is inconvenient. We see owners hurry their pups along the sidewalk every day, thinking that just any walk will do the trick. But, as you’ve just learned, it is incredibly important for your dog to have time to be a dog.
At Happy Dogs, we encourage our clients (and all dog owners!) to make time for decompression walks. This term describes walks that allow dogs to move freely in their natural environment. Taking decompression walks with your dog has compounding benefits.
Not only are these walks enjoyable for your four legged family member, they can help your dog “decompress”. Afterall, decompression walks are designed to be relaxing for your dog. Taking a single walk out in nature won’t magically change your dog, but overtime decompression walks have stress-relieving benefits for your dog that can even help with behavioral issues you’re training through.
Location Matters - But It’s Not Hard
The location you pick sets the stage for how your walk will go. Yup, the environment around your dog has THAT much influence over your dog’s behavior.
Choose an environment where your dog can be outdoors with access to natural footing. This means walking around a grassy field, hiking on a trail or utilizing another type of open, natural space. Finding an outdoor space for your dog to explore doesn’t have to be complicated. You can visit parks, use athletic fields, venture out to hiking trails or stop at your local church parking lot.
Ideally, this space should be remote with little to no people or pets nearby. Watching other dogs running around or hearing people from afar can distract your dog from the natural behaviors we’re trying to encourage.
Let Your Dog Do Its Thing
This time is for your dog to be a dog. By using a long line or allowing your dog off leash, your dog is free to move as they please. This looks different for every dog. While some may frolic gleefully with a stick, other dogs may slowly sniff their way along. What matters is that your dog is free to change their pace throughout the walk and engage in natural behaviors.
Whatever your adventure looks like grab your leash, treats and remember to have fun exploring with your dog. Allowing your dog to explore their environment is a walking experience that yields untold benefits for your dog’s health and happiness.
Happy Dog’s Training can make decompression walks a walk in the park for you and your dog. If you’re short on time or not sure you can handle your dog on a walk, we’ve got you covered. Our Dog Walking services are available for owners and dogs on the Northeast side of Charlotte, NC. Our trained team focuses their individual attention on your dog's needs and can safely walk your dog even if they’re struggling with a behavioral issue. You can learn more about our dog walking programs here.