The importance of Walkies
Have you every been under house arrest? Or just been stir crazy after being snowed in for too long? I personally feel restless and unfulfilled when I can't leave the house for days on end. I experienced this feeling at a younger age when my car broke down and I didn't have any transportation from my rural home for about a week, and frequently during the harsh Oregon winters when it became impossible to leave the driveway in my Toyota Camry. At first its pretty cool, sitting around watching tv, catching up on school work or cleaning the house. But after 2 days I'd start to feel suffocated by the monotony of my life and walls around me would start closing in, I felt as if I was going crazy. Every little thing would send my frustration over the edge and suddenly shoveling the driveway and 3 miles down the road didn't sound so bad.
This is how dogs feel when they don't get to leave the house. They have energy that needs to be expelled everyday the same way people do, but unfortunately for them, they don't have jobs to occupy 8 hours of their day. A lot of destructive behavior is a result of an under-exercised dog. They'll start chewing the furniture or shoes to release some of their frustrations, or provide some entertainment in their boring day. I feel truly sorry for dogs who don't get walked, they don't have much to live for except for the comings and goings of their owner.
Typically, I like to get up in the morning and take my dogs out to go potty, then I'll have breakfast, then take them for a walk. Sometimes it'll be directly from the house, other times I'll drive to a park and spend about 45min to an hour walking and letting them sniff and pee and just be dogs. It's important for their mental and physical health. I also take them out after dinner for a stroll in the neighborhood to do their business before bed. I feel like this is the minimum amount of time they need to be happy. On weekends we like to go on long hikes and on nice sunny days we spend a lot of time hanging outside in the sun
I encourage you to start walking with your dog everyday. Start with just 15 minutes, once you're up and out of the house you'll likely want to keep going. If your dog is difficult to walk enlist the help of a local trainer, or email me for advice.
Daily exercise isn't going to reverse all bad behaviors, but it's a good place to start.