Do I Have to Walk my Dog if I Have a Garden?
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There is a widespread idea that suggests having a large garden, or a large yard, is sufficient for a dog to exercise. Sadly for many dogs living in gardens, this is a myth.
In fact, most dogs living in apartments are generally more active and physically fit than those living in homes. This happens simply because the owners are obliged to go out for walks two or three times a day. AnimalWised want to explain why a dog that has a garden needs to go for walks too.
Physical, mental and social needs
Dogs, like any living thing, need motivation to exercise. They need to walk around outside to urinate or socialize with dogs. These activities motivate the dog and stimulate them.
In contrast, dogs living in garden homes often spend more time lying around than playing, walking or running. The only exception, of course, are puppies, which play most of the time. On the other hand, it is true that dogs that live with other dogs have more opportunities and motivations to play and exercise, but still in many cases this is insufficient.
As our dear canine companions do not need to earn a living and work their fingers to the bone like humans, so they are not forced to exercise every day. The comfort with which they live is a risk to their health and currently there is already a large proportion of obese dogs in developed countries. Exactly like humans, dogs can also have a sedentary lifestyle.
Why does this myth exist?
When a dog discovers a new garden they act with much enthusiasm. They will search every corner, sniff around and mark their territory. It is usual then to consider that the dog has had enough movement. However, after a short time, the dog stops feeling stimulated by that environment, which causes boredom and lack of motivation.
Furthermore, if the dog does not have access to the indoors and is alone, we are subconsciously encouraging the appearance of some behavior problem. If you want to know more about this subject visit our article: Should dogs live inside or outside?
This fact may also confuse us. When people go out into the garden, or when the dog is allowed to, they react with such enthusiasm (jumps on his human relatives, runs around, barks etc.) This suggests that they are happy and in shape. What we do not see, however, is what the dog does the rest of the time. Once the initial enthusiasm of going out into the garden passes, most dogs go to rest. Many of them even spend most of the day sleeping.
Benefits of combining garden and daily walks
So, even if you have a big garden, make sure your dog gets enough exercise. Daily walks are very important, since in addition to exercising the dog, we keep their cardiopulmonary system in good condition, and socialize with other dogs and people. This stimulates them and helps avoid boredom.
The ideal is to do between one and two walks a day if you have a garden, but may vary if the dog is especially active, such as the border collie, for example.
Do not forget training. Intelligence games do not provide the same physical exercise as walks, but the mental exercise that it provides is fundamental for any dog and helps burn surplus energies.
Sometimes it is true that the garden may be necessary if you have a very large or very active dog, but still a garden is not enough. You can supplement walks with some intense play time in the garden, but always remember that in the long run, this does not replace the walks that dogs need.
If your dog lives in a house with a garden we encourage you to stimulate them daily and, whenever possible, take them with you to new and amazing places. They will enjoy it like never before!
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