And that’s just what they’ll do this January because it’s National Walk Your Dog Month! So get up, grab the leash, and get movin’ this month and here’s why:
It boosts metabolism and lowers the rate of weight gain
An Australian study of 822 participants found that the average person gained 3.5 pounds over four years – except those that walked to work, who averaged only 1.5.
It boosts your mood
Robert Thayer, Ph.D., asked people to describe a problem in their life, then sent them on a brief 10-minute walk. When the participants returned they described their problems as less severe.
Lowers the risk of heart disease
A 2013 study found that both daily runners and walkers lowered their blood pressure by at least 4.2 percent and their risk of heart disease by at least 4.5 percent.
Of course, those benefits extend to dogs too – plus they’re exercising their natural instinct to get familiar with their surroundings through sniffing. For those who may need a little help on a leash, here are a few quick tips to help ensure you can both enjoy your time outside. Remember: practice makes perfect, the more you two get out together the more your dog will improve.
Curb their Excitement
If your pet goes nuts when you pick up the leash, just stand still and don’t react until they relax. It’s also not a bad idea to periodically pick up the leash and just set it down, so they don’t always associate it with getting out.
Keep ‘em Close
Start them on a short lead at first so that, eventually, it’ll turn into loose-leash walking because your pet’s used to staying close. It’s also a good time to treat them so they want to stay close to your hand.
Don’t give your pet the opportunity to dawdle and stop to smell every bush, leaf, or crack in the sidewalk; walk at a brisk pace and set the tone that now isn’t the time for all-out exploration.
If you’re planning on celebrating Walk Your Pet Month, snap a picture and post it to our Facebook page!