How can a happier dog help you be happier? Here’s what our dogs truly crave…
Here are 6 reasons to head outdoors with your dog, and help both of you get your tails wagging!
It might be that you’re not naturally an outdoors-lover. Or, maybe day after day you’re stuck at your computer, with deadlines to meet. But take a moment to look down at your feet; sitting right there—giving you a big, longing look—is your ever-faithful, four-legged friend.
Just about all our pups are patiently waiting for one thing. It’s a treat that’s often even more compelling than food for some of our pals: going outdoors!
If you’re on the fence about whether to lace up your shoes, here are seven things to inspire you to get up and head outdoors with your dog!
1. Activating your dog’s mental muscles
Some dogs will chew the spines off every book on your bookshelf… others seem to be glued to the floor, sleeping their lives away. Either way, getting your dog outside will stimulate their sense of smell, prompt their curiosity, and get the blood and hormones pumping through their body and brain.
High energy dogs especially need the mental stimulation of play. If your dog tends to be on the destructive side, it may be because he is bored. But even low-energy dogs can turn back the clock and become happier and more playful when they get outdoor time (tip: it works for people too!).
2. Training time disguised as playtime.
Play time is the perfect time to learn new skills! Teaching your dog to fetch a ball is more than just play, you’re also instilling important commands: “come” and “drop it.” It’s also a great time to reinforce the commands “sit” and “wait.”
Even walking properly on a leash involves being able to be attentive to you and respond to your cues—a trained quality that will serve you well at home and outside.
Reason to Head Outdoors #3: Keeping in shape!
Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to tone your thighs. And it’s not doing your dog any favors either! Research indicates that over 56% of dogs are overweight, through a combination of too little activity, and too much food. Most dogs need more than their 2-3 brief bathroom walks a day to get the level of exercise needed for good health.
Lengthening your current walks by just 15 minutes each can add up to more than a 200-calorie burn for you. And for your dog, it can mean a few more treats won’t pack on the pounds. (Do build up activity slowly if either of you have been inactive!)
So, head outside and throw a ball, take an extra walk around the block, or join us at College for Pets for a light hike in the woods (or the woods near you for those far from NH).
4. Improving your social media game
How many photos on your Instagram feed are of you snuggling on the couch with your dog? Freshen up your feed and engage your friends’ admiration by mixing things up.
- How many likes can you get on a photo of you playing with your dog in front of a local landmark? (Probably more than the 10th pic of Fifi in the bathtub!)
- Give your profile pic a true landscape background.
- Recreate a famous photo–bonus points if you have to walk or drive to a park or other dog-friendly place. (Double bonus points if you’ve found your dog’s tennis ball by now!)
Every moment you stay glued to your computer, you’re losing out on valuable photo ops!
5. Meeting new people — and dogs!
Have you noticed how many people you meet walking in your neighborhood or at a dog-friendly location versus how many you meet at home playing Wordle by yourself? (The UPS guy doesn’t count, even if he likes your dog.)
Most dogs will benefit from being around other dogs. Expanding the environments your dog experiences will help them become better adjusted to the world outside of your front door.
Plus, dog people are the best. When else can you approach a stranger and tell her that you just LOVE that sweet puppy face? You can never have too many dogs and dog people in your life.
6. Head outdoors with your dog to explore new places
Don’t wait for a human pal to take a trip with you. Even if the road trip is just to a park in another neighborhood or a new part of town, you can explore all of it together. That loving face at your feet is the most committed soul in your life. It’s Road Trip time! You’re never alone if you have your best friend by your side. Have you ever seen a retriever discover a lake or the ocean for the first time? Precious!
So, what are you waiting for? Head outdoors with your dog—and enjoy the heart-and-mind benefits for both of you.