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By Kirstie Gregory, Oct 19 2016 03:49PM

A dog walk is about exercise, it's about giving your dog an opportunity to poop, pee and stretch his legs.

It's also about much more than that.

I see a dog walk as a time for a dog to be a dog! It's the time when they can really use those special extra sensitive senses.

With his nose a dog can check out which dogs have visited his favourite spot since last time, how old they are , what sex they are and even their emotional state. He gets to leave his own 'calling card' so other dogs can know he has visited this location. It's not just other dogs' scent he can pick up. He can smell cats, rabbits and other small prey animals.

Your dog may meet other dogs, depending on where he is walking. He may just sniff them as they go by , there may be a greeting in the form of mutual rear sniffing. He may meet a dog he'd rather not interact with or he may make a friend and play.

A young pup can learn about different dogs in their varying shapes, sizes and temperament. He can learn much needed social skills and doggy etiquette and also get used to humans in their many shapes and sizes. He can meet the elderly with sticks, children playing, men with hats and beards. All of these things can build a puppys confidence through habituation so that he grows up to be a confident sociable dog.

A dog walk can also be a great time for some interaction with you. You can brush up on his recall training, teach him a new trick or play his favourite game.

As you can see a dog walk can fulfil many of your dogs needs.

I try to vary the locations where I walk dogs, so that they have new smells and scenery. I vary the walks different times of year too. In the summer i'll walk them somewhere where there are trees for shade and a stream or river to cool off. Sometimes on a really hot day a walk will consist of playing in the river and swimming to combat the heat whilst still getting excercise.

I like to go to places where there is varied terrain. There may be fields, woodlands and paths so it gives them a really varied walk. Sometimes they'll go to the local park where they will meet lots of other dogs. Sometimes they will go to a country park where they will smell lots of prey . Sometimes I will walk them by the river where the dogs who want to can have a swim.

Dogs need a good mixture of on and off lead walking. Where appropriate I will let the dogs off to have a supervised play. Some older dogs have to be careful about over exerting themselves with old joints so I will let them off lead for shorter peroids.

So there are so many great reasons and benefits to walking your dog. Why not make your dog walk a great one?!