• Overweight dogs are unhealthy dogs. Just like us, dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and body composition. If they are too sedentary, they can become overweight, which puts them at risk for a whole host of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and more. Walking your dog regularly is one of the best ways to add years to your time with your pup.
  • Dogs don’t self-entertain – If you have a fenced yard, it’s great that your dog has room to run, but it likely will not provide sufficient exercise. To ensure your dog is getting the exercise he or she needs, you really need a long walk.  
  • Mental stimulation: Imagine if you were only allowed to check email or Facebook or Instagram for 15 minutes per day and the rest of the time you were confined at home alone? A daily walk is your dog’s social experience for the day. It is the only way to learn about the world around him. For dogs this includes sniffing… so build in some sniff time on your walk, too.
  • Walking is training – Walking on a leash is a good opportunity to train your dog. First and foremost, you need to teach your dog how to walk on the leash. You can also teach other basic commands while you’re out for a walk like sit, heel or stay. Leash walking teaches your dog to be well-behaved outside the fence, where there are many distracting factors.
  • Embrace socializing – Walking your dog is a great way to teach him or her how to properly socialize with other pups. When walking your dog, chances are you will run into another animal along the way. Being around other animals CAN build confidence in some dogs, but just as people don’t like all people, not all dogs enjoy the company of all dogs. This is normal. Practice focusing on the handler in the presence of other dogs. In general, on leash greetings between dogs are ill advised, so keep your dog out of another dog’s personal space. Use the opportunity to teach your dog that he does not get to rush up and greet every dog he meets, but to notice the other animal calmly and return focus to you.
  • Analyze your dog – If you feel like your dog is showing signs of being intimidated during walks, consider talking to a certified positive reinforcement trainer to discuss training options to address the issue. A class might be appropriate for some dogs, but may overwhelm others. A consultation with a trainer can help determine the best course of action.
  • Walking improves behavior – If your dog suffers from anxiety, exercise can help to combat this issue. Chewing, excessive barking and other undesired behaviors can often be weeded out by making sure your dog has the right amount of attention, mental stimulation and physical exercise. A nice long walk can provide all of these stimuli, leading to a happier and better-behaved dog.

Need help teaching your dog to walk properly on a leash? We can help! Contact Head of the Class Dog Training today.

-Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, CSAT, taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer and a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer with the Malena de Martini SA Program.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.

Why Dogs Need to Be Walked

Head of the Class Dog Training LLC 

Winchester, VA

Your dog might not sport a pedometer or smart watch 24 hours a day, but it’s just as important for your pup to reach his or her step goal as it is for you. Dogs were made to move (as were humans). As domesticated people, we are used to spending endless hours sitting at a desk or zoning out in front of various other screens at home. Our dogs are our pals and will follow our lead. If you spend a lot of time deep couch sitting, your dog will likely snuggle up next to you. Exercise is so important for both of you, so it’s best to get outside for a daily walk. Here’s how this can benefit your dog.


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