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Why does a dog need regular walks?

December 30, 2016

 

It’s only been one day. But it feels like an eternity of days since my last walk—seven to be exact. Things move so fast for a guy like me. It’s hard to keep everything in line: the mailman, Lucy the cat, the tennis ball, all my bones. Did I get to that last fire hydrant on our last walk, or did we turn one block too early? I know I got the rose bushes in front of Mrs. Tackett’s house, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember if I got to the trees by the schoolyard. See what I mean?

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got a pretty good life. It’s not all drama and stress. We live in a nice neighborhood, I get groomed steadily, and my meals magically appear in my bowl on schedule, like clockwork.

 

My family loves me. When they went on vacation last year, Mom hired a professional dog walker who took me to every dog park in Columbus. I got to see some old friends and met some promising dog sitters.

 

Yep, I’ve got it pretty good. But things get hectic from time to time. Like anyone, I need to find some balance—get out and clear my head. Like anyone, I don’t want to put on the extra pounds during the holiday season. I know everyone thinks I should be grateful. I do get the occasional walk. And I’m really thankful for it.

 

But I need more than that…

 

The trainer once told my mom that I like to be given a job when I’m with her. I miss that trainer. He always had a little baggy with bits of bacon that found their way into my mouth. All I had to do was sit, lie down, roll over, or bark when he told me to. It was amazing!

 

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Where was I?

 

The job…

 

I like to listen—well, not to all the noises in the world. The tornado warning on Wednesdays at noon freak me out, and I hate thunderstorms. But, generally, I like to listen. I get such a sense of accomplishment when my mom gives me something to do, I listen closely, and I do it! It makes me want to be a better dog.

 

But in order to hear her commands clearly, I need a whole lot more than just a cup of food in the morning and the evening, or the occasional walk. Sure, we live in a decent sized house, with plenty of room to run around, but I have to admit: I’m bored.

 

I need more activity than just chasing Lucy. She’s so quick, and really good at hiding in small, dark places. I move one inch toward her, and she disappears.

 

I need more than one fetch for the tennis ball when Mark gets off the bus.

 

My bones are all gnawed down the core. They all smell the same, now.

 

The mailman? He’s no fun: he opens the mailbox, I bark, and he runs to the neighbors.

 

And don’t get me started on Molly. She lives across the street. She gets like three walks a day, because her Mom hired a dog walker who just so happens to work at the best pet boarding establishment in town.

 

Speak of the devil.

 

As sure as I sit here on the couch writing, whom do I see out our front room window, strutting down the sidewalk, her head held high—gloating? Little Miss Sunshine. She better stay away from Mrs. Tackett’s bushes, or I’ll…

 

I’m sorry. I’m gettin’ all riled up. Molly’s a nice girl. She means no harm. It’s just that, the subject of walking gets me excited, if not a little frustrated. I just can’t wait to get out there and stretch out my legs, free my mind, and run off all this energy.

 

I can hold it together…

 

I can hold it together…

 

I can hold it together…

 

I’m sure I can hold it together until Mom gets home.

 

I certainly hope so. Because the legs on the dining room table are looking like real good candidates for my next bones. Those ornaments on the tree are beginning to take on the form of Mark’s tennis balls. Lucy the cat? More like Lucy the chicken. And that little commemorative statue of some strange looking fellow on the coffee table—I swear he just winked at me and dropped some mail in the box.

 

I can hold it together.

 

I will, because I’m a good dog. Of that much, I am confident. And I’m sure Mom will reward my behavior with a nice long walk this evening when she gets home.

 

But if not—like I stated above—there’s plenty of room to run around in this house.

 

Thanks for reading my first blog. I’d like to thank Shannon at Furball Fitness for inviting me to write an opinion piece for her website. Check back often if you’d like more information, but here are some quick tips to help you make sure that your dog gets more than just the occasional walk:

  • Add the phrase, “Walk the dog,” at least twice to that daily list on the bulletin board.

  • Hang the dog leash near the door you use most often. And when you get home, grab that leash before you take off your shoes.

  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. When Dad gets home and complains about how tired he is, or how hard his day was; remind him of all that you do every day, and shove that leash in his hand. If he complains further, give him “the look.” That seems to work like a charm.

  • Whether you are not able to do any of the above or all of the above, hire a dog sitter or professional dog walker. They do a great job of turning a normal walk into a training session.

  • If all else fails, remind yourself that us dogs, too, have a lot on our plates. We, too, have to remain healthy. We, too, need to clear our heads and blow off steam. Remind yourself that we are loyal friends, full of love and energy. Remind yourself that we never refer to owners as owners. To us, you are Mom and Dad.

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