Why Do Pet Owners Walk Their Dogs?

There are a number of factors to take into account before you decide to add a new pet to your family. Namely, dogs make great companions, but they also require a large investment of time, money, and attention. In many cases, owning a dog will force you to modify your daily routine in order to meet the needs of your pet. One such change could include walking your dog and making sure your dog gets enough exercise and movement throughout the day. New research suggests that dog owners are more motivated to move than their counterparts without dogs because they enjoy the happiness it brings their pet.

The study was conducted by researchers at The University of Liverpool, according to a recent Science Daily article. In a sense, the study discovered the obvious: people did what made them happy. In the case of dog owners, walking their dog brought them joy and improved their own wellbeing. That means pet owners were more intrinsically motivated and pursuing personal happiness than basking benefits of cardio or getting some sunlight. Researchers claim that this study is the most intensive and up-to-date evaluations of how dog owners think and feel about walking their furry friends. The study included 26 interviews that encouraged owners to write personal reflections about their dog-walking experiences.  After conducting the interviews, the researchers found that walkers take their dogs out because it makes them feel good.

However, the likelihood of dog owners taking their dog out depended on how the owner perceived the pet’s experience. Basically, if the dog seemed happy then the walker felt happy as well. On the other hand, dog owners were less likely to walk their dog if the pet was not positively receiving the experience. For example, if the pet owner felt their dog was lazy, too old, or had behavioral issues, they were less likely to walk it. In other words, problems with the dog reduced their joy and could even weaken their relationship with the dog.

The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Westgarth, noted: “the factors that motivate dog walking are extremely complex, yet we know they can strongly motivate human health behavior.” Researchers are hoping to use this new information to motivate all dog owners to move more with their pets. Having a dog could help people reach their weekly exercise quota. For example, if a dog owner goes for a 30-minute walk with their dog five times per week, they will meet the recommended cardio level for American adults.

Even if you do not have the time or motivation to walk your dog, your pet needs exercise and your dog benefits from daily trips outside. One great option is hiring someone to walk your dog for you.

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