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Dr. Keaton Smith is a graduate of the University Of Kentucky College Of Agriculture with a doctorate...

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Dr. Smith's Journal

I chat about veterinary medicine and the life of a country animal doctor.

Walking Your Dog

Walking Your Dog

Dogs were meant to move. They were not born to be chained up in your backyard for weeks on end doing nothing but looking at the sky, laying in dirt, and eating that bowl of food you bring once a day. Seriously, does it take a rocket scientist to know this fact? My Grandpa Smith wasn’t exactly the greatest dog care-taker on the planet, but he knew this. In the off seasons from squirrel and rabbit hunting, he took the dogs out 2-3 times per week to just let them run until they couldn’t run anymore. Dogs are not backyard ornaments! Alright, I’m getting a little preachy here but I’m wanting to share with you the joy that comes from walking your dog.

 

  1. You and your dog are buddies. Dogs are social creatures. They need attention. Not only that, but they give as well as they get. They crave interaction with you. Without that love and bonding, dogs grow bored and develop all kinds of anxieties, behavioral problems, and lose socialization skills. You got the dog because you thought it would fill in an empty place in your heart. That pretty ball of fur will do just that, if you spend some time with it.

  2. Walking is training. Every day, dogs have a certain amount of renewed energy that needs to be spent. Look, you paid good money for that expensive dog food, so why not get the benefits from it? Use that time to teach your dog how to walk properly. Use that time to talk to your dog. Use that time to teach your dog life is good and interact in great ways by teaching the critter to sit, stay, come…jump after a Frisbee. Come on, you can do it!

  3. Walking is exercise. Do you know how many obese dogs and people come into my practice everyday? (Yes, I went there, so deal.) The best way to help control weight is good muscle tone, good exercise, and good routine. The benefits are so well documented. My friend said, “Well I don’t have anyone to walk with.” Hello! You have a dog chained up in your backyard! Both of you need this, so get moving. (Me, too, by the way).

  4. Walking is for everybody. So, you can think of examples where it’s not for everybody: congratulations smarty-pants. For the other 80% of us, walking is just fine and you know it. Remember, you don’t have to walk 10 miles. Start with 1/4 of a mile. Work up from there. It doesn’t matter if your dog is 180 pounds or 3 pounds, move. You can make adjustments for the appropriate distance for any shape, size, or weight.

  5. Walking is exploration. There are a million things for your dog to smell. There are a million sounds to be heard. There are a thousand things for you to see. Every time you walk, there is a new discovery waiting for you. Go find it.

  6. Walking your dog is therapy. You pay unbelievable amounts of money for everything under the sun to help relax. Guess what? Walking your pet is FREE. No seriously, it’s free. However, you need to hurry, because I’m sure our government officials are trying to figure out how to tax walking your dog right now, so best get after it before they turn it into tax revenue.

  7. Walking your dog is FUN! Come on, you need to laugh more. It will do your heart good to see that dog bark at a rodent. You’ll giggle as it tucks its tail afraid of its own shadow. So, I deem it necessary. Go walk your dog.

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