Effective Dog Walking: Providing More Exercise for Dogs

Dog walking is a fun activity for your dog, but it doesn't often provide him with a lot of exercise. Depending on the age and breed of your dog, you may need to step up your activity level to adequately provide for his exercise needs.

Mental Stimulation

One of the most important reasons to walk your dog is to provide him with mental stimulation. Imagine if you never left your house. Even going to the grocery store down the street would seem exciting, right? This is how walks feel for your dog.

Many people feel that allowing their dog to sniff slows down the walk and cuts back on the exercise, but walks actually don't provide much exercise for your dogs anyway. Thus, it's very important to allow them the mental stimulation of sniffing a little.

Sniffing provides your dog with information about the world. You don't have to allow your dog to stop at every interesting smell or linger as long as he would like, but you should allow him some "sniff time."

Sufficient Exercise

Your dog's exercise requirements vary depending on his age and breed. For example, one walk a day is not sufficient for a 3-year-old border collie, but it's more than enough for a 15-year-old arthritic Akita.

If you have a younger dog, especially a working dog, he requires at least one 40-minute session of full-blown running daily. Effectively walking him will not be enough. A better idea would be to walk him to the park and throw a tennis ball for him. You could also teach him to run with you or run alongside your bike.

If you have an older dog, consistency is the key. Don't walk him four miles one day and two blocks the following day. Pick a distance that seems to exercise him without causing him pain, and stick with that distance.

When walking your highly energetic dog, keep at a steady, fast pace and allow a few breaks at key places for a little sniffing time. Walk for an hour or more if possible. Make the walk more difficult by hiking uphill or on sand if you have that available to you.

Training During Walks

Mental exercise can also be taxing for your dog, so do some training exercises while on walks. Teach your dog to walk politely on the leash and make sure he is calm before allowing him to greet. Ask him to sit and wait at all corners. Practice having your dog come to you when called if he's walking ahead of you.

Daily walks are an important part of your dog's routine. However, an average-paced walk is not always sufficient exercise for younger dogs. If you speed walk or run, add that into your dog's routine. Add distance to your walks or engage your dog in training exercises for mental exercise. Trainers always say: A tired dog is a good dog.