Factors associated with daily walking of dogs

C. Westgarth, Hayley Christian, R.M. Christley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


© Westgarth et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: Regular physical activity is beneficial to the health of both people and animals. The role of regular exercise undertaken together, such as dog walking, is a public health interest of mutual benefit. Exploration of barriers and incentives to regular dog walking by owners is now required so that effective interventions to promote it can be designed. This study explored a well-characterised cross-sectional dataset of 276 dogs and owners from Cheshire, UK, for evidence of factors associated with the dog being walked once or more per day. Results: Factors independently associated with daily walking included: number of dogs owned (multiple (vs. single) dogs negatively associated); size (medium and possibly large dogs (vs. small) positively associated); and number of people in the household (more people negatively associated). Furthermore, a number of factors related to the dog-owner relationship and the dog's behaviour were associated with daily walking, including: having acquired the dog for a hobby (positively associated); dog lying on furniture (positively associated); dog lying on laps (negatively associated); growling at household members (negatively associated); and playing chase games with the dog (negatively associated). Conclusions: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the strength and nature of the human-dog relationship incentivises dog walking, and that behavioural and demographic factors may affect dog walking via this mechanism. Future studies need to investigate how dog demographic and behavioural factors, plus owner behavioural factors and perceptions of the dog, influence the dog-human relationship in respect to the perceived support and motivation a dog can provide for walking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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