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Why you shouldnt walk your dog everyday?

Puppy and dog walking tips

Dog sat smiling at camera

Every dog owner has a duty of care to make sure that their dog gets at least one walk every day. Dog walking is something that the whole family can enjoy and, better still, it costs nothing at all – only your time.

Before going anywhere with your puppy or dog, it’s important that you understand what it means to be a responsible owner – whether it’s ensuring your puppy is well-socialised before heading out and about after pandemic restrictions, to preparing it for the outside world and making sure you know how to deal with its poo when out walking.

Frequently asked questions about walking your dog

How long should I walk my dog for?

The government recommends that we get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day and this is something that everybody can achieve — and go beyond — on a daily dog walk. The amount of exercise your dog needs will vary according to its breed, but every dog should have at least one walk a day, often two. Refer to our Breeds A to Z to find out more about the exercise needs of your chosen breed.

How good is walking for me and my dog?

Although dog walking is not a high-intensity workout, it is great for cardiovascular development, strengthening of muscles and bones and lowering blood pressure.

Hints and tips: What do I need to remember?

  • Choose the right collar and lead from the offset – they need to be comfortable, well-fitted and secure
  • Put in the groundwork, introducing the lead with rewards and praise, and ensuring your dog is happy and comfortable on a lead
  • Make sure your dog has an ID tag stating your contact details – this is a legal requirement. You can purchase tags and have them engraved in our online shop
  • Be patient and consistent when out with your puppy on walks – remember that they are still learning!
  • Make sure your puppy is trained to return to you when you call their name
  • Always take poo bags with you and dispose of your dog’s mess safely and cleanly
  • Know where you’re allowed to walk with your dog and check that any pitstops are dog-friendly
  • Take any food, treats, water and toys that you will need with you
  • Don’t exercise your puppy on a full stomach as this may contribute to bloat

What should I do if I lose my dog?

  • In the first instance you need to report your dog as missing to your local dog warden. If your dog has been picked up then it is likely to have ended up there
  • Notify your microchip database. If someone tries to update the details, they will notify you that this is happening
  • Contact websites such as Dog Lost — they can help spread the word
  • Social media is great at spreading the word. Be sure to attach a photo of your dog and provide the relevant details. Many dogs have been reunited with their owners through social platforms
  • Next, contact your local vets in the area — they too can receive dogs which have strayed away from their owners
  • Local rehoming centres can also receive lost dogs

Puppies vs dogs

The importance of play

For puppies, informal natural play is one of the most important forms of exercises, helping them to build up muscles, strengthen joints and learn how to be social and interact with others. Puppies tend to self-limit play, and will sleep a lot, but it’s important that they get that the opportunity to play and rest when they need to.

Formal exercise

Puppies need less ‘formal’ exercise than fully grown dogs. Taking them for long walks while they’re young can overtire them. You’ll know your dog best, and the amount of exercise a dog can manage will vary between breeds and dogs, but a good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes of formal exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown i.e., 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old and so on. As they become older, they’ll be able to cope with larger amounts of exercise.

Why exercise is important

Puppies and dogs can become frustrated and bored if they don’t get enough exercise, so it’s important that they go out for exercise every day. Formal exercise away from their normal environment gives them different environments to explore and is a great way to provide them with mental stimulation. Time and play spent in your garden should be encouraged, but it’s no substitute for going out for a walk and exploring new environments or socialising with other dogs. Make sure your puppy is trained to return to you when you call their name to help keep them safe and secure when you need to.

Risks to joints

Some types of exercise can increase a puppy’s risk of developing certain joint problems that can be permanent, painful and debilitating. To reduce this risk, it’s important that puppies:

  • Avoid high impact exercise, such as jumping from heights or being taught to jump
  • Avoid exercise that involves sharp sudden turns, such as chasing a ball. Never throw sticks for any dogs as they can splinter, wound or impale a dog when picked up in their mouth
  • Avoid using the stairs until at least 12 weeks old, but this may be longer for some larger breeds
  • Stay a healthy weight, as overweight puppies have an increased risk of joint disease as they mature

It’s also important to never exercise your puppy on a full stomach, as this can contribute to a life-threatening health issue known as bloat.

