Your dog needs regular walks. Period.
In nature, preferably.
With plenty of opportunities to stop and sniff.
And without being scolded, pinched, yanked, squeezed, zapped, sprayed, poked, tapped, or intimidated by a sharp noise.
A dog’s health and wellbeing are closely connected to physical activity, mental stimulation, and emotional bonding. Dogs are built to move. Their health and happiness depends on it. A sedentary life is one of the biggest health dangers.
Getting out into nature is essential, even if it’s just a park. Dogs need the sunshine, fresh air, and contact with the earth for physical and mental health. Nature has smells, sounds, and sights that connect deeply with your dog’s instincts, and contact with the earth through their feet can provide some health benefits, too.
Let your dog stop to smell the roses. And the bushes, light poles, that patch of grass, and whatever you deem safe and appropriate for your dog to sniff. Dogs see the world through their noses. Sniffing is essential to mental stimulation and stress reduction. Imagine if you were taken to museums and art galleries and amusement parks but were rarely allowed to pause and process and enjoy. Letting a dog stop and sniff doesn’t mean you have to be permissive. It doesn’t mean you have to let them drag you around. Think of your dog as a friend, and make the walk enjoyable for your dog.
A walk can be a great training opportunity and a great way to bond with your dog. Get the help of a certified professional dog trainer if your dog’s behaviours and manners are not up to your standard. Be sure the methods are based on using positive reinforcement and are science-based and use no coercion. You want your dog walking nicely because your dog wants to, not because your dog is afraid not to.
Wellness & Enrichment is a dog class held every weekend (mornings) in a quiet park setting in Regina. The class is about ensuring your dog is enjoying the experience, is not over-stimulated, and is learning manners and impulse control around other dogs, wildlife, and whatever else the park contains.