Have you noticed all these special dog days on the calendar? Just Friday we celebrated Love Your Pet Day, and now here it is Walking Your Dog Day!
Studies indicate that as many as 40% of owners do not regularly walk their dogs. There are any number of reasons why. Earlier this week I touched on a problem that us dog walkers have with unleashed dogs when walking our beloved companions. Other reasons include a lack of training for dogs that results in problematic behavior.
Many “experts” identify the underlying problem as laziness on the part of the owner. I disagree. I think the underlying reason is fear.
We’re afraid something will happen to our beloved dogs.
We’re afraid of our beloved dog’s behavior.
We’re afraid of the behavior of others.
And, let’s be honest, many towns don’t invest in animal control, so there are few incentives for the bad actors to clean up their act.
It’s time we all faced our fears, if not for ourselves, then for our beloved dogs.
A walk for a dog is stimulating not only for the body, but for the mind. It’s all about the smells, right? The sniffing out pee-mail and responding in kind? The sniffing of objects to discover if it was a human, or cat, or squirrel that crossed this path before we did?
And it’s not only about your dog. Humans who walk their dogs regularly, on average, get more exercise than those that don’t have dogs.
So what to do?
Walk with friends. Grab up another dog owner and walk your dogs together. It will lessen the likelihood you’ll chicken out if someone else is depending on you.
Work with a trainer. Yes, it does cost money, but if it’s fear keeping you from enjoying a walk with your dog, then it’s worth the investment. You can work on those problem behaviors such as pulling, snarling, and the like.
Don’t feel comfortable walking in your neighborhood? Find a walking track where dogs are allowed on-leash only, and walk there. If you see dogs off-leash, report them. Even towns with the laxest of animal control want to keep the designated dog-walking areas safe.
Look, I’m the biggest worry wort in the world, and if I can overcome my fear and walk my dog, then so can you.
So how about starting today?