What if I told you (now hang tight, this is going to be pretty controversial) that your dog doesn’t need a walk every day.
I’m completely serious.
There are things that are infinitely more valuable to your dog than a daily walk.
We have this cultural story about what good dog ownership looks like, and what the dog's days should look like. It includes walks in the neighbourhood, and maybe a weekly visit to the dog park or daycare.
Those of you with high energy dogs might be rolling your eyes now. A jaunt around the neighbourhood just won’t cut it for your dog!
But what if I told you that even your high energy, high drive dog doesn’t need a walk every day!
Dogs need rest, and they need adequate exercise so that they can build muscle and stay fit. A daily walk does not allow for rest days, and frequently does not include the right kind of exercise. For reactive or fearful dogs, they can make the problem worse.
Dogs need variety. Daily walks become rote and routine. They send us a message that we’ve done “enough”. They keep the dog just tired enough that we don’t need to do more.
Or, they just increase the dog’s exercise tolerance until we are relying on friends and family members, or dog walkers and daycares to keep our dogs from bouncing off the walls.
A good exercise routine for your dog involves designated rest days. It involves mental enrichment, including but not limited to food enrichment and complex problem solving. It involves safe, high intensity exercise, and relaxed, free exercise.
It involves taking them new places (as long as they feel safe) and finding them friends they can play safely.
So yes, your dog does not need a daily walk. They need less AND more.