December 15, 2015

IT CAN'T SNOW SOON ENOUGH... (self-reference alert):

What Encourages People to Walk Their Dog? : And is dog walking a good way to persuade people to get more exercise? (ZAZIE TODD, 12/15/15, Pacific Standard)

We know that most people do not get the 150 minutes of exercise per week that is recommended. Could encouraging people to walk their dogs more often help, and if so, how best to go about it? A paper by Carri Westgarth of the University of Liverpool and others reviews the state of current research.

Although to some dog owners a daily walk is an essential part of the routine, there are also people who never walk their dog. For example, a 2008 study in Australia found that, on average, people walk their dog four times a week for a total of 134 minutes, and that 23 percent of dog owners never walk their dog.

Encouraging more people to take their dog for a regular walk would be good for both the dog and owner.

The research found that as well as dog-related and owner-related variables, aspects of the physical and social environment also influence dog walking behavior.

"Dog walking may be most effectively encouraged through: 1) targeting the dog-owner relationship to increase the sense of obligation to walk the dog as well as the emotional support the dog can provide."

The dog's size, age, and breed are related to dog walking, and it seems that dogs that are regularly walked have fewer behavioral problems. This could be due to ongoing training and socializing during the walks, and/or it could be that dogs with behavior problems are taken for walks less often because their owners simply find it too difficult. Dogs that pull on the leash, bark, behave badly, or are fearful or aggressive are walked less often. Helping owners resolve these issues might enable them to take more walks.

As you might expect, the dog-owner relationship is an important part of their model. People who feel a strong emotional attachment to their canine companion, and who feel that the dog provides them with motivation and social support to walk, are more likely to walk their dog regularly.

The Wife got a labradoodle, which is supposed to be as smart as a poodle and as mellow as a lab.  Ours is hyper and stupid.  We're just walking him farther and farther to try and get him so tuckered out he'll leave us alone.  After a six mile walk on Saturday he followed me around the house wanting more.  Thankfully, without sidewalks you can't really walk him in the Winter....

Posted by at December 15, 2015 6:33 PM