LONDON — Trying to find a way to get your feet moving more frequently? Get a dog! A new study finds the average dog owner logs more than 1,000 miles and plays 2,080 games of fetch while walking them each year.
British pet food company Harrington’s commissioned a survey of 2,000 dog owners to find out how active people are with their best friends.
The study found that the average dog owner takes their pet out ten times a week, with each trip lasting about 34 minutes. The average length of these walks is just under two miles, although most owners say they walk the same route almost every time.
Of course, taking the dog out requires plenty of yelling for Fido to come, sit, and stay. The survey also showed that dog owners call their pets’ names 3,120 times during walks over a year’s time.
The researchers also extrapolated that the average owner winds up in more than a thousand conversations with other animal lovers each year, with about 17 minutes of each walk being off-leash. They even estimated that dog owners find themselves untangling the leash more than 1,000 times during those excitable, jumpier moments.
Dog expert Ben Fogle encourages people to let their dogs off leash if they can: “For me, a dog walk isn’t a dog walk if you can’t take the dog off the [leash] – it means they can fully stretch their legs and let off steam.”
Dogs, on average, based on the study, spend about half of their walk time off the leash, and about one in four dog owners admit they don’t let their dogs off-leash during their walks. Reasons for not letting dogs roam free vary. Seventeen percent say they don’t do it because it’s not allowed where they walk, while 18% say their dog isn’t well enough behaved to be off its leash. Three in 10 respondents say it’s simply too dangerous.
Meanwhile, which member of the family responsible for the daily dog duties can lead to dicey disputes. The survey found participants get into 104 arguments (two per week) with their significant others or children each year over whose turn it is to take the dog out.
“For dog owners, going out for a walk is one of the main perks of owning a pet,” says a spokesman for Harrington’s in a press release. “While a walk is necessary to keep your pet fit and healthy, it’s also a great opportunity to bond with your dog, away from the chores and your busy day-to-day lives.”