The University of Liverpool’s Dr Carri Westgarth is backing a new campaign to encourage longer and more mindful dog walking across the UK, for happier, healthier dogs and owners.
The Great Dog Walk Challenge campaign has been launched by natural dog food producer Forthglade in response to research showing that the daily dog walk is in decline.
Out of a survey of 1,500 UK dog walkers, only 42% of the nation’s dogs are walked on a daily basis, and the average weekday dog walk is over in less than 20 minutes.
Dr Westgarth, a dog walking expert and lecturer in Human-Animal Interaction, has conducted extensive research into the positive effects of dog walking on health and wellbeing and joins TV vet Steve Leonard and farmer and BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson in supporting the campaign.
Together they are offering tips and advice on how to make the most of a dog walking routine as part of a guided six-week challenge.
Dr Westgarth said: “It sounds obvious to state that regular walks are good for us, but in our busy lives, it’s easy for walks to slip by in a hurry, or be put off until tomorrow. We want to help people rediscover the joy in walking their dogs and appreciate those moments that are not only benefitting the dog and themselves physically, but also helping us de-stress and improving our mental health,.”
As part of the campaign, Dr Westgarth has created ‘six golden rules for good dog walks’, such as keeping treats in your pocket to reward and distract your dog where necessary and keeping your dog in sight at all times.