February 22 Is 'Walk the Dog Day': No More Excuses, Animal Behavior College Wants Owners to Walk Their Dogs Every Day

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Walking the dog daily is not only healthy, but strengthens the relationship between owners and their pets

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Daily walks are a good way to mentally stimulate your dog as well as curb common behavior problems, such as destructive chewing and excessive barking.

Seize the day, and while doing so, walk the dog. February 22 is “Walk the Dog Day,” a day set aside to remind dog owners about the importance of walking their pooches. Although it is a one-day observance, Animal Behavior College (ABC) recommends dog owners use this day to begin a daily walking program. In addition to health benefits, daily walks are an excellent way to spend quality time and strengthen the bond between owners and their four-legged friends.

“There is a general assumption that dogs get a lot of exercise from daily walks,” said Heidi Voll, program manager of Animal Behavior College’s Dog Obedience Program (DOP) and a professional dog trainer. “However, some dog owners do not walk their dogs daily despite the number of studies and health warnings from veterinarians. Daily walks are a good way to mentally stimulate your dog as well as curb common behavior problems, such as destructive chewing and excessive barking.”

Walking Fido daily can also keep him from getting fat. In fact, more than 50 percent of dogs in the U.S. are estimated to be overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention’s 2013 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey (dog statistics). The association, which is comprised of veterinarians and veterinary healthcare professionals, works to improve the health of pets and their people. The survey noted that as obesity among dogs increases, so do weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers. The association recommends that pet owners stop feeding their pets high-calorie treats, fatty foods and snacks. Instead, they should read labels carefully and use a measuring cup to determine portion sizes.

To commit to a daily walking routine, ABC recommends:

Scheduling a Time. Dogs like routines and have an innate sense of time. Choose a specific time to walk each day and stick to it. For example, take the dog for a walk before leaving for work and after returning home. Treating walks like appointments increases the likelihood the dog will go on walks consistently and on schedule.

Starting Slowly. To avoid injuries, beginners should consult their doctor and their dog’s veterinarian before starting any exercise program. Depending on the dog’s age, breed, health and size, most need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Start by walking the dog four to five times each week in 10 to15-minute increments. Overtime, gradually increase the amount of time to 30 minutes, etc.

Mastering the Walk. Walking can be relaxing and fun. However, being dragged down the street can be a frustrating. For this reason, it is important to teach the dog to walk comfortably by the owner's side, not pulling or lagging behind. With consistency and practice, mastering the walk will make the activity much more enjoyable.

Using Sturdy Equipment. Ensure that the dog's collar, harness and leash are durable and secure to provide a safe walking experience.

Being Aware of Inclement Weather or Blazing Temperatures. If the weather is too hot or cold, engage the dog in interactive indoor activities. For example, play “fetch” with a soft toy in the basement, hall or family room. Build an agility course or teach her a new trick. These activities not only promote exercise, but are stimulating, too.

Doing Other Activities. Consider adding different activities to your daily walks, such as a visit to a dog park or a walk at a dog-friendly beach or other venue. This will add variety to the routine.

In addition to dog trainer certification, ABC offers certification for pet groomers and veterinary assistants. The school also offers relevant CEPs on a variety of subjects, including, cat management and training, pet nutrition, pet massage, pet sitting and training shelter dogs.

To become a dog trainer and to learn more about Animal Behavior College, visit our website at http://www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com/info or call 800-795-3294.

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About Animal Behavior College
Animal Behavior College is the largest school for professional dog trainers in the U.S. To date, the college has certified and graduated more than 11,300 professional dog trainers, 4,200 veterinary assistants and 1,300 groomers through its dog trainer, veterinary assistance and grooming instruction programs. The college also offers a variety of relevant continuing education programs.

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Angela Pena
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