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Walking the Dog: Check out the COAPE behaviorist's advice

Walking the dog

What a walk should look like and what it actually gives the dog?

A walk with the dog is a pleasant time for some people to spend time together with their pupil. There is also a group of owners for whom the walk is only an unpleasant duty and a "side effect" of having a dog. For pets, a walk is one of the most exciting and anticipated moments of the day. Don't you think that it is worth finding out what to do to make this time as attractive as possible for him?

The need to inform people about the functions of walking a dog is extremely important - I have recently met at least a few dog owners who were unaware of the seriousness of this issue.

This article is intended for all pet owners - the following tips will pay off for sure. I can assure you that your relationship with your dog will improve, and that the time you spend walking will be used to the maximum extent.

Read on to find out what a walk does for your dog and what it should look like to be effective.

  • Walking the dog - physiological needs
    • Moving is healthy
  • A walk with a dog is not only a physical challenge, but also a mental one
    • Walking the dog and building relationships
    • Social needs
  • Kicking, rolling and other natural behaviors
  • Remember about the right tools
  • Try these tips in practice

Walking the dog - physiological needs

Walking the dog - physiological needs

An obvious point that does not need to be explained to anyone. Unfortunately, it is still considered by many owners as the only reason for walking the dog. Keep in mind that this is just one of the many needs a dog meets when going for a walk.

Remember not to end your walk right after your dog has disposed of. Why? By accident, you can make your pet put off the moment of taking care of itself in order to be outside for as long as possible. Dogs are very perceptive and if they realize that after their needs are sorted out, their exciting time away from home, they may postpone this activity.

As a consequence, the dog may experience physical and mental discomfort that can lead to various types of disorders. The ideal solution is for the dog to kill himself at the very beginning, as a result of which the entire walk is a reward for him for quick defecation. If, on the other hand, he does it later - it is also not bad, the most important thing is that he can easily settle his need, at the most convenient time for him, without fear that the walk will end in a moment.

Note that a walk is the only opportunity to take care of your pets' physiological needs.

Additionally, this time is heavily regulated by man. Note that even cats have litter boxes in their homes, which gives them the flexibility to choose when to use them.

Interestingly, dogs can learn to clean very quickly, although at the beginning, training in cleanliness can be quite difficult and strenuous. You imagine someone predicting the times that you can go to the toilet in advance? Therefore, let us appreciate our dogs that they have learned this and at what cost they want to live with us in their apartments.

Remember that puppies and older dogs have a hard time holding a few hours without taking care of their physiological needs. Puppies defecate immediately after playing, eating, waking up, which is practically every few hours, so the initial stage of learning to cleanse can be tedious and tedious.

Most often, however, it takes about a few weeks, after which the young pooch understands that he has a certain time to take care of himself. Sometimes, however, mishaps do happen, for which the dog cannot be disciplined - it is the physiology and the habit itself of dealing with needs in a specific time and circumstances that is a challenge for our pupils.

In turn, reward your pet with both words and treats for settling in the right place, if you are at the stage of learning to cleanse. Remember, however, that if an adult dog that has been trained to clean at home has a breakdown in cleanliness training several times, it is a sign that you should go to the veterinarian with him.

Moving is healthy

Dogs, like humans, have a natural need to move physically. It is not only about moving around, because you can also do it around the house, but also about slightly increased effort, i.e. activity. Physical activity itself lowers tension, reduces stress, improves digestion and has many other benefits that we have heard about more than once.

Too little exercise can lead to overweight and obesity. How much exercise a dog needs depends of course on the breed, age, sex or individual characteristics of the animal. There is no general rule as to how many and how long walks should be taken - they have to be adapted to individual needs.

The general recommendations are that you should go out with your dog no less than three times a day, including at least once a long time - about an hour.

Of course, there are no contraindications to extend the frequency and length of walks, but you should not go to extremes so as not to tire your dog out. Watch your ward closely and choose the best option.

A common myth, in the case of dogs that need a lot of exercise, is the dog "running out " as much as possible to keep it calm. In such cases, however, we must bear in mind a few points. First of all, the walk should be tiring not only physically, but also mentally, which I will say more about later in this article.

Moreover, the very end of the walk should be calmer and calmer. After all, we do not want the dog "at high speed" to return home and full of energy to spread everything that wraps under his paws or mouth. It is easy to associate it with the physical exercises we do - first there is a warm-up, then basic exercises and finally the so-called. "Cool down ", that is, calming the body down after exercise.

Additionally, if we want to run the dog, paradoxically it will be in better condition and will need more and more exercise, which will lead to a vicious circle.

A walk with a dog is not only a physical challenge, but also a mental one

What needs does a dog satisfy during a walk??

As I mentioned earlier, you should also provide mental effort for the dog during the walk. How to do it?

The best way is to stimulate the senses of our student. As it is commonly known, in the case of dogs, the sense of smell is the most developed, so it is worth focusing on it and stimulating it.

