Its not a competition, but what time do you get up to walk your dog?
What are your dog walking habits?I was recently at the Altona Dog Obedience clubs trials and presentation day and got to talk to many avid dog fans.
These are not just people who say they like their dogs, but actually go to the effort to attend training sessions every week and take their dogs with them when they go places.
Many of these people also walk their dogs regularly. Why would people who spend time training their dogs also walk their dogs you might ask? Because any good dog trainer will tell you that you are going to get much faster results from a dog that is allowed to have fun (off lead) and who has burnt some energy before they have a training session so they are much more settled and can take it in.
The really wise people who walk their dogs every morning also realise that their dogs will be healthier (they will have less vet bills), their garden will be dug up less, their neighbours will complain about barking less ... and they also as owners enjoy it themselves.
Dont get me wrong, not everybody who was at the training sessions walk their dog every day, as like the rest of the human race, for some reason, that task seems too arduous for many ... but I did meet one great exception (I didn't talk to everyone about their dog walk habits). This lady gets up somewhere between 2 and 3 am to take her dog for a walk so she can leave for work by 5:30 am. She does this most days of the week.
Can you imagine that discipline and love of her dog, not to mention her knowing what is best for her dog and delivering that day after day only for the reward of knowing how much that gives her dog. Sure she has probably endured some pretty bad days when she didn't take her dog for a walk in the morning, but that is 'by the way'. She does this out of love, out of responsibility and gets paid back 1000 times.
Now I know a lot of people who never walk their dog in any season. I know some who only walk it during 'nice' weather in spring and autumn, and some who think that their dogs are lucky to get a Sunday walk with them to a cafe (one walk per week).
What are my dog walking habits?So even as a pro dog walker I know there are many people out there 'out doing' my effort to walk my own dog. I only walk him off lead twice a day, knowing ideally for his health it should be three times. I know I would have more control over his weight and he would be more settled at night time. I know that if he was used as a hunting dog (his original purpose) he would be infinitely more satisfied than this half way house urban existence we have shoe horned him into. But I too have limitations.
But then I benchmark my own discipline and effort with my dog, and try not to be smug in the knowledge that at least I try. Sometimes it is just plainly a lack of knowledge that has people not walk their dog. Sure it is convenient not to give up any of your precious time to something that people see as a job rather than a pleasurable experience, but I wonder why these people get dogs in the first place. I know the benefits that humans get from dogs (psycological), but I dont get how these people don't see how many more benefits they would receive with a little more effort on their own part (or a walkers).
Dog walking is a curious thing. A thing that very few people see as mandatory, and because there are no laws once you acquire a dog, except for what the council and courts consider to be cruelty, dogs in many homes live a very diminished life. Dogs are being kept away from their own kind, and never given the chance to meet new dogs (a fundamental right of dogs everywhere). This site is just about helping one dog, one owner, one at a time.
May all the dogs lives in Australia be improved by knowledge their owners get and act on, for the benefit of their dogs, and their selves.