A lot of people don’t know what the purpose of walking their dog is, apart from making them go crazy when you say the word walk. So, why should you walk your dog? For mental stimulation, physical exercise, training, socialisation, and according to dogs in the wild, to hunt for food. You should only feed your dog after you have walked him. What about the best time of day to walk your dog? Does it matter? Read on…
IN THE EYES OF YOUR DOG
“Oh, my goodness, I’m free! I’m outside! Outside is my favourite. I can smell lots of other dogs. I can smell all the other people that have walked on this path today. I can smell my friend Coco’s wee on a pole at the corner of the street, I can smell he is sick - I hope he’s ok! This grass feels nice under my feets. Human is yanking me to hurry up. Oh, what’s that noise I hear? Is that a bird poo I can sniff? Birds! Bicycles! Children!”
IN THE EYES OF A HUMAN
“Hurry up, I’m late. I’m bored. That neighbour should really cut his grass more. That car shouldn’t be parked across this footpath. Would you stop sniffing every.single.tree! We are here to walk, not sniff!”
Can you see a difference here? A walk is your dog’s only chance to get OUT. You have work, friends, Facebook, a car, UberEats etc. Your dog only has the food you give him (when you decide to feed him) and he only gets out when you take him. This is literally the most exciting thing that has happened to him every day! That’s the best thing - your dog wants something that is so easy to give him and it’s free!
If your dog is being destructive at home (barking, digging, chewing everything to shreds etc.) chances are that he/she needs to be walked more. If you’re already walking your pup, this time needs to be increased!
The morning is the best time of day to walk your dog. Your dog is ready to relieve themselves and ‘read the news’ of your neighbourhood, by sniffing everything you give them access to. Mornings are also generally less busy which makes it a bit nicer for the human as they walk along. A nice gentle start to the day for both of you. When you come home from your walk, you can both have breakfast together too!
If you choose to walk your dog during the peak of the day you should consider the temperature during the summer months. Before leaving the house (or even mentioning the word walk!) check the footpath to see if this is too hot. Hold the back of your hand to the footpath/ road – if you can hold it here for 3-5 seconds comfortably, this should be ok for your dog. If you need shoes because the ground is so hot, it’s too hot to walk!
If you have a brachycephalic breed of dog (Pug, Bulldog, Frenchie, Boxer or any combination of these) or an older dog, they are more susceptible to suffering from heat stroke if the walk is too long. So shorter walks (10-15 minutes) are recommended at the coolest part of the day.
Afternoon walks can be a good choice to meet and chat with your neighbours and other dogs around your neighbourhood. It’s also good to get your dog used to lots of different sounds and experiences and an afternoon walk will give them this. Lots of people mow and edge their lawn in the afternoon, use power tools, work on their cars and there are children squealing on their way home from school. This type of walk is critical for socialising your puppy.
If you can find no other time during the day, you can walk at night. Walking at night poses a bit more of a safety issue so make sure that you are set up for this by having a torch/ head lamp, make sure that you and your dog are wearing something ‘high-vis’, and stick to routes that you know.
What are you waiting for? Let’s make today the best day of your dog’s life by grabbing a Barker & Bone leash and take them for a walk!