Four paws pounding the pavement. Tongue dangling, collecting moisture from the air. Barrel chest breathing in and out. Our companion canines are hardwired to walk. It is instinct that drives them and it is so very important for us to make sure this need is met!
Man’s Best Friend – Us
Let’s take a quick look at modern man and just how much our ancestors created who we are today. Women tend to have higher social and communication skills being gatherers and raising the children. They worked in close proximity to other women who were doing similar tasks and thus they started to talk. And talk and talk…..(If your wife, mother, sister girlfriend can’t seem to stop talking – blame Betty Rubble!) Men on the other hand were the hunters. They traversed the land looking for their next prey. They relied on hand and eye signals since they were spread out to hunt effectively. They needed to learn logistics pretty fast to know where they were and how to get home. Who needs a GPS – am I right, guys? Now look at your sweet pup lying at your feet. All dogs came from the wolf and all wolves are migratory animals.
Typical day of the ancestral dog
The pack would rise in the morning and the hunters would start walking. Miles and miles of exploration would pass, searching for their next meal. After the kill, they would walk back to their dens to feast. It is believed that this form of exercise kept the pack balanced, safe and even tempered. Without burning this energy walking, aggression throughout the pack would have been the end result.
My One Piece of Advice
There are hundreds of thousands of articles written on dog behavior and relationship building with your four-legged family member. The advice out there is so amazing from preparing a well-balanced diet to dog obedience and play. I agree with many of the experts but the one piece of advice that I can give that will solidify everything else wonderful you are doing in your pet’s life is to:
WALK YOUR DOG EVERY DAY FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN.
That’s it. Walk. Walk some more. Walk in the morning (which is best for your pet being that that is how their genes want it!) Walk at night. Take long walks on the weekend.
The Benefits are Endless
Walking will help curb boredom. Destructive behavior like chewing and barking will start to go away. Walking will restrict your dog from jumping on you and your counters for food (also known as Surfing!). Less potty accidents in your home. Less need for aggressive behavior like guarding food and toys. Walking solves so many problems! It is truly amazing what taking the time to walk your dog does for his self esteem! It is what they were born to do.
Sticking them in a backyard to run and play is not the same thing. Walking in a migration form is the key. Start at point A, walk for some time and return back to point A. It’s very simple. You are giving your pet the chance to explore new things with sights and sounds. This will activate the mind and make your friend very happy.
Your dog was born to walk. Please think about how much walking you do with your pet. Think about the behavior issues you may be having and test it out. Walking may not solve your problem outright but it will never hurt.
And it will keep you in better shape too. Now I’m down for that!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.