Most of us want, or feel the need, to walk our dogs. It’s what dogs and people do together, after all. It’s probably what you had in mind when you got a dog. But what if you didn’t have to walk your reactive dog? How would that change your life, and your dog’s?
Dogs need exercise and mental stimulation, just like we do. Most of us walk our dogs because we think it’s good for them. But if your dog freezes up on walks, or tries to run home, or if your dog lunges and barks frequently, your walks might be doing both of you more harm than good. If you dread your walks, there’s a good chance your dog isn’t have a great time either. There are many, many alternatives to neighborhood walks, some of which are summarized in this week’s infographic. You don’t HAVE to walk your reactive or fearful dog, despite what society tells us.
If you live in an apartment and don’t have a yard, you’re in a tougher spot. You have to choose between walking your dog at least briefly to “use the facilities,” or coming up with an indoor toileting option. There are an increasing number of indoor dog “toilets” commercially available, although they tend to be designed for smaller dogs. But even changing your routine from half hour walks to quick “business only” outings could significantly reduce your stress, and your dog’s.
Not included on this week’s infographic are dog walks outside of your neighborhood. If you have access to a car, you might be able to take your dog away from busy streets and to a quieter, rural location to walk. And for more help getting your fearful pup to engage with puzzle toys, check out our blog on the topic.