Many pet experts recommend walking your dog every day so both you and your pup can reap the numerous benefits the practice can deliver. It’s common sense since it’s one of the easiest ways to get your pooch to exercise. So you might wonder if you’re a bad parent for not walking your dog.
Walking your dog is essential for their health, but not doing it doesn’t make you cruel. You might never do dog walks but instead, spend time together and perform other exercises. You have to assess your reasons, the effects of not walking your dog, and decide if you need to fit in more walks.
Walking your pooch should be voluntary and not an obligation. You should explore common reasons why some pet owners never walk their dogs and the effects so you can determine what to do.
Common Reasons Why Some People Don’t Walk Their Dogs
A study by the University of Liverpool revealed why some people regularly walk their dogs while others don’t. This research took a decade to complete and showed some of the following explanations that people give when asked why they don’t walk their dogs. Any of these might be your reason as well:
You Have A Busy Schedule
Work pressure is undeniable since some people rarely have time on the side for other life priorities. You may leave early in the morning, spend 8+ hours at work, and by the time you come home, you’re too tired to walk your pooch.
While work pressure is understandable, you need to be responsible for who you have in your life in the best way you can. If this means hiring a dog walker for the week and walking your canine friend during the weekends, it’s better to do so. Otherwise, trapping your dog in a life of inactivity isn’t a good thing. Your dog’s inactivity can result in health and behavioral issues.
You Perform Exercises Other Than Walking
While walking has many advantages to both of you, it isn’t the only way a dog can get exercise. Some enjoy backyard games, so you might feel no need to take them out on a walk. However, keep in mind that walking does more than keeping a dog active. Moreover, the dog doesn’t have to go for a walk every day, especially if it’s getting enough exercise.
You Don’t Like walking
Some people just don’t find walking to be enjoyable regardless of its benefits. This makes them ignore walking their dog as well. If this is you, then you need to consider the happiness of your canine friend. Parenting a pet is about both of you, and if your dog would enjoy a walk, it’s good to do it for them regularly.
Your Dog Refuses To Walk
It’s not always about humans. Sometimes your dog may refuse to walk for various reasons. Some may have developed laziness, while for others, it might be a sudden change in their enthusiasm for the outdoors. Either way, you need to get them walking as soon as you can.
Here are the reasons why your dog may be refusing to walk plus how you can fix them:
- Gear-caused physical discomfort: The things you put on your pup might cause discomfort and result in their reluctance to take a walk. Therefore, it’s best to dress for the walk a few days earlier so your dog can become familiar with how the gear fits.
- Fear of the unknown: If the outdoors are unfamiliar to your pet, they might become too scared to walk. Therefore, identify what’s spooking your furry friend and help them overcome that fear.
- Pain or irritability of disease: If you realize no external factors are affecting your dog, it’s better to take them to a vet for scrutiny. Some health issues might be bothering your pooch.
- Unwillingness to leave a comfort zone: Whether it’s a park or the confines of your home, your pet might be reluctant to leave because they feel comfortable where they are. In such a case, use positive obedience strategies that work for your particular canine friend.
Your dog Doesn’t Motivate You to Walk
Some dogs motivate people to walk while others don’t. The study mentioned earlier showed that those who walked their dogs more had a close relationship and felt happy walking with their pooch. Therefore, the scientists involved in the study concluded that the best inspiration to walk a dog isn’t a feeling of obligation but a sense of companionship.
If you’re close to your canine friend, you’ll naturally wish to do the best for them. You’d strive to walk with them so they can feel your attention while getting to know their interests in the outdoors. While they wag their tail, exploring smells, and looking back at you expectantly, you’d feel motivated to repeat the activity.
What Happens If You Never Walk Your Dog?
Taking your dog for a walk doesn’t just keep both of you fit. As your dog experiences the real world through your love, you get an opportunity to train them, making them flexible and social while strengthening your bond. You lose most of these advantages when you don’t take them for a walk.
Here are the sad effects of never walking your dog:
You Miss Out on A Training Opportunity
Walking moments provide you with ample time for naturally training your dog. This is when you can show them when to sit, stand, roll-over, and look at you, among other types of training. Also, since they’re out in the real world, you’ll know how to handle them no matter how many distractions you two encounter. However, never walking them ruins your chances to take advantage of all these moments.
Walking exposes dogs to other dogs, pets, and humans. The regular interaction with people and animals outside the house helps them learn how to express themselves while making friends. If they don’t get to do this, though, they’ll likely become antisocial which will negatively influence their happiness. And yours.
They Develop Destructive Behaviors
When a dog doesn’t get enough physical and mental stimulation, it makes them anxious. So when your pup needs to expel energy, they might start destroying stuff around the house. This wouldn’t happen if you keep them occupied through walking. The smells and visuals that stimulate their minds will be enough to keep them mentally healthy.
Your Dog Might Become Distant
Regular walking with your dog provides you with time to bond. The attention you provide the outdoors due to the unfamiliarity of the environment gives them comfort and triggers happiness. But if you can’t cause any of these feelings since you never walk them, your dog will feel alienated from their parents. They’ll, therefore, withdraw from you and the situation can escalate to depression.
They’ll Develop Resistance to Change
If your dog doesn’t experience new unexpected environments that a simple walk can provide, they might become inflexible. Although they’re naturally curious animals, they become unable to differentiate threats and other outdoor components hence resisting some changes in their lives.
Is It Necessary to Walk Your Dog Every Day?
Never walking your dog isn’t right. But is it a must to walk your dog every day? Pet experts recommend walking your dog every day between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
But what happens when you don’t walk your dog for one day? When you miss a day in your dog walking routine, your pooch might feel discomfort. They may expel those feelings by barking, running, and whining among other acts.
However, missing one day shouldn’t worry you too much. Although there’s no single answer for how long a particular dog can go without a walk, ensure you’re consistent with the practice by yourself, a friend, or a professional dog walker.
Here are some dog walking alternatives that provide similar benefits:
- Meet up with other dog owners
- Play a game of fetch
- Dog yoga
- Chase bubbles
- Use obstacle courses
- Hide and seek
- Create treat puzzles
- Walk on treadmill
- Hire a dog walker
It’s cruel to neglect your dog’s exercise. Although you may have some reasons for not walking your dog, they still are your responsibility. Therefore, do the best you can and take your canine friend for a walk every day or occasionally while incorporating other practices that ensure their maximum health.