If in doubt, your breeder, breed club or vet will also be able to offer support and advice about the best ways to exercise your puppy.

Training and socialisation

It is important that all dogs, but especially puppies, are taught social skills that enable them to be confident, happy and safe in a range of environments and situations. From having household visitors to encountering other dogs, ensuring your puppy is equipped with key life skills will prevent difficult and sometimes concerning behavioural problems.

You should think about enrolling your dog in training classes. See our dog training page for more information, including games you can try at home and a list of The Kennel Club’s accredited instructors.

Being responsible

All owners should clean up after their dog. This keeps people and animals safe, as well as keeping our streets, countryside, and beaches pleasant and clean. Always take a supply of bags with you whenever you leave the house and pick up any mess straight away, sealing the bag and placing the waste in a bin. The bin doesn’t have to be a dog waste bin: a normal litter bin is suitable as well. If there are no bins in the area, then take the bag home and dispose of it in your own bin.

Don’t throw the bag over fences, hang it on a tree or leave the bag on the ground. It is worth making a note of where the public bins are on your route so that you can dispose of the waste responsibly. If you notice that there aren’t any bins in your local area, please contact your local council to let them know. More information about this issue and being a responsible dog owner is available via our Canine Code.

The Dog Walking Code

For those not located in England, there is specific guidance for responsible dog walking in your nation. National guidance should always be followed when you are out walking with your dog, and will allow you to enjoy your visit to the countryside whilst educating you on how to act responsibly to preserve the environment for others. Guidance for each nation can be found below:

It is important that you are aware of the Countryside Code to keep your pet safe, protect the environment and show that you are a responsible dog owner.

The Countryside Code

  • Control your dog so that it does not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife
  • When using the new access rights over open country and common land, you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July — and all year round near farm animals. You may not be able to take your dog at all on some areas or at some times. Please follow any official signs
  • You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as they are under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on their obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals
  • If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead — don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect them
  • Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs, or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife
  • Across the UK, 7 in 10 livestock attacks are caused by unaccompanied dogs, e.g. dogs that have escaped your garden. Make sure your garden is escape-proof

Places to walk your dogs

Below is a selection of resources which provide suggested walks that both you and your dog can enjoy:

  • Forestry England — Help and advice on walking your pet in woodlands around England
  • Outdoor Access Scotland — Guidance on walking your dog in forests in Scotland
  • Woodland Trust — Find woodlands managed by the Woodland Trust to walk your dog in
  • British Waterways — Information on how you and your dog can discover Britain’s 4,000 miles of rivers, lakes and canals
  • The Ridgeway — This national trail follows a route through the countryside which has been used since prehistoric times
  • Canal and River Trust — Find dog friendly places on the canals and rivers
  • TheKennelClubUK on Facebook
  • TheKennelClubUK on Instagram
  • TheKennelClubUK on Twitter
  • TheKennelClubUK on YouTube

Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2023. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.

‘You shouldn’t walk your dog every day’ expert dog trainer reveals

Ahead of the nation’s first ‘Don’t Walk Your Dog Day’ which is taking place tomorrow, Nikki French has revealed how skipping your daily walk can benefit your furry friend in many ways.

Nia Dalton
Aaron Morris Reporter

  • 14:04, 3 APR 2022


Replacing walk time with training games at home can give the dogs the skills they

For most dog owners, a daily walk is an essential part of their pet’s routine, believed to promote health and fitness in their furry friends.

However, professional trainer Niki French, 53, says that this is something she certainly doesn’t agree with, deeming it and old and outdated practice.

