Published by Kara Murphy | Article Featured on Hills Pet
Before you got your pooch, you likely imagined walking a dog would be a wonderful experience of long relaxing strolls, exploring neighborhoods and hiking trails. In those pre-dog fantasies, your four-legged sidekick likely trotted obediently by your side on a leash, following your every command and looking at you adoringly.
Then you got your dog and the fantasy disappeared. Why does my dog have to stop and pee on everything? Why does he have to stop and sniff every blade of grass? It can be frustrating, but don’t hang up the leash!
After all, walking a dog is important to his health and happiness. Walks keep your dog agile and limber and can help relieve issues like constipation, according to PetMD. Regular walks also help keep your dog from gaining unwanted pounds. Walking a dog can also go a long way toward reducing or eliminating destructive behavior. Dogs who haven’t had enough exercise–who feel pent up or have extra energy–can turn to digging holes in your yard or chewing everything from your shoes to your couch cushions.
Walks with you also strengthen your bond with your pooch and give him a chance to meet and interact with other people and dogs in a controlled environment. Having a dog that is socialized is very important. Socialized dogs are typically happier and friendlier than unsocialized dogs, who can be anxious and fearful around new humans or animals.
And we haven’t even talked about how walking a dog impacts your health! A study from Michigan State University and reported by the New York Times found 60 percent of dog owners who took their pets for regular walks met the federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise, with almost half of dog walkers getting an average of 30 minutes of exercise a day at least five days a week. In comparison, only about 30 percent of people without dogs got that much regular exercise.
But what is with your pup’s strange habits on your walks? Let’s take a look at some weird (and annoying!) things dogs do on the leash, why they do them, and how you can work to reduce the issue.