Researchers have finally settled the age old dog vs. cat debate, concluding that dogs are the superior pet with more than double the number of neurones. It's hardly surprising - from delivering CPR to detecting early signs of cancer, their list of abilities is pretty incredible.
Studies have shown that dogs can empathise with their owners, which plays a massive role in them bonding with their owners. Aside from understanding emotion, however, they also understand key words. We all have them: "treat"... "food"... and,
It was a mainstay of notorious dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse's vocabulary, who quickly rose to fame with her strict, no nonsense approach to training, and new research has suggested that walking is more than just another part of being a dog owner.
Far from a part of their everyday routine, findings have shown that dogs get so excited about the prospect of "walkies" because of the social benefits. In fact, it's pretty much their form of social media.
To be blunt, it's all down to toilet habits. No - bear with us...
When on a walk, dogs will take any opportunity to go to the toilet, and it's not always because they need to let it out. Instead, it's all to do with scents.
Speaking of the connection, Professor Sharon Crowell-Davis from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine has said:
"This is how dogs have a conversation between dogs.
This is how dogs tell each other that I was here and that I am a part of this area."
The social aspect of walks explains our dogs' excitement when that oh so precious word is mentioned. It's a chance for them to check in on their furry friends and make sure they're in the loop with all the latest goings on.
So, that explains what the butt-sniffing's all about!
Whilst Woodhouse stood by her firm approach, further research has found that positive reinforcement is a far better technique in dog training, often having far more effective results.
Findings from the Aix Marseille University in France have found that 65% of dogs trained with negative reinforcement showed signs of stress, compared with 8% in the positive reinforcement category.
Positive reinforcement typically comes in the form of treats, and the findings suggest that a dog's excitement towards walking is linked to the same pleasure that they get from a treat. However, in this instance, the positive reinforcement from a walk comes from the social aspect, as opposed to the hunger quenching pleasure of treats.
So, there you have it - whilst the 'Woodhouse way' is effective, it can be unnecessary, in relation to walks especially! Once you've got your dog socialised, there'll be no stopping them!
Busy working full time and looking for someone to walk your dog? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted walkers and carers across the UK, available to walk your dog as and when you require. For more information, click here.