The Importance of the Walk for a Dog
Most people think that a dog walk is about taking Fido out for a stroll, a tinkle and a poop, but it's more than that. Way more.
Think about it: A typical wolf travels between 10 - 30 miles per day. While the main purpose of their perpetual journey is to secure food, lots of stuff happens in between. They track, they explore, they play, they fight - they survive. This not only keeps their bodies in top shape, but their brains as well. A wild canine's life is an epic series of expeditions that makes Homer's Odyssey look like a tip-toe through the tulips.
Imagine a typical lupine day:
Escaped a grizzly mauling in the morning, dug a den at noon, killed a moose before teatime and howled at the moon all night. Talk about a stimulating 24 hours, it's no wonder that wolves don't need iPhones.
All this to say that a wild canine's senses are stimulated to the max 6 days a week. (Little known fact, modern wolves take off Sundays). Catch where I'm going with this? You dog needs stimulation too. For example, when I walk my dog, DJ, I let him lunge at every squirrel he sees. So when the squirrel runs up a tree, I let DJ bark and jump towards that critter to his speeding heart's content. A dog needs to express the wolf within.
I used to be anal about having DJ heel next to me. After all, this is what they taught me in obedience school. Master must be in control. Wasn't long before I kissed this conventional wisdom goodbye. It seemed so ridiculous; my dog enjoyed sniffing and poking around the neighborhood too much for me to deprive of him of these simple pleasures and needs. The dog walk should really be a domesticated simulation of the wild canine expedition. Just taking Fido out for a quick jaunt, a tinkle 'n a poop ain't enough.
So please, cut your dog some slack during the walk. Let him sniff and explore, let him bark, let him growl, let him lunge. Your dog walk may not exactly be a Homeric Odyssey, but it belongs to your dog. It's his right! Trust me, when you become mindful of this primal reality, you will never look at your neighborhood the same way while walking the dog. And who knows, you might even start howling at the moon?