Do dogs really need to walk daily?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by CollieMan, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. CollieMan Experienced Member

    It's accepted that we should walk our dogs daily. But where's the science? Do our canine friends really need daily walks around the town or the park, or do we walk them because we know we would hate to be shut indoors all day, and then presume that our dogs hate it too?

    Some argue that Fido needs a daily walk to keep him fit, so why not just stick him on a treadmill then? Won't that give him the same thing, without him getting cold?

    Wouldn't Fido be happier just laying in front of the fire, exercising in the garden, and doing plenty of training at home? Surely it would lessen the chances of him getting attacked by other dogs?

    Answers on a postcard...
  2. Jean Cote Administrator

    I think walks are good, but not mendatory if you have a big enough backyard where he can run around. Playing fresbee or fetch is a much better way to exercise your dog than to walk, usually at a slow pace around the block. But what they also need is mental stimulation, a job, something to do - hence why I built this dog trick academy so people could teach their dog to do tricks!
  3. bipa New Member

    I voted that they don't really need walks. What they do need is excercise which includes being able to run around free. That was a problem back when we were renting an apartment, but now we bought a house and have a large newly fenced-in yard where they can run and play and dig in a safe environment. I still take them out for at least one longer walk through the woods every day, because it's also important that they have the chance to smell different things and learn to handle road traffic, bicycles, other dogs etc. If a dog is only kept in the yard then you'll have huge problems later when you need to take your dog somewhere.

    So walking might not be needed for physical health, but taking your dog for a walk is definitely necessary to ensure your dog is properly socialized to handle various situations that they won't encounter at home. They do really enjoy getting out and seeing and smelling different things. It stimulates their minds. Plus, it is good exercise for me!
  4. mopar53190 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Jean, they do not necesarily need walks but they do need excercise Just as humans do. Which here in the states it is common for people to eat too much and not get enouph exercise, which also falls on their pets. I personally walk my dog 2 times a day for about 1/2 hour at a time, we also play fetch when time permits. I do this because she's a puppy, has alot of energy, and helps with her behavior. It also does me good too. My dog motovates me to go for walks, which I would not do on my own.
  5. l_l_a New Member

    I actually see this as really being two topics: one is how much activity do dogs need (does it have to be every day?), and what type of activity (just walking placidly on a leash?). Another is, do dogs need to get out of the house if those activities can be done inside the house?

    I would go so far as to say that daily walks are "necessary but not sufficient" for most dogs. So my answer is yes, dogs do need daily walks, but I believe that most need more than just that on a daily basis. Meeting a dog's needs is an important and often overlooked part of getting a well-behaved and obedient pet.

    Many people don't realize that dogs' biological needs go beyond just food, water, shelter, medical care and clean living conditions. Social interaction - both with humans as well as other dogs - regular physical exercise, regular mental exercise, and regular drive outlets (of which there are several) are also real biological needs, not just nice-to-haves. A lot of behavior problems in modern pet dogs are not just due to lack of training but also to not having their needs adequately met and resulting in a chronically frustrated, behaviorally-unbalanced animal. At the very least, not adequately meeting a dog's needs will make obedience and manners training harder.

    I do think most dogs need to get out of the house regularly, regardless of the activity (whether placid walking, or running, or playing fetch, going to obedience class etc.). Dogs who seldom leave the home or owner's property are more likely to develop territorial aggression. Dogs also have a need to sniff and explore because it is a very natural form of mental stimulation. Dogs also are social creatures and need to be around or interact with other dogs and people. All these are necessary for sound mental health. Dogs also need regular exposure to the outside world so they don't get overwhelmed with new sights and sounds when they finally have to leave the house to go to the vet or somewhere else. Thus I do think that most dogs need to get out of the house or off the owner's property regularly, everyday if possible, even if they do get vigorous play and training sessions at home. (if the area is safe for you and the dog that is.) They need to learn that the world is bigger than just their property if they are to be civilized members of our society.

    However, I also think that most dogs don't get enough physical or mental exercise or drive outlets solely from walking placidly on a short leash. With some exceptions (like very small, or old, injured, or sick dogs), or unless the walks are very long (and I doubt most modern owners have the time to do that on a regular basis), most healthy and physically-able dogs need to run around and move freely and vigorously. Activities that allow the dog to use his brain and natural doggy instincts as well as his legs, are more satisfying and will more easily result in a satiated and well-adjusted companion at home.

    This is also why I think a treadmill is less than ideal - it is certainly better than nothing at all, but the dog isn't using his brain or satisfying his natural instincts or moving freely, so it's pretty dull for the dog.
  6. Jean Cote Administrator

    I gotta say, that when my two dogs play together outside, it's pretty much their happiest time ever. They'll chase each other and run around the pool until they are both extremely tired. It's one of the best exercise for them. :)

    .. Just thought I'd drop that in.
  7. mami New Member

    Replying to old thread: Walks - YES! :)

    Dogs will survive without daily walks, and - depending on the individual dog's need (size, breed, personality, health) for physical and mental challenges, it might seem ok with some indoor days, too. Never tried it myself, though. I like to get out of the house myself. :)

    Activating the dog in the house, with playing, teaching tricks, hiding food and using a treadmill or something up that alley is good; but to me these activities are merely additions to the 3-4 daily walks.

    I understand that it isn't as fun to hit the streets with a dog that is pulling the leash, barking, lounging at people/dogs/objects - but as owners we have the animal's happines in our hands, so I think we own it to them to work both to prevent unwanted behaviour and to get rid of it. Myself I am working on some issues with my 1 yr. old adopted rottie-chick.

    I live in Norway, where we have all kinds of weather. Snow, rain, wind, sun - you name it! :) We just try to dress appropriatly for the walks.

    So - good walkin', everybody! :) And good luck! :)

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