The bestselling author of STOP Walking Your Dog, is in turn encouraging pet owners to replace their usual 30-minute hike with a more stimulating activity to promote wellbeing in canines.

Niki told The Mirror : «It might come as a surprise, but traditional walks are a human invention and aren’t helpful for many of our dogs.

«Replacing walk time with training games at home can give the dogs the skills they’re missing to live calm and happy lives.»

Niki believes daily dog walks are a 'human invention' and not beneficial

Niki is launching her first Don’t Walk Your Dog Day on Saturday, April 2, to raise awareness that «not all dogs thrive on daily walks».

«Contrary to popular belief, dogs with behaviour struggles can get more reactive or more excitable when we try to exhaust them through too much exercise,» she said.

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Niki has a two-year-old rescue dog named Bodie at home, who is «noticeably calmer» with fewer walks and more enrichment games.

«A growing number of my clients have nervous or reactive dogs and I’ve shown them all the amazing activities you can do at home to help dogs grow the skills they’re lacking to be happy on walks,» she explained.

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«Skipping some walks can help both dogs and owners alike destress. When more than half of walks are stressful (for the dog or you), it’s time to do something different.»

There are many reasons owners might benefit from skipping a walk. For example, if the weather is too hot or cold, it can be dangerous to the dog.

Playing games at home is a great way to build skills our dogs need

For new puppies that aren’t vaccinated, and dogs who are unwell, a walk might not be best.

«Playing games at home is a great way to build skills our dogs need and boost our relationship with them,» Niki said.

Niki has been an animal lover her entire life, and became a dog trainer three years ago.

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She focuses on positive reward and enrichment games like digging sandpits, playing with cardboard boxes, using lick mats and hide-and-seek activities.

«It’s good to have other things in your toolkit. This applies to all dogs and surprisingly it can work best for breeds that need lots of exercise,» Niki explained.

For dog owners who have reactive or anxious pets, it can be intimidating and stressful leaving the house for a simple walk.

«I want these people to know that they aren’t alone, and we aren’t judging them,» Niki said.

What Happens To Your Body When You Walk Your Dog Every Day

A woman walks her dog

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility. You need to feed them, stay up to date on vet appointments, and teach them how to behave well. Dogs also need plenty of exercise, which means you need to walk them at least once a day to keep them healthy. But walking your dog isn’t just good for your pet — it also gets you outside and moving every day.

According to a study published in BMC Public Health, people who own dogs walk an average of 22 minutes more per day than those who don’t have a furry friend at home (via NPR). The study also found that people tend to move at a moderate pace when walking their dog, as opposed to a leisurely stroll.

Walking is an excellent form of exercise. Many experts agree it’s one of the most underrated exercises because it takes little effort yet offers many health benefits. According to John Ford, a certified exercise physiologist who runs JKF Fitness & Health in New York City, «walking is a really good form of exercise and can help you reach your fitness and weight-loss goals» (via NBC News). While Ford agrees there are other forms of exercise that offer faster physical results than walking, this simple exercise is a great option for all levels of fitness.

Walks should focus on your dog but can still be a workout for you

A person walks their dog on a sunny day

It’s clear that walking offers plenty of health benefits, but you shouldn’t approach walking your dog as an intense form of exercise for yourself. According to the American Kennel Club, walks offer mental stimulation as well as physical exercise for pets. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and enjoying sniffing their surroundings as they move around. The AKC states that «dragging your dog away from an interesting scent, or asking him to heel the entire way around the block, prevents him from truly taking in everything around him and diminishes the mental stimulation a walk can provide.»

Although walking your dog is a great form of physical activity, you should be prepared for a lot of stop-and-go action when you take your pup out. This means you probably shouldn’t rely on walks with your dog as your only form of exercise. Some walks may have you moving briskly for a solid 45 minutes while others may be your dog mostly sniffing the sidewalk as you inch along with them. The CDC recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Depending on how your dog prefers to lead their walks, you may need to supplement them with other forms of exercise.

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