Dog owners typically walk an average of 300 minutes per week, compared to 168 minutes for people who don’t have dogs, according to the ASPCA.
So that’s about 43 minutes a day of dog walking. It may sound like a lot, but is it enough?
We always give two answers to this question:
- It depends, and
- Ask your dog!
We’re not trying to avoid giving a definitive answer, but it really depends on your dog’s size, age, breed, temperament, current activity level and physical condition. Even the weather is a factor. You may want to rethink taking your dog on a lengthy walk in the middle of a sweltering day — unless you’re lucky enough to be in a shaded area along a creek!
Some of us have dogs who’ve said to us after a grueling 8-mile hike up and down hills, “That was a great warm up! When does the hike begin?” While others of us have dogs who give pitiful looks, begging to be carried, if the walk lasts longer than 15 minutes!
That’s where we get to, “Ask your dog.” He won’t tell you in words, of course, if he’s getting enough time outside with you — but he’ll definitely tell you by his behavior.
Is your dog:
- Destructively chewing, digging or scratching?
- Frequently getting into things he shouldn’t, like the garbage?
- Excitable much of the time, especially at night when you’re winding down?
- Jumping on you a lot for no apparent reason?
- Overly rough when playing with people or other dogs?
- Barking and whining much of the time to get your attention?
If any of the above sound like your dog, odds are you have a dog who is bored and in need of more exercise.
Think about it: Your dog’s ancestors spent the entire day stalking prey and chasing it down. Today, the most we may require of our dogs is to “sit” before placing a bowl of food in front of them! Our dogs were meant to work, and that means we always should be looking for opportunities to give them work — or the modern day equivalent of it.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a big backyard where you can play ball with your dog, we strongly recommend taking the time to walk your dog. It’s a social activity as much as a physical one, and it strengthens the bond between you and your dog. It can also help reduce the problematic behaviors mentioned above, as well as calm down excitable dogs.
So with that in mind, here’s a great way to help homeless animals while walking your dog:
It’s called WoofTrax and it’s oh-so-easy to use.
- Download the free app on your smartphone. Note: Your phone may say it needs to be updated with more storage, but that’s not necessary — you can still download the app!
- Select the shelter of your choice (DogsHome, please!)
- Press the button that says “Start Walking for DogsHome” and begin your walk.
That’s it! The app keeps track of your mileage and displays a map of your route when you’ve finished.
And the more people who sign up to walk for DogsHome, the more money WoofTrax will donate to us.
We spoke with WoofTrax CEO Doug Hexter who explained their goal is get people off the couch and out walking with their dogs. Twice a year, they divide the money they’ve made from sponsors and advertisers and donate it to all participating shelters. The shelters who have the most people walking for them make the most money!
So how about it? Anyone want to go out for a walk?
Let us know how often you walk your dog in the comments section below.
DogsHome: Providing shelter, training and love