Walk Your Dog Month is celebrated in January so what better way to kick start your New Year’s Resolutions than to plan some new walks to stimulate your dog and work off some of those festive treats.

It’s a no-brainer that taking regular walks provides health benefits for both you and your dog(s) and it is less expensive than the gym! Why not look out for a dog walking group too… it’s a great way to meet like-minded people and find new places to exercise.

Walk Your Dog Month provides the perfect excuse to set some small targets and create routines that are beneficial for the entire family, and what better way to put your Barking Bag through its paces.

As the days are still short, make sure you wear something bright or reflective. Some of our bags have reflective straps but there are good reflective leads and collars on the market too. In the winter months, protect your dog’s feet from the elements - ice, snow, de-icers and grit can all cause nasty sores so be sure to protect your dog’s feet and wash them down afterwards.

Ensure your dog is warm enough (or cool enough) and provide fresh water.

How long should I walk my dog and how often?

Walking is a vitally important part of any dog’s daily routine and will help keep them physically and mentally healthy. Let’s face it, they also need a chance to have a pee and a poop. If you already own a Barking Bag, you’ll be able to carry poo bags easily and the extendable pocket means that you can carry the unmentionable stuff until you can dispose of it safely.

Although there’s no perfect formula to determine how often to walk your dog, most dogs need at least 1-2 walks per day (unless otherwise specified by your vet or if they are old or still a puppy. The general rule of thumb or should it be paw, is to exercise puppies in one to two sessions of five minutes walking for each month of age. So, if you have a four month old pup he/she could enjoy walks of 20 minutes at a time, once or twice a day.

A brisk walk and ball games offer a great opportunity for your dog to burn off extra energy, but a slow, meandering walk is equally beneficial, offering your dog a chance to explore and sniff. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise you’ll probably know, they are likely to pile on the pounds and they can be attention seeking and destructive (my dog always manages to find paper to rip when she’s bored). Taking a walk is good for me too. It pulls me away from the screen and gives me some great bonding time. I love her enthusiasm and it always lifts my spirit too.

When deciding how often to walk your dog, consider their age, activity level, health, and breed. Younger dogs with more energy benefit from more frequent walks. On the other hand, senior dogs with mobility issues do fine with fewer walks.

Using a lead is important for control and safety and essential if you are walking in fields with sheep or cattle, but walking while tethered to a human isn’t normal for curious dogs, and they need time to run and explore. Make sure your dog has good recall (any quality dog trainer will help you with this) and with patience, training, AND TREATS, you can teach your dog loose-lead walking or permit them to walk off lead.

Top tips for enjoying Walk You Dog Month

  • Vary your walks and find some new ones to keep YOU interested as well as your dog
  • Why not arrange to meet friends for a walk rather than meeting in a café?
  • Even if they don’t have a dog themselves they may well love the excuse to get out and it makes chatting so much more natural
  • See if there are any dog walking groups locally. They might not be your cup of tea but it’s a good way to socialise your dog(s) and the clubs often introduce you to some new walks
  • Press your local café and pub into becoming dog friendly and promote those that are already welcoming pets.
  • Teach your dog some new tricks and don’t forget to pop some treats into your Barking Bag
  • Why not offer to take a friend’s dog for a walk. It could be the start of a routine that helps you both
  • Enjoy the walk and if you discover somewhere new, share it with a friend
Robert Angell