National Walk Your Dog Month sounds a bit strange to me. It’s not like your dog won’t need walked the rest of the year!
But, to mark the occasion, I thought I’d share some pictures and personal thoughts on the benefits of dog walking.
Firstly, January is notoriously bad weather-wise. This is why the default setting for many of us is to hibernate.
Perhaps spotlighting this month for getting out and about is actually a very wise idea! And what better encouragement can you have than the sad, plaintive eyes of your four-legged friend, desperate to break that cabin-fever feeling?
To be honest, I’m always glad once I have wrapped up and braved the outdoors.
It doesn’t take long to warm up, and a winter walk can be so invigorating. Talk about blowing away the cobwebs — there are frosty days when the cobwebs are crystallised!
Anyway, even under lockdown rules I’m still fortunate to have a local walk on my doorstep and I don’t need to go anywhere near the car in order to access it.
I have to admit, before we had little Roo — he’s now seven months old — I always enjoyed walking anyway, but a dog pushes you to go out in all weathers.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It doesn’t put too much pressure on the joints, and you can set daily targets to build up your fitness.
Just be aware of not only your own limitations but your dog’s, too.
Fresh air and being around nature is good for mental health. It gives you a break away from everything, and allows you space to think and time to process those thoughts.
You can practise mindfulness when you’re out — just be more aware of the sights, sounds and how you are feeling.
Daily walks are good for healthy weight control – for both you and your dog!
Walking a dog provides a chance for more social interaction, too. Dogs break down the barriers we often have when meeting strangers.
A fellow dogwalker already has something in common with you, which can help build connections and friendships.
Exploring different beauty spots is always a bonus, though even on a regular walk you have the chance to see new things (a low-flying buzzard was my most recent highlight).
If you’d like to share a special walk you’ve enjoyed with your dog, we’re always looking for lovely pet pictures for our Between Friends pages.
For more from the “Friend” team, read our blog here.