Knowing how to walk your dog correctly is important for their health and happiness. Dogs perceive the world around them in a different way than humans do. This is because their experience during walks is shaped by their senses, instincts, and past experiences.
How Your Dog Sees the World on a Walk:
Sense of smell
They have a much stronger sense of smell than humans. They use their noses to explore and understand the world around them. During walks, dogs are constantly sniffing the ground, bushes, and other objects to gather information about their surroundings.
Their hearing is much better than humans, and they can hear sounds at much higher frequencies. Therefore, they can detect sounds that are beyond human hearing range, such as the high-pitched whine of a distant dog whistle.
While dogs have a keen sense of smell and hearing, their vision is not as good as humans. Dogs have better peripheral vision and can detect movement at greater distances. However, they have poor colour vision and cannot see details as well as humans do.
Dogs are also guided by their instincts during walks, which can influence their behaviour and reactions to certain situations. For example, a dog may become protective or defensive if they sense a threat to its owner or territory.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
A good dog walk is one that provides both physical and mental stimulation, while also ensuring safety and well-being. Here are a few key elements that can make a good walk:
They require daily exercise to maintain their physical health. A good walk should provide them with the right amount of exercise. The length and intensity of the walk will depend on your dog’s age, breed, and overall health. But a good walk should leave your dog feeling tired and satisfied.
A good dog walk should provide your dog with opportunities for mental stimulation. Such as exploring new scents, playing with other dogs, or learning new commands.
A walk should be a positive experience for both you and your dog. This can be achieved by choosing routes that your dog enjoys. Providing opportunities for play and socialisation, and using positive reinforcement training techniques.
Always ensure your dog is safe during walks. This includes keeping them on a leash in areas where it is required, and avoiding potentially dangerous situations. Such as busy roads or bodies of water. Be aware of your surroundings.
Hydration and nutrition
Dogs need access to water during walks, especially in hot weather. Bringing along a water bottle and a portable bowl can help ensure that your dog stays hydrated. It is also important to consider your dog’s nutrition needs and bring treats or food if necessary.
There are important key areas to focus on when you take your dog for a walk for maximum benefit.
Let Them Sniff
Dogs have a very strong sense of smell and rely on it to gather information about their environment. They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to only about 6 million in humans. Hence, allowing them to detect scents that humans cannot even perceive.
Sniffing is a natural behaviour for dogs. They use it to gather information about their surroundings, other animals, and people. Their sense of smell is also used to communicate with other dogs and to detect potential dangers.
Benefits of Allowing a Dog to Sniff During Walks
Dogs can benefit from mental stimulation, improving their cognitive function and reducing anxiety. There are several more benefits to allowing a dog to sniff during walks, here are a few;
As mentioned above, they have a very strong sense of smell. Allowing them to use their nose during walks can provide them with mental stimulation and help keep their minds active and engaged. Sniffing can also provide a sense of comfort and relaxation for dogs, as it is a natural and instinctive behaviour.
Sniffing can be a form of physical exercise for dogs. Because it requires them to use their entire body to follow a scent trail. This helps them keep physically fit.
Allowing a dog to sniff during walks can create a positive and enjoyable experience for both the dog and the owner. Helping to strengthen the bond between you and the dog and improve your relationship.
Sniffing on walks can help prevent destructive behaviour, as it provides dogs with an outlet for their natural instincts. It can also help reduce anxiety and stress, as sniffing can be a calming and soothing behaviour for them.
Summary: Allowing your dog to sniff during walks can provide them with both physical and mental benefits. Allow them the freedom to explore and use their sense of smell, while also ensuring that they are properly trained and controlled.
Give Them Freedom
Allowing your dog the freedom to explore and move around during walks helps:
Burn off energy
Dogs require daily exercise to maintain their physical health, and walking is a great way to provide them with the necessary exercise. Allowing dogs the freedom to move around and explore during walks helps them to burn off excess energy and keep them physically fit.
Dogs are intelligent animals that require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour. Exploring new sights, sounds, and smells during walks provides them with mental stimulation helping to keep their minds active and engaged.
Walking your dog provides an opportunity for them to socialise with other dogs and people. Allowing dogs to interact and play with other dogs during walks helps improve their social skills. It will also build their confidence.
Walking your dog is a great opportunity to bond with them and strengthen your relationship. Having the freedom to explore and enjoy the outdoors during walks can create a positive and enjoyable experience for both the dog and the owner.
Summary: Allowing your dog the freedom to explore and move around during walks is beneficial for their physical and mental well-being. However, dogs should be properly trained and controlled. Therefore preventing them from getting into potentially dangerous situations. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to assess each situation and make the appropriate decision based on your dog’s individual needs and behaviour.
Redirect When Necessary
Dogs rely on their sense of smell to gather information and explore. However, there are times when it may be necessary to redirect their attention away from certain smells for safety or hygiene reasons. Here are some reasons why you would avoid a smell:
To avoid potential hazards
Dogs are naturally curious animals and may want to investigate unfamiliar smells. For example, they may try to eat something toxic or follow a scent trail onto a busy road. Redirecting attention away from certain smells can help prevent your dog from a potentially harmful situation.
To maintain good hygiene
Dogs tend to roll in unpleasant smells, such as faeces or dead animals, which can be difficult to remove and may leave behind an unpleasant odour. By dragging your dog away from these smells, you will maintain the dog’s hygiene and prevent them from bringing unpleasant odours into the house.
To improve obedience
Dogs who are allowed to constantly investigate and follow their noses may become more difficult to control and less obedient. Redirecting will help reinforce a dog’s obedience and improve its training.
Summary: Allow dogs to explore and use their sense of smell. But, there may be times when it is necessary to redirect their attention away from certain smells for safety, hygiene, or obedience reasons.
Change up Your Walks
It is important to walk your dog in different environments for several reasons. They benefit from experiencing different sights, sounds, and smells, which provides mental stimulation and prevents boredom.
Here are a few reasons why it is important to walk your dog in different environments:
Dogs require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour. Walking your dog in different environments can provide them with new and interesting experiences that engage their senses.
Walking your dog in different environments can also provide opportunities for better socialisation. Expose your dog to a variety of people, animals, and situations from a young age. This creates a more well-adjusted and confident in new situations.
Walking your dog in new locations can also provide them with more varied and challenging exercise. Different terrains, such as hills or stairs, can provide additional physical benefits and help keep your dog fit and healthy.
Walking your dog in different environments provides opportunities for training and obedience work. Practicing commands and behaviours in new and challenging situations can help reinforce positive behaviour and improve your dog’s overall obedience.
Dogs can become habituated if they are constantly exposed to the same sights, sounds, and smells. Walking your dog in different environments can prevent this and help them stay alert and engaged during walks.
Summary: By exposing your dog to new and varied experiences, you can help them live a happy and fulfilling life.
Overall, knowing how to walk your dog correctly is simple. A good dog walk is one that provides your dog with both physical and mental stimulation. While also ensuring their safety and well-being. Considering all the key elements we mentioned allows you to can create a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your dog during walks.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.