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Dog Walking Bliss
Joy comes even after a rough beginning

The new season has officially arrived for those of us who live in cold weather zones. It’s the time of year in which many of us require extra motivation to walk our dogs—at least some of the time.

Many motivational options exist: encouraging quotes, using the walk as a way to procrastinate, caving to guilt and walking with a human friend so you both commit to the walk. As for me, I take inspiration from my college roommate.

One night during our senior year at about 11:00, we were contemplating going out. I was uncharacteristically leaning towards staying in, as I was feeling a bit tired and just a bit disinterested in making the effort to go anywhere. My roommate posed this life-changing question to me, “Have you ever, even once, in your whole life regretted going out, even when you didn’t really feel like it at first?” The answer was no, and I replied, “Give me five minutes to get ready!” The night turned out to be a great one, and I’m still glad I didn’t miss out on it by my inaction.

Dog walking is much the same. Usually, it’s not a chore, but something to look forward to and enjoy. Yet, there are times when it’s an effort to head out, and that’s when I consider my roommate’s take on the situation: Have I ever regretted taking a dog on a walk, even when I didn’t feel like it at first? Of course not. Even when the weather is foul, the house is cozy and I have a million things to do, the walk is a source of joy and peace.

No matter how rough the start of a walk, it tends to turn into a good experience. Some great moments with our dogs come while we are out on a walk enjoying the air, the sights and the break from the rest of the day, and it doesn’t really matter what our mood was at the outset.

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Jill | November 14 2011 |

I live in Montana where the snow and ice stick around for months and months at a time. The snow and ice don't hinder my walks, but the below zero cold does. I walk my dogs 7 days a week if I can. If I have a bad day at work, the walk always brings my spirits up. The clean air and the non verbal conversation I have with my best friends clears my head.

I also have to say that I have MS which can make it hard to get motivated to go for a walk. That is where Henry comes in. He is a golden retriever who loves his walks more than life itself. He spins. He barks. He whines when he knows he gets to go. There is no way I can say no to him. And, once I get out there, I am fine and if I get too tired midwalk, he pulls me home.

So, it doesn't matter what type of weather we have, I always try to get out for both me and my dogs. I have Trax that give my shoes traction in the ice and snow.

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