Thanks to fragrances, dogs can transmit a huge amount of information to each other. Interestingly, dogs from the smell left by another individual can read not only that there was a specific individual here, but also the time, health, sex, and even emotions that accompanied him. An inconspicuous tuft of grass can be a source of countless information, so do not get upset when your pooch sniffs one blade of grass endlessly - a walk is also time for him, apparently he needs it.

In addition, recent studies have shown that when an animal is focused on smelling, other senses practically turn off. So next time, don't be surprised that the dog won't listen to you while sniffing the bush, because he just might not hear you.

Often times, owners do not allow their dogs to sniff freely in the grass because they fear they will find something inappropriate. Unfortunately, they are partly right, so you should keep your dog under control and go to proven places. However, we cannot limit the dog's ability to sniff, thereby stimulating his sense and introducing new stimuli to the environment. Therefore, for a walk, it is worth taking with you the flavors that we throw into the grass during the walk to stimulate the sense of smell.

In addition, the walk is also an ideal opportunity to refine the commands, which will also require concentration and work from the dog. Maybe this is the right time to introduce nosework?

Remember not to go for walks in the same places all the time. Sometimes our possibilities are limited, but even going back the other side of the street can be a great diversion. Try to stimulate your dog as much as possible by stimulating his environment.

Walking the dog and building relationships

Building a relationship between the guardian and the dog

In addition, the walk should be enriched with new elements that will make this time more attractive and will make your bond with the dog even better and "grow " in his eyes.

A good example is hair care and caressing. The time spent outside should be spent on brushing, stroking and touching. Combing is very important not only for conditioning, but also for strengthening ties. Personally, I recommend brushes with rounded rubber edges that additionally massage the dog's body.

Touch is very important, during it, the body releases dopamine, the so-called happiness hormone, which has a positive effect on the functioning of the body, so it is worth spending at least a few moments to stroking and scratching the pooch.

Remember to be present during the walk not only physically but also spiritually. The caregiver immersed in the smartphone, browsing social media or talking on the phone, does not pay much attention to strengthening the ties with the mentee. Make sure you keep in touch with your dog so that he doesn't care who is walking on the other side of the leash.

Social needs

Dogs are social animals that have a natural need for contact with members of the same species. A walk is the perfect and practically the only time to meet other representatives of your species.

Of course, not every dog ​​is the life and soul of the party and wants to make contact with every dog ​​they meet. Additionally, he may just not like it or be aggressive towards others.

In such cases, do not force your dog to make contacts that he clearly does not want and let him go. Also, try to help out of an awkward situation, e.g. feels threatened - just walk away in the other direction. If, on the other hand, you see that the dog is positive and wants to have fun - let him do it (of course, with the consent of the other owner and the will to play with the other dog). And if the conditions are inadequate, allow even a greeting, that is to smell each other, which is treated as an exchange of courtesy among dogs.

Not allowing them to meet other dogs can be very frustrating due to the lack of physical contact with members of the same species.

Kicking, rolling and other natural behaviors

Digging and rolling on a walk

You must know that digging in the ground and rolling around are, in addition to sniffing, also the natural behavior of a dog. Thanks to them, she can relax while walking and present her natural behavior. Therefore, if there are opportunities, then of course let him do so. As a result, the dog will be calmer, more relaxed, and will behave better at home.

Eating grass is another aspect that owners often fear because they are worried that it will provoke vomiting. Of course, their fears are right, but it is worth knowing that this is the most natural behavior.

If he eats grass to induce vomiting, it is a sign that something has harmed him and his body wants to get rid of it. Probably better to let the dog vomit something harmful with the grass than to have it in his body?

Remember about the right tools

Dog leash

I mean, first of all, the leash - it must be properly selected and allow the dog to meet all his needs. See the article "Which lanyard to choose? "For more information. In addition, it is also worth taking a muzzle, a jerk and / or other dog toys and snacks with you. Make this time more attractive so that your mentee can take full advantage of it.

It is also worth diversifying the walk and going to a place where the dog does not have to be on a leash. However, it must be a safe area, and you must be sure that in the event of an appeal to you, it will come back.

These off-leash moments are very valuable to dogs.

Remember also not to pose a threat to the environment - if your dog easily gets into conflicts and does not come willingly on command - work on returns on a long training line, which also allows a great freedom of movement.

Try these tips in practice

I encourage you to put the above advice into practice. You need to know that a significant proportion of behavioral problems are related to the insufficient quantity and / or quality of walks. Increasing their number and changing the appearance of walks are often one of the first pieces of advice that behaviorists give. Maybe in this case it is worth ensuring that the walks are properly organized and prevent potential problems that may arise? Or maybe improving the quality and quantity of walks will help to minimize the current problem with the student?

Either way, I sincerely encourage you to get involved in walks and you will see that your dog will be grateful to you!

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