The art of walking old dogs, and why walk them at allMost people who don't walk dogs regularly in large packs don't understand a lot of common dog behaviour issues or needs. For instance when dogs get old, many people 'wrap them in cotton wool' and think of them in terms of human palliative care. Unfortunately for dogs this is more likely to kill them.
Owners think the best thing to do for the dog is keep it somewhere nice and dark waiting to die. Don't risk it hurting its arthritic legs, don't risk it being bitten in a dog park, don't put any stress on it.
The sad fact is that many of these dogs have never really been walked much for the good years of their lives, and owners are just further mitigating responsibility.
A lot of people who rescue dogs, young dogs, do exactly the same, they tell me that they keep their dogs nice and safe out of harm's way in their back yards.
ANY DAY YOU KEEP A DOG AWAY FROM MAKING FRIENDS WITH ANOTHER DOG, IS A WASTED DAY FOR YOUR DOG.Dogs are pack animals by nature, one of the strongest pack animals of all species. They crave the company of other dogs.
No balanced social dog likes to fight, nor does it crave the company of unbalanced aggressive dogs, and fortunately most dog parks in Australia have sensible owners with social dogs.
But even some people who have walked their dogs for much of the dogs life retire walks after the dog turns 10 or 12 or whatever the magic number is.
I don't walk dogs when they can no longer walk, and every step causes pain. If I get an old dog I make sure that we are doing a reduced length walk. As dogs age, they still have life left in them. They still want to see other dogs, they want to sniff bushes, they want to mark territory.
They are social and they want to have blood coursing through their veins again. Walking helps them expel toxins from their bodies. It helps them build an appetite. In short it extends their life and makes the quality of their life increase.
Adult dogs naturally take it easier on puppies and old dogs. As a social dog knows, these are members of the pack that need more care, they are not to be discarded. When a puppy over plays with an adult dog, the adult (social) dog usually tries to ignore it, but will sometimes engage in puppy mouthing or a loud bark to give a lesson in how far it is allowed to go. It does not attack or harm the puppy. Likewise this happens to old dogs with dementia. Old dogs are given the same leeway and respect of young dogs.
I walk a few older dogs right now in my pack. Some are a little deaf, blind or have some dementia. the main thing I do to keep them safe is to let them off lead when we have reached a play spot so they can meander, smell and socialise - engage with their own kind in a FREE way. Outdoors like they should be allowed to experience.
NO DOG, except those very young, or near deaths door and can't walk, should be deprived of walking. IN fact many experts believe they should be given more walks per day, over less distance of course .. so they want to breathe, expel waste, and eat again.
ALL DOGS deserve a small sample of freedom, and that is what a social pack feels like for a dog, in a safe dog park! if you want to hear more about what we can do for your dog in the inner west of Melbourne please contact us !