How well do you know your neighbours? And how well do you know your neighbour’s dogs? Ever notice that there’s a list of regulars that pound the streets and pavements with their pets by their sides. Ever notice that there’s another list of dogs that always stay behind locked fences and rarely make it out the front gate. Why do you think this is so?
Research has proven that a dog needs at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. The less active the dog, the more prone it is to health issues and the less happier it is – ie. more likely to have a range of behavioural problems. RSPCA recently made an announcement that less than half of Australia’s dog owners walk their dog.
In my neighbourhood there’s a definite list of the ‘Usual Suspects’ when it comes to taking your dog for a walk. Statistically our street is doing pretty good. At least 80% of the dogs down our street go out regularly with their owners. It helps that we are blessed with a good-sized park nearby. It acts as incentive for most of us to pop out from behind our gates and let our dogs have a sniff around and socialize.
Being a regular dog walker means I come across many of my neighbourhood buddies. Not all dogs are friendly (and not all dog owners are either) but invariably it leads to conversations beyond the weather and with it comes a little bit of added knowledge about the community I live in. There’s also those feel good vibes that seem to come automatically with a pleasant encounter with another human being and their pet.
So with the obvious benefits that come from taking your dog out regularly what stops the other owners from getting out? I assume the factors are lack of time, weather conditions or just purely the behaviour of the dog when it’s out on the leash. Yet many of these people still have time to switch the TV or computer on when they arrive home. As for weather conditions it isn’t really an excuse in the mild temperate region that I live in. And with today’s range of dog accessories on the market I believe there’s a leash to suit every type of dog and every doggy behavioural trait out there. Not really valid excuses when you add it all up.
One thing that comforts me though, is at least they’ve held onto their dogs. They have yet to join that other large percentage of people that put dog ownership in the too hard basket and take their pet to the nearest shelter when they move past the ‘cute’ stage. Ultimately I’m happy that these dogs have a secure home and a regular feed each day.
But I wonder what it is that helps motivate dog owners to get out more with their pets. Events such as the RSPCA Million Paws Walk happens annually in Australia and it is the biggest yearly fundraiser for the organisation. Thousands of pet owners converge at meeting points throughout the country to get together with like-minded people to walk and raise awareness for a cause. Does this propel participants to become more active with their dogs in the future? Perhaps it does when they realize how much fun it can be to be out there with their pup. Are events like this a step towards a wave of change?
What prompts you to get out with your pet? How do you think we can motivate the other half?
This post is also part of the Fit Dog Friday Blog hop.