To many of us dog’s are known as man’s best friend. To most of us they are considered a member of the family and every family member shares a special bond with that dog. In a recent study called the “Lassie Effect” researchers are making a connection between owners that walk their dogs and owners that do not. They claim that people that walk their dog regularly have a stronger emotional bond with their dog than people that do not walk their dog as often.
I disagree with that statement. I know I am guilty of not taking our dog Opie on a walk everyday but that does not mean that I do not share a emotional bond with him. I know plenty of dog owner’s that do not walk their dogs every day and still have a strong connection and love for their animal. I think that this study does not include the many other activities that you can do with your dog that promote exercise. One of our dog’s favorite things to do is play Frisbee. We probably play Frisbee 3-4 times a day for twenty minutes at a time. Another favorite activity in the summer is swimming, Opie loves to swim and has always loved anything to do with water including trying to jump in the bathtub a time or two. Since Opie is a hunting dog he is trained to go swimming from an early age, by retrieving dummies launched across the water. Both of these activities are great ways for dogs to get exercise. Doing any physical activity with your dog is going to require a line of communication where you either give a command and you get a result or it requires more training if the dog is not understanding. In order for a dog to learn new tricks and commands you have to establish that connection in order for the dog to trust you.
I think this study focuses too much on the walking aspect and should have broadened their research on exercise and activities you do with your dog. In one part of the article it explains how a dog on a walk explores, sniffing, prancing and sharing your company. This is true but is it not also true for any activity you do with a dog. For example playing Frisbee, there is some prancing because he gets excited, there’s exploring and sniffing especially if the Frisbee goes in the woods and you are rewarding and sharing company with your dog. I see no difference between walking and playing Frisbee. Overall it was an interesting article and I do believe that exercising your dog is important but a emotional bond with your dog is not made from just going on walks it can come in many other forms and activities.