Did you hear that Germany will be introducing a new law in 2021 which requires dog owners to walk their pups twice a day?! The requirement is one hour in total.
It is a shame that a country needs to put in place a law to get dog owners to exercise their dogs. I do understand to some extent how the best of intentions as a pet owner do not get up and go in practicality. As a dog owner myself I started out with the best of intentions. MY dog would be exercised regularly, MY dog would only do their business in a designated area (if only), MY dog would be fed only the best food, MY dog would be groomed regularly including cleaned teeth and so on.
Many of us kept up with this routine for quite some time before life got in the way and some of you may still do everything you set out to do to keep your dog as happy as Larry. However for me, life has certainly changed. Two children and two businesses later the poor Dog gets loved a lot, groomed regularly enough to keep the knots at bay and fed extremely well. However like a vivacious toddler the Dog would not do its business while I waited in the rain or sunshine in the spot I chose and thus this approach to keeping my grassy backyard free of alien like burn patterns and smudgy poo was abandoned. Along with training the Dog, his exercise and stimuli have certainly fallen to the wayside more than I care to admit.
As we move into the festive season many of us have the opportunity to take a short break from work. This will be a much needed rest and relaxation period after a strenuous year. It is time to pick up where we never should have left off. Walking a dog not only benefits them but greatly benefits you. As I recently read Phosphorescence by author Julia Baird I learnt from her writing that, “In short: when we are exposed to sunlight, trees, water or even just a view of green leaves, we become happier, healthier and stronger.” A dog has no choice but to live and react in a world that its owner has designed for it. They depend on us to be caring and compassionate to their needs.
If consistency is the root of all problems as it is to most of mine, I would recommend starting with some small goals. Some examples:
- Buy an appropriate leash and collar (personally I love the jogging style leash that clips around your waist, this way you get both hands free if you need them).
- Buy compostable dog waste bags to pick up any messes along the way.
- If you are not ready to leave the house or it is late evening when you have time, pick up a glow in the dark ball for backyard fun.
- Throw the ball for your dog each afternoon before you give them their evening meal (This would also be a good time to ensure you refresh their water for the day). Just a few minutes would be a good starting point. Gradually you can build this new exercise plan up to an appropriate amount of time based on your dogs requirements always alternating between games and walking.
- If you are ready to get out into the great outdoors, choose a safe local route to start. Start off on your local footpaths rather than setting off in the car to a dog park or beach. The easier we make it for ourselves the more likely we are to successfully stay consistent.
- Jot down your daily activities with your dog in the calendar or diary. Make fun of it and try to achieve a set period of time where you consistently exercise with your furry pal. Again this could be 5 minutes a day to start. We don’t need to be ALL or NOTHING with our pets.
Start today. Don’t set a start date of Monday or the 1st of… Will power is overrated. We will not be our better self tomorrow as we planned on being today (that 3pm slump sugar pick me up...). We just need to get started and that means this afternoon, tonight, even for 5 minutes. Surely you can give your dog the respect and love it deserves right now. I don’t think this is too much to ask.
Lets enjoy the benefits of a New Year resolution in the remaining days of 2020 and carry strong resolve into the New Year as healthier and happy people and pets!
Here is to a happy and healthy end to the year!