It's National Walk Your Dog Day, so if you only do it once a year, today's the day. Seriously though, here's why getting lazy and skipping those walks might be a bigger deal than you think.

Photo by Delphine Beausoleil on Unsplash
Photo by Delphine Beausoleil on Unsplash
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The Washington Post just did a big story about how skipping walks can "significantly affect your dog's emotional and physical well-being."

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The writer's landlord just added a fence to the yard, so she can let her dog outside now. But she found out that's not enough. Those walks are still really important.

Most yards don't offer enough stimulation. They're too small, and everything's too familiar. One expert compared it to reading the same book over and over again, or expecting to have fun while hanging out in your bathroom.

Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash
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Walks are good for three key reasons: They get some exercise,  sense of companionship from you, and it gives them the mental stimulation they need.

The backyard isn't as good, because they don't get to see new things. Or more importantly, sniff new things. Dogs have 50 times more "olfactory receptors" in their nose than we do. So smelling is really how they "see" the world.

Photo by Silvana Carlos on Unsplash
Photo by Silvana Carlos on Unsplash
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Ideally, you should never rush your dog through a walk, or force them to stop sniffing that fire hydrant. It's like going to an art museum you're really into, and having someone hurry you along saying, "Let's go! We're just doing this for exercise and why haven't you used the bathroom yet?"

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