We know what it’s like. Sometimes you come home from work and you’re exhausted. Or there’s a blizzard outside and you don’t want to brave it. Ultimately though, excuses could cost your dog’s health and wellbeing and your relationship.
A new campaign launches today to encourage more dog owners to get out there – walking. Apparently 35% of dogs don’t get the daily supervised exercise they need. Backed by the PDSA, the Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and Yellow Dog UK, the Forestry Commission England are campaigning to get more dog owners actively walking in a “Walk Your Dog Week” challenge.
The week runs from Monday 28 April until the Bank Holiday Monday 5 May. In efforts to attract more dog walkers into 1500 woods and forests, the Forestry Commission has published the “Ruff Guide to the Forest” which features local information on over 35 dog-friendly woods with special agility and way-marked trails which include physical challenges for dogs and their owners.
Could this be the start of something more? Obviously the Forestry Commission are hoping a walk in the woods will be habit-forming. It’s been proved that walking your dog has numerous benefits for both you and your dog. Walking can help keep your dog calm – it’s the (sometime visible) “letting go of steam” which is beneficial, whether that’s mental or physical energy and whether we’re talking about you or the dog. It’s also important to let your dog socialise and interact with the world around them. Regular exercise can stop your dog getting bored and developing behavioural problems.
The Kennel Club recommend a dog should have at least one walk a day, often two. The Dogs Trust says human benefits include improving your fitness, reducing stress and meeting new people. Whilst Yellow Dog reminds us that sometimes dogs just like their own space – and the presence of a yellow ribbon asks others to respect this.
Whether you decide to actively take part in the Walk Your Dog Week Challenge or maintain your normal routine – it’s clear that your dog loves you. They want to spend time with you – they’re companion animals after all – and the more time you spend with your dog, on walks, training and in play, the stronger your bond will become.
We would like to thank to the Forestry Commission Picture Library for letting us use their image.