Dog walking, just 20 minutes per day

I like to dedicate at least 20 minutes to spend with my dog every morning. Obviously an hour would be better, but usually it’s something like 15 or 20 minutes.

During this time Ace and I might go for a walk, play fetch, work on tricks or just randomly run around and play in the field out back.

On Monday we practiced some off-leash heeling through the neighborhood. Today I brought along Ace’s favorite rope toy and we played an intense game of tug.

Sometime soon I’d like to hide some treats or toys in the grass so he can practice using his nose. I would love to teach him some serious bird-dog tracking and retrieving skills since clearly he has the drive. We’ll see.

I make a point that our “walks” are not routine. I don’t walk my dog just for the sake of walking him. Our walks are not rushed or stressful. That is not the point of walking.

In this fresh spring weather, I’ve noticed many dogs out and about with their owners. I have not seen these dogs in five months. Although I’m glad the dogs are getting out now – they seem¬†exuberant! – it’s nice to know my dog and I have been out almost every day for years.

Ace has a calm, all-knowing energy about him that I really appreciate. When another dog barks at us from its fully extended Flexi, Ace just sways his body a bit and looks at me. Poor sucker.

I look forward to my walks with Ace. To me, this kind of time is the whole point of having  a dog.

No matter what happens throughout the rest of the day, I know my dog had at least a few minutes of my direct attention. That’s important to me as his owner and best friend.

Cute black lab mix sitting in a field wearing camo

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  1. Nancy's Point on March 16, 2012

    I know our walks are pretty routine, but the dogs still love them. I love them too once I get going. Good for you for getting out there every day. The nice thing is, dogs don’t hold grudges or care how often we get out there. They’re always ready and eager – at least mine are! Enjoy those spring-time walks with Ace!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      They certainly don’t hold a grudge, even if we go weeks without walking them. Ace is so patient with me. He will wait for hours to go for a walk while I sit at my desk. Then when we are out there I have little patience for him when he wants to sniff something. How do they put up with us??

  2. Rachael Taylor on March 16, 2012

    2 months ago I don’t know that your post would have agreed with me as much as it does today. I had a dog as a child but it’s different than having a dog as an adult. My husband has never had a dog. We waited ten years as a couple to finally get a dog and I have to say, yes, it’s different than any other pet.

    He walks Turkish in the morning, it’s a time that he has begun to cherish. A time when he and Turk can roam and greet the day. I walk Turkish at lunch, which is a bit more hurried as I have to get back to my day job, but always we walk the perimeter of our property, looking for any new animal droppings, downed branches on our fence. It’s a walk with purpose. And then at night we walk him as a couple. This is my favorite time. It’s usually after all the other farm chores are done, the animals are all tucked away safely for the night so all we have to worry about is Turkish. I think this is Turkish’s favorite walk, too.

    I know we lucked out with Turkish as he really is a very thoughtful dog, which is perfect for our farm. But, I also know that one of the reasons he is able to resort to his true personality is because he is very heavily exercised. It’s unfair for me to ask him to behave around the chickens, the sheep, the goats or even the pigs if he is just full of unused energy.

    But, I’d have to say that the best part of having a dog is there’s no excuse for not walking. We’ve canceled our gym memberships, which now seem so silly. It was always so easy to make an excuse not to go. Of course, this is in part to having more animals to care for on the farm but also because I know that at my house there’s a dog waiting for me to take him on a walk…that’s better than any gym partner a girl could have. And it must be working…we haven’t missed a walk yet.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      I really liked this comment. That is so great how you both find the time to walk Turkish and you’ve made it a part of your routine. And then at night you all walk together. Cute!

      I canceled my gym membership as well. I would much rather be out exercising with my dog.

  3. Nancy Hoffman on March 16, 2012

    First, I love this picture of Ace:)

    Stewie and I love our walks, and we are out pretty much rain,shine, cold, hot, etc
    About the only time we aren’t out is when it is too slippery, and then we play games in the hall.

    And believe me, he is highly motivated to go! I can’t fink out even if I want to. Dogs are the Best exercise partners.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      Thank you, Nancy!

      Ace and I do not get out for walks as often as we did a few years ago. I used to be a walk no matter what person. But now that I have my own dog running business, I find myself skipping a walk here and there with my own dog. He forgives me.

  4. Elizabeth on March 16, 2012

    Great Post!!!

    Just what I needed on Friday.

    My honey admonishs me for taking Belle to the barn with me but I must say that the drive time is kind of our bonding time. And if my friend has been out before me then I don’t have to worry too much about my horse and Belle gets barn time. Which she is loving. I wish her energy level was a little more quiet she upsets the horses I think with her exuberant/nervous attitude.

    Thanks for reminding me that even if its a cuddle on the couch and a little tug of war they enjoy everything and so should we!

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      Thank you for reading!

      I wish I had horses. I know Ace would be so good around them, too. That would be a lot of fun to take a horse out and have the dog tag along.

      I enjoy having Ace in the car with me when the weather is cool enough but not too cold. He rides along with me to all of my appointments and then he gets to go running with the other dogs I visit.

  5. Betty on March 17, 2012

    Love the picture.

  6. Mel on March 18, 2012

    It’s amazing how many dogs come out of the woodwork as it gets nicer outside.

    Sometimes I feel guilty if we skip a walk or have a short one, but then I remember all of those dogs that are hidden inside during the winter and I stop feeling bad.

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on March 24, 2012

      Yeah, you definitely should not feel bad for your dogs. They have it good! I know what you mean though. Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for Ace. Then I remember how spoiled and lucky he is.