Home
Behavior & Training
Print|Text Size: ||
Dogs Love Walks For Many Reasons
Do you have a runner, a sniffer or a greeter?

Being overjoyed about going for a walk is almost universal among the canine set. If you reach for that leash, lace up your shoes or do anything that suggests even the remote possibility that you are going for a walk, your dog is probably thrilled.

However, dogs are making use of the sacred walk time for different purposes. Though many dogs like everything about a walk, there are at least three categories of dogs, based on what they most love about their outings.

Some dogs are runners. What they want out of the walk is exercise, so they want to be moving, preferably as fast as possible. These are the dogs who need their daily (or twice daily or all day) activity. They often pull on the leash at first, but once they get into a rhythm, burned off some energy and released some endorphins, they settle down a bit. They still want to run or trot, but they are more flexible about whatever pace you choose.

It’s rare to find a dog who has no interest in sniffing on their walks, but for many of them, it is their top priority from start to finish. They have their nose to the ground much of the walk, suddenly getting incredibly interested in stretches of grass that look to us, the olfactory challenged humans, exactly like every other stretch of grass. These dogs seek mental stimulation on walks, and their minds are stimulated by the smells that are here! And there! And everywhere!

Even the most social of dogs are often distracted by their own desire to be active or to sniff all over the place. However, there are some dogs whose main purpose on walks is to meet-and-greet. These are the social butterfly, table-hopper types who simply want to say hello to other dogs, to people or even to the occasional cat. These greeters love to connect with others, and may even be slightly disappointed if there are few others out and about during walks. Related to the social dogs are the dogs whose purpose is marking their territory and patrolling the area. These dogs, like other social dogs, are highly interested in who is (and has been)out and about.

Many dogs are a combination of these traits. The love to run, sniff and say hello, but as a guardian, you probably know your dog well enough to understand which activity is most important.

Do you have a runner, a sniffer, a greeter or a dog with an entirely different priority?


Editor’s note
We posed the question to our Twitter followers: what kind of walking style does your dog possess? The results are in:

9% Runner
56% Sniffer
11% Greeter
24% Mixed

Print

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

photo by Helen K/Flickr

More From The Bark

By
Karen B. London
By
Karen B. London
By
Karen B. London
More in Behavior & Training:
The Joy of New Lessons
Dogs Have Fun Playing
Accepting Dogs on Their Own Terms
Tips for Picking a Dog Trainer
Teach Your Dog to Feel at Home Anywhere
B.A.T. Proactive Training Gives Dogs The Tools They Need To Succeed
Dog Behavior: Bite Inhibition Matters
Two Dogs Eat Ice Cream
Eugene, Ore. Bans All Dogs Downtown.
Ears Held Back