Owning a dog can bring a lot of excitement to your life. Dogs have been partners to humans for thousands of years, trained to help with hunting, herding and protection. Working dogs exist today, with guide dogs, farm dogs and police dogs doing many invaluable tasks in the workforce. While most pet dogs do not have that level of training, they provide their owners with unconditional love and company a blessing during the lockdown when loneliness for those living alone was at an all time high.
With many bringing dogs home for companionship rather than work, dog walking is a daily activity for millions of people around the world taking their pets out to keep them healthy and happy. For many, dogs become part of the family over time and taking them out on walks becomes a fun family activity.
Whether it is the happiness you get as a dog owner, watching your pet enjoy their surroundings or it is to have a companion that will always be excited to see you – it has been shown that owning a dog and taking them out on regular walks can have many mental health benefits.
Motivation to exercise
With the TV and internet offering so much for us to watch, it now so easy to simply exist indoors without ever going out to enjoy your surroundings. The natural world is waiting for us right outside the door, but unless we have a direct reason for going outdoors we are often so busy that we cannot find the time to do so. Dogs act as a direct motivation for us to head outside. It is hard to stay camped indoors when your favourite furry friend is staring longingly at the door.
Whether your daily dog walk involves a ten-mile hike or a quick walk to the nearest park, just the act of leaving the house and work behind can be a weight off your shoulders. Having a dog to motivate you to get your daily dose of exercise is good for both your physical and mental health.
With so many of us working from home due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the house can get a little lonely. Having a companion to take outside with you each day can make you feel a lot happier. For your dog, you are the centre of their universe, having a furry friend to take care of can help you calm down after a long day.
Stress is a pervasive modern problem, with more adults than ever reporting feelings of stress and anxiety during lockdown. Having a dog walk, or a hike outside is an excellent way to get away from the source of your feelings of stress and take the time to think deeply about what you can do about the situation. Most of the time when you have a problem, thinking things through calmly can lead you to a potential solution.
When it comes to making your friends and family laugh, no one can deny that sometimes dogs are just funny. From rolling through the grass in joy to chasing their own tails, dogs are a hoot to have around. From funny dog videos on YouTube to watching your dog play outdoors in the mud. When you take your dog out for a walk, laughter is inevitable.
The old saying that laughter is the best medicine can be very true when it comes to mental health. The endorphins (otherwise known as happiness hormones) released when we laugh gives the brain a definite pick up that will give you a boost throughout the day.
When taking out the dog for a walk, many people will go with friends and family. This social activity is a wonderful way to catch up with what everyone is doing. People need social interaction to be happy. While many have organised zoom calls with family and friends over the lockdown period, there always seems to be something missing in digital interactions.
Meeting with your friends face to face is a wonderful boost to your mental health and now that the restrictions are easing this is finally becoming possible.
There is an excellent community of dog lovers and owners out there in the world. Even taking a friends dog out for a walk will bring you into contact with all kinds of new people.
A dog is a fantastic conversation starter, everyone is happy to stop to play with a puppy and have a chat. Community dog walking groups and dog training courses are very popular and are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people. Going out with friends to walk your dog is a fantastic social activity and can be a real help if you feel anxious going on a walk somewhere new.
In stressful times, the natural world can act as a fantastic escape, allowing us a break from the realities of modern life. Exercise outdoors is a fantastic boost for both your physical and mental health. For example:
- The relative peace and tranquillity of the outdoors has been shown to have a calming effect on people when they are feeling stressed and anxious.
- Exercise promotes the release of serotonin the ‘happiness hormone’ giving you a feeling of accomplishment.
- Achieving short term goals, such as doing more outdoors activities can give you a great confidence boost.
- Dog walking is a short and relatively simple routine to fit into your schedule and will give you the motivation to get out and about, even when you feel like staying inside.
- Spending time outside exercising, especially in the late afternoon had been shown to increase the quality of your sleep. Lack of good sleep can have catastrophic effects on your physical and mental wellbeing.
Going out on daily dog walks isn’t just good for your mental health, but for your dog as well. Many breeds of dog need stimulation as well as exercise to be happy. Breeds such as spaniels and huskies are able to run for miles each day. When your dog has such high energy without an outlet they may end up eating the walls out of frustration.
Other breeds, such as Labradors will have the opposite problem and are happy to spend each day lying around indoors. Whether they will be enthused about the exercise or not, dogs need exercise to be healthy. If they do not get enough exercise, many dogs are at increased risk of problems such as heart disease or cancer that can cause them problems later on in life.
If you are interested in the dog walking facilities around Bewl, please contact us here.