Dog Trainer: You Shouldn’t Walk Your Dog Every Day, Despite Popular Belief
The best-selling author of STOP Walking Your Dog encourages people not to walk their dogs every day. Instead, Niki French encourages dog owners to replace their 30-minute walk with an alternative, even more stimulating activity.
For most dog owners, a daily walk is part of their pet’s routine and is also essential. However, for dog trainer Niki, 53, the habit is old – and one she strongly disagrees with.
“Replacing walk time with house training games can give dogs the skills they lack to live calm, happy lives,” Niki said. The mirror. “It may come as a surprise, but traditional walks are a human invention and not useful for many of our dogs.”
Niki launched her first Don’t Walk Your Dog Day yesterday, Saturday April 2, to raise awareness that “not all dogs thrive on daily walks”.
“Contrary to popular belief, dogs with behavioral issues may become more reactive or more excitable when we try to exhaust them with too much exercise,” she said. “A growing number of my clients have nervous or reactive dogs and I’ve shown them all the amazing activities you can do at home to help dogs develop the skills they lack to be happy on walks.”
Niki has a two-year-old rescue dog named Bodie at home, who is “noticeably calmer” with fewer walks and more enrichment play.
“Skipping a few walks can help both dogs and owners relax,” Niki continued. “When more than half of the walks are stressful (for the dog or for you), it’s time to do something different.”
There are many reasons owners could benefit from skipping a walk. For example, if it is too hot or too cold, it can be dangerous for the dog. Also, for new unvaccinated puppies, female dogs in season, and sick dogs, a walk may not be the best solution.
“Playing games at home is a great way to develop the skills our dogs need and strengthen our relationship with them,” Niki said. “It’s good to have other things in your toolbox. This applies to all dogs, and surprisingly it can work best for breeds that need a lot of exercise.”
Niki has been an animal lover all her life and became a dog trainer three years ago. She focuses on positive reward and enrichment games like digging sandboxes, playing with cardboard boxes, using lick mats, and hide-and-seek activities.
For dog owners with reactive or anxious pets, leaving the house for a simple walk can be intimidating and stressful.
“I want these people to know that they are not alone and that we are not judging them,” Niki said.
For more information, visit https://go.puptalk.co.uk/awareness-day
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