Some people assume that a a short walk here and there gives dogs enough exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

But dogs need to be walked for several reasons. As well as exercise, being walked lets them socialise with other dogs, explore the tantalising smells beyond their home and play with their preferred playmates. Dogs are opportunists and optimists, which is why so many turn themselves inside out with joy at the prospect of a romp around the park.

Walks also allow dogs to spend time with their human social group. We shouldn’t underestimate the value of one-on-one attention between owners and their dogs. People who are strongly bonded with their dogs are most likely to exercise them. Dogs, in turn, act as catalysts for humans to engage with others in the community.

Clearly, the exact amount of exercise time your dog needs will vary according to its age, breed and size. A ten-year study found that people may not walk their dogs as much if the dog is sick, older, or a smaller breed. Yet all dogs need some time out of the house every day.

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