“I know she’s leaving, I see the signs. Will she take me with her? I follow her around the house in anticipation. Please say those four little words – “let’s take a walk?” Oh no, she’s getting close to the door…I wag my tail and follow closely with excitement. At the door she says “Be good. Stay home” and out the door she goes. My heart weighs heavy. I run to the window and watch her disappear in the distance…
I perk up when I sense her return. There she is! I can’t contain my excitement. I become a burst of energy and happiness. She pulls up to the house and makes her way to the door. I am so happy I could jump right out of my skin. She walks in. I greet her with kisses and all the affection I have to give. She pets my head then says “Let’s take a walk” – YES, that’s my girl!” — your #1 fan fido
January is National Walk Your Pet Month
Coincidentally, this is also the month many people begin their New Year’s resolution of losing weight or getting fit. These two things go well hand-in-hand. Dog’s aren’t the only pets that are taken for walks now a days. Many pet owners are now seen walking their cats too! Ever thought of walking your cat? www.ASPCA.org lists some great ideas on Teaching Your Cat To Walk On A Leash.
There are many benefits that come with taking a walk, here are a few we came up with:
Social/training benefits – Cesar Millan shares some great tips for Helping Your Dog Be Social on the Walk. Often times walking your dog can be nerve wrecking but knowing how to handle the walk and encounters with other pets can make this an excellent bonding experience.
Behavior benefits – Walking your pet helps reduce boredom which can lead to obedience problems at home. Excessive barking, digging and scratching occur less with animals that get regular exercise. Pets are more relaxed after a walk. If they get a good workout they are ready for a good ole nap and are less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
General well being – Like for humans, walking helps reduce your pet’s obesity, increase fitness levels which lead to healthier, happier and a longer life. According to www.PetMD.com,walking is known to help with digestion too! Here they list the Top Ten Health Benefits Walking Provides Your Pets.
Be sure to follow “good neighbor rules” when walking your pet. Keep the leash relatively short if it is extendable. Stick to sidewalks and walkways and be sure your pet does not dig or upset any landscaping along the way. Finally, and most importantly, be sure to take some plastic baggies along. Responsible pet owners always clean up after Fido. Besides, who wants to step in THAT?!
Don’t have a pet to walk? Local animal shelters often times have pet walking programs and more often than not they could use some help exercising the pets in their care. The greatest benefit of walking a shelter pet comes from the exposure they get in the neighborhood which increases their chances of getting adopted and finding that forever home.
Look up your local animal shelter directory to find out what volunteer programs they offer in your community.
What helpful tips could you give for a great pet walking experience? Share your comments below.