Living with a pet, particularly a dog, is an enrichment for everyone who loves animals. But, as with all kinds of pets, the most important thing before taking a dog into your home, is making sure that you will be able to satisfy all the new family member’s needs. Dogs are very sensitive and social individuals.
One of the most important you need to provide is enough exercise by taking it out on walks. Some people may think that a dog is satisfied with playing in the yard or dog park but walks are not only crucial for its physical health, they also allow them to see new things, discover all kinds of distractions, get used to regularly seeing foreign people, socialize with other dogs, get used to traffic and noises of daily life.
A healthy, adult dog needs at least 2 hours of walking per day. For puppies, it is a little different. Their bones and joints are still fragile and soft. For them, the average is 1 minute of walking per week of age. This means an 11 week-old puppy should not be walked more than 11-15 minutes at once.
There are wonderful places in and around Germany where dogs can run freely and off the leash. And your dog is not the only one who will benefit from the walks: going out into nature, breathing fresh air, exercising and meeting new people is just as healthy for us humans. A lot of German citizens speak English and encountering fellow dog owners often leads to new friendships.
Taking your dog on walks means that your furry friend needs to be well-trained: it should not pull on the leash, bark at people or other dogs. Those are very important skills, which your dog should learn quickly. Otherwise walks can be more than frustrating for the both of you. Once your dog has learned to behave outside, you will see how refreshing and relaxing a dog walk can be. It will come home, exhausted and satisfied, happy to simply lie down and take a nap for the next 2 or 3 hours, dreaming of all the exiting things he has just encountered. And believe me, you will feel the same. Nothing better than a good walk in fresh air!
During the winter months you might lack the motivation to go out and may consider cutting your usual routes short once the days do the same. However, winter walks come with a number of health benefits and should not be underestimated, not to mention the fact that your dog does not care about the weather and still needs his daily workout.
Once you’ve given your body a few minutes to adjust to the cold, nothing but good things will follow. Any form of exercise, no matter the pace, increases your overall energy for the rest of the day while simultaneously helping you sleep better and longer at night. Vitamin D is crucial to your bones’ health by supporting your body in absorbing calcium and noticeably boosts your mood as it functions like a natural antidepressant.
Unplugging for as little as one hour each day can help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety as well as inspiring you to enjoy the beauty that’s right in front of you, be it nature, friends you meet on your walks or simply your dog’s happy face as it frolics through snow-covered fields.
Bonus: your body will burn more calories as it’s trying extra hard to keep you warm. And finally, think about how accomplished and relaxed you’ll feel once you and your furry buddy curl up on the couch with a well-deserved cup of hot chocolate or tea.