Dogs, especially working breeds, are used to having tasks, activities, and lots of exercise. But when our lives went from rural to suburban, dogs lives changed, too. Rather than working alongside their humans, dogs are now used to spending their days mostly stagnant at home. Yet while dogs lifestyles have changed, their needs have not. And if you’re concerned your daily 30-minute dog walk is not enough, you’re probably right.
Veterinarians recommend that dogs get between 30 minutes – 2 hours of low to moderate exercise per day. For high-energy or working breeds, vets recommend 30 minutes of rigorous, high intensity exercise in addition to 1 – 2 hours of moderate activities. Meaning if you sign up for a 30-minute walk with a walking service, your dog is probably not getting the right amount of exercise. Even daycare does not guarantee enough exercise.
And in addition to dogs needing plenty of exercise, they also need mental stimulation. Your dog might enjoy sniffing the flowers on your nightly walk or watching Netflix while you’re away, but the same routine becomes boring after a while.
Professional dog hikers are leading the revolution in how we care for our dogs. Recognizing that dogs deserve adventure, purpose, and fulfillment, dog hikers help your dog live up to their fullest potential.
Why your dog’s walk isn’t cutting it
photo by @Luchkina on Unsplash
Many dog owners seek out walks for their dogs while they’re at work. Unfortunately, a mid-day potty break and stroll aren’t enough to stop most bored and destructive behaviors. Additionally, while you pay for 30 minutes, that might include your walker’s time of leashing up, taking notes, and fulfilling any other requests you have (refilling the water, giving snacks, locking up, etc.) So while you think your dog is being walked for the full 30 minutes, you really might be paying for the walker to be with your dog for 30 minutes.
On top of the time ambiguity, consider your dog’s perspective. Going on the same walking route every day gets boring. It might be a break in their day, but it’s not exactly a break in routine. Therefore, boredom, the root of your dog’s problem, isn’t being resolved.
If your dog exhibits destructive or bored behaviors after their daily walk, it’s a telltale sign that they are not getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.
Perks of professional dog hikers
Busy dog owners everywhere are turning to professional dog hikers because it provides the opportunity for dogs to get sufficient exercise. The difference between a stroll around the block versus a multiple mile hike in a natural area is significant. Spending time in nature has proven to benefit humans and dogs alike. Not only does your dog get exercise from hiking, but they also get plenty of mental stimulation as well. Smelling, hearing, socializing and exploring the trail are all major rewards to dogs. So in addition to getting a great workout, dogs get spiritual and mental benefits as well.
Hiking is a great option for high-energy or working dogs who can’t seem to run out of energy. Plus, dogs and their owners have peace of mind knowing they won’t be left alone all day. Hiking makes dogs tired and happy, which keeps them from being destructive during the day and overly-hyper when you get home.
Fitdog Canyon Hikes
Dog owners of Los Angeles can now book Canyon Hikes through the Fitdog app! Dogs are taken on 4-6 mile excursions through the Santa Monica mountains led in small groups by our vetted Sports Leaders. Fitdog also provides pick up and drop off services to several West LA neighborhoods, making it super easy and convenient for owners to provide their dog’s quality care. And because SoCal is lucky enough to have good weather, your dog can participate in this activity year-round.
Many people think their dog isn’t suited for a hike. But you would be surprised at how many different breeds, ages, and personalities are a part of our pack. Our Sports Leaders pick trails based on participating dog’s capability levels, and our Sports admin team groups dogs by similar activity levels. That way, the pack stays together and enjoys exploring at the same pace. Create an account and sign up for a Sports Assessment to find out if your dog enjoys hiking!
If your dog is begging for a change of pace, consider signing them up for an introductory hike. And for parents who are new to this, here’s what to expect after your dog’s first hike. Give hiking a chance — you and your dog will be thankful you did!