Does your pet dog get super-excited every time you get their leash out, and they know they are going for a walk?
Do they just love being out and about, walking and exploring?
Why is this?
Why do dogs like to walk so much?
Let’s find out.
Why Do Dogs Love Going For Walks?
Dogs like going for walks because they have evolved and been bred to love exploring both familiar and new areas.
They have evolved with a love of walking for productive reasons, such as an instinct for hunting and protecting their territory.
Of course, they don’t know any of this.
They just feel excited when they go for walks, but there are some practical benefits underneath that lovely canine excitement.
NOTE – You might find this post useful, looking at why dogs go crazy after a bath and get zoomies.
The History of Domestic Dogs Explains Why Dogs Love Walking
Domestic dogs originally evolved from a now-extinct species of wolf called the Late Pleistocene wolf.
Early humans gradually domesticated these wolves and bred them into various breeds for specific roles such as herding, guarding, and hunting for thousands of years.
It is always helpful to remember that your pet dog still has many instincts and behaviors left over from its wolf ancestors.
For example, when your dog chases a ball, it is the same instinct that would help them hunt for food if they were a wolf.
Most dogs love being outside and love going for walks for similar reasons.
They get to smell, see and hear a ton of naturally stimulating sounds as if they were a wolf hunting for food or exploring new territory to find a place to sleep or a new mate to have puppies with.
They instinctively enjoy activities that would have helped them survive as wolves.
A love of walking and exploring comes naturally to your dog.
NOTE – You might like to read this post about why dogs roll in snow so much.
Dogs Like to Walk Due to The Working Instinct
Apart from some of the toy breeds, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the history of most dog breeds is that they were bred to have specific working instincts.
Border Collies were bred to round up sheep and cattle.
Anatolian Shepherds were bred to live with the flock or the herd and guard them against predators.
Tibetan Mastiffs were bred to guard farmsteads and temples from wild animals and thieves.
All of this work would have happened outside, so another reason your dog loves being outside is due to their deep inclination to work.
NOTE – You might enjoy this post looking at the question why do dogs run sideways?
Humans Like to Walk As Well
Another great way to think about this is how would you feel if you were cooped up in your house 24 hours a day, seven days a week?
With no fresh air, nature, exercise, or other people to interact with?
You would feel terrible! Going out for a walk would feel so good after that.
Once you think about it intuitively, you should easily understand why dogs love walking so much.
Humans and dogs are very different in some ways, but in other ways, we are pretty similar, and one thing most dogs share with most humans is a love of walking and being outside in nature.
NOTE – You might also find this post interesting. It looks at the question – why do dogs hate the rain?
Walking is Very Important for Your Dog’s Well-Being
Most dog owners understand that walking and other forms of exercise are essential for their dog’s physical health.
Dogs are at much less risk of a wide range of physical health conditions if they maintain a healthy weight and get lots of exercise by going on walks.
However, it is well understood that it is equally essential for their mental and emotional well-being.
It’s not just that dogs love to walk.
It’s also important to realize that they need to walk and explore to be happy and healthy dogs.
If you doubt the benefit of walking for your pet dog, please watch this excellent, short video.
Just click the image, and it will start to play:
NOTE – You find this post interesting. It asks the question: Do dogs like collars?
Too Much Walking Can be Unhealthy for Some Dogs
It is much less well-known that, in some circumstances, too much walking can be bad for dogs.
Here are some reasons why:
- Obese dogs can’t cope with too much exercise as it puts too much pressure on their body.
- Older dogs can struggle to cope with too much walking. It can cause pain and excessive tiredness.
- Too much walking can wear out the dog’s paw pads and cause pain and a risk of infection.
- Over-exercising puppies, especially large breeds, can cause severe joint problems such as canine hip dysplasia.
In most cases, most dogs will be fine getting lots of exercise and going on long walks.
But if you notice they struggle to keep up or are in pain, you should give them a rest and consult your vet if you think something might be wrong with them.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this site lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support out there for dog owners who are in difficulty).
Related Post: Why Do Dogs Like Fetch?
Final Thoughts On Why Dogs Like to Walk So Much
The reason why dogs love to walk so much is because of their wolf ancestors’ evolutionary instincts and also due to the working instincts bred into them by humans.
This instinct is very healthy, and you should do your very best to give your dog plenty of walks daily without walking them so much that they are in pain or totally exhausted.
Not only will these walks be good for your dog’s physical and mental well-being they will also be good for you both physically and mentally, so it’s a win-win situation.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!