Why you should take your working breed dog for a walk every day.
When you walk with your dogs, their senses are activated. They observe your neighbors mowing the lawn, they smell bonfire, they hear noisy cars. The more the dogs are exposed to things, the more accustom they become to the world around them. If you don't go for a walk, your dog will find the outside world to be an unusual place, a foreign place, and will be more prone to develop fear problems. If you notice your pup exhibiting fearful behavior on one of your walks, you must begin the process of getting your puppy used to the source of discomfort as soon as may be. It's very likely that it will take some time for you to fix fearful reaction to bikes, or people with hats, or horses, but you must be aware of it, and take steps to address this problem (with a professional help, if need be).
Things to keep in mind...
- A walk is not a substitute for training.
- A walk is not a substitute for playtime - chasing the ball, playing tug of war, catching frisbee.
- A walk must be proportionate to the dog's health condition and age. Forcing a three month old pup to walk 5 miles, is not a good idea. Walking an adult Rottweiler for 15 minutes a day is not enough.
- Establishing good routines from early on will make your walks more enjoyable: ask your dog to sit as you are cleaning up after them or talking to a neighbor, never take a step when your dog pulls - bring them to you, teach them to walk with you, not in front of you.
- Always bring treats to reinforce what your dog is doing right.
Reinforcing your position
When you hold the leash and guide your dog to where they need to go, you take on a position of a leader, and your dog becomes a follower. It is imperative with powerful dogs that they learn to look up to you, and walks help establishing the proper hierarchy between you and your dog.
Mental and physical exercise
Working breeds must work. They need a job to keep their body and mind engaged. If you don't channel the energy that these dogs posses into something positive, you are asking for them to entertain themselves with what they can find around them. Sticking them in the crate to keep your furniture safe is a lazy way out. If you want a working breed - find the time to work with them, and train them.
When you walk, you explore together. You lead, you have fun, you meet people and dogs together. It's a great bonding exercise for both, the person in charge and the dog. Walks reinforce your bond.
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