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Benefits of walking

Do you allow your dog to walk when you go out?

6/10/20241 min read

Benefits of walking

As pet owners, we all know the importance of walking our dogs. However, it's crucial to remember that our legs are much longer than our dogs'. A simple walk massively affects a dog’s myofascial system, and the walking speed we choose can significantly influence their pace

When dogs walk on a leash, they often adopt a 'pace' gait, where both limbs on one side of their body move forward and backward simultaneously. This gait isn’t ideal for regular use as it can create imbalances within their bodies. Dogs tend to pace when leash-walking at speeds that are too quick for a comfortable walk but too slow for a comfortable trot.

This means if we walk too quickly, our dogs are forced into an unnatural gait or trot to keep up with us, which is particularly challenging for smaller dogs.

Dogs naturally try to match our pace, so it’s up to us to adjust our speed for them. I always advise clients to consider how they walk their dogs and to practice slowing down their pace so their dog can actually walk.

A slow walk helps the dog maintain the correct posture, with the head and neck in a natural position, typically lower than when ambling or trotting.

When we walk our dogs at their natural pace, it allows them to use a four-time gait, where each leg moves separately and individually. This is beneficial because it activates deeper stabilizing muscles and myofascial connections, helping muscles around their legs and joints work to stabilize the joints. This natural movement can't happen at faster speeds.

Walking is not just a physical activity for your dog; it’s a holistic exercise that enhances proprioception and spatial awareness by developing the connection between the brain, nerves, bones, muscles, and fascia.

It serves as a gentle, full-body rehabilitation exercise, is a good conditioning and fitness activity, especially for mature dogs, and can help identify uncomfortable or dysfunctional areas, such as detecting lameness. Cross-lateral movement is also crucial for brain-to-body connection and is highly effective for warming up and cooling down before and after events.

Next time you're out with your dog, slow down and let them truly walk. Your furry friend will benefit immensely from this natural, healthy movement.