Updated: Mar 26, 2020
I know what you are thinking... Dog Walking kinda is a walk in the park (or other green space)... However its not how I meant it!
I've been running my own Dog Walking business for nearly 4 years now. I've had many people (friends included) tell me that Dog Walking is an easy job. My standard response to that comment is this...
It MAY seem easy, but you try operating a poo bag, in the wind, while holding 4 leads! That takes skill!
Joking aside, there is more to this Dog Walking lark than most people think. There are actually qualifications you can get in Dog Walking (yes, I have them!) which suggests Dog Walking to be a complex activity.
Again, I know what you're thinking... How difficult can it really be?
I understand why you would ask that. There are countless dog owners out there and a plethora of professional dog walkers who are walking dogs day in and day out with no training and their dogs are still alive! So it can't be that hard... Can it?!
Would it surprise you to know that every single day I see someone walking their dog incorrectly! I don't mean they have the lead attached at the wrong end or anything like that, I just mean that their dog walking skills aren't as good as they could be which means their dog isn't as happy as they could be! To me that makes the walk 'incorrectly done' because its not that hard to give your dog a good walk.
So what makes a good dog walk? Without going into the psychology of dogs and knowing 'how they tick' it's a question that is difficult to answer... However there are a few pointers which should help make dog walks more fun and enjoyable for your dog so they get the mental stimulation and exercise they need. Overall making them happier.
Never walk a dog when you are in a rush.
You will only end up getting stressed out because your dog isn't walking fast enough for you, or you will cut the walk short so you are on time. It's important to remember that walking your dog isn't just about them going to the toilet its THEIR time out of the house for THEM to enjoy. Just like humans dogs need this time to relax and de-stress and regular quality walks will help make your dog happier. This leads nicely onto my second point...
Let your dog Sniff!
I see dog owners all the time stopping their dogs from sniffing while out walking. Dog's LOVE to sniff, It's their way of exploring, so please, let them do it! All the scents and smells spark off a dogs imagination, it's exciting to know that a fox was in the field yesterday, or that a dog pee'd up that lamp post earlier today. You don't need to know why its exciting, but trust me, it is!
Give them time to burn off their energy.
It's important to let your dog get tired and its a great way to make them happier. Dogs need an opportunity to burn off their pent up energy and not giving your dog chance to do this can lead to problem behaviours occurring. I am not saying that your dog should have a 2 hour walk every day, in fact i'm not going to give you any time scales. Each dog is different and the amount of time it takes them to get tired will differ. There are also many different ways for your dog to burn off energy its not just about walking for miles. High intensity games of fetch are great at burning energy in a short space of time. The aim is for your dog to go for a nap when they get home. This may take 10 mins of exercise or it may take an hour either way this post exercise nap is what you're aiming for! Just like in humans during exercise your dogs brain releases endorphins which (without getting too science-y) makes them happier!
Following these simple pointers will almost certainly make your dog happier, let me know how you get on!
I cannot believe I have come to the end of a blog without going into sales mode and trying to promote something, that's a first for me. However The Dog Play Co isn't just about making the dogs we work with happy... We want to help make every dog happy, and hopefully this blog is a good starting point down that road.
Until next time!