Do you have to walk your dog?

As in most things in life there isn’t just one answer to how to raise your dog, but there are some great questions to ask in order to figure out what is right for you and your pup!

The answer to this on the surface seems simple, but from personal experience I can say that it is not.

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on whether you should walk your dog …

Our Experience With Boo Boo

Our own dog is a Border Collie mix, and Steve and I were convinced as soon as we brought our pup home that he was part Border Collie, part Tasmanian Devil.

It was very clear that this dog needed a lot of exercise, so we took him to dog parks where he could run fast and chase the ball. We also however, used to walk him around the neighborhood on-leash twice a day because we believed that we had to walk our dog.

Right? That’s what you have to do!?  Except for us it became a nightmare.

When he was a puppy it was ok. He loved everyone and was cute and sweet to walk.

But when he got to about 1 year-1 ½ years old, his personality changed. He became much more stressed, more anxious, more reactive on-leash and very protective of me and the house.

When he was on-leash, if a stranger got too close Boo Boo would lunge and bark, and as he got bigger, so did his teeth, and  his bark got louder and louder. He was frightening to people, and to me as well.

But we kept walking him because we thought, you have to walk your dog, right?

You Don’t Have To Walk Your Dog

Finally I met a dog-trainer who became a very close friend named Marny, and one day when she and I were at the dog-park together she said something revolutionary that would change our lives and our relationship with our dog: you don’t have to walk your dog.

At first I couldn’t believe my ears. I don’t? I asked her. No, she said, some dogs are not walking dogs, and walking your dog and exercising your dog are not always the same thing.

Some dogs are mellow and don’t need a huge amount of exercise, so they will be happy with a walk to ½ hour around the neighborhood to allow them to move their body, sniff lots of stuff, interact with people or other dogs if that’s what they like to do, and to relieve themselves.

But for others, they need a different kind of exercise: they need to really move and run. For them, something like a hike with you, or a daily jaunt with a dog-walker where they can have tie to run and socialize for an hour with other dogs and run and play.

Our dog definitely needed the latter. He is actually great off-leash, so going with me or a group of dogs to a place where he can safel be off-leash and can sniff, run, pla and explore is exactly what he needs to be happy and healthy.

Walking him on-leash was nothing but stressful for us and for him, and the moment we stopped doing it, life got infinitely better. We have a small back area behind where we live, where we can let him out to pee when needed, but if we didn’t have that option we would take him out quickly on-leash to relieve himself, but we wouldn’t force anything beyond that.

Go With What Works For YOU!

It is important to not feel pressured by what other people do or say, it is far more important for you to do what is best for both you and your dog.

Most dogs do need to exercise every day, but it up to you to decide what form that exercise will take.