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Dog ownership better than a gym membership? A new survey says yes

Dog walkAny dog owner can attest to the staggering number of benefits our four-legged friends bestow on us.  Add to that list the health benefits associated with exercise. 

According to a new survey out of the U.K., a group of 3,000 dog owners spent an average of eight hours and 11 minutes exercising their pets each week.  (That total, the researchers behind the survey noted, accounted for an average of two 24-minute walks daily, as well as three longer walks per week.)  A total of 2,000 pet-less people questioned as part of the same survey reported logging an average of only one hour and 20 minutes of exercise per week.

Further, the dog-owning respondents said overwhelmingly that they actually enjoyed walking their pets (86%).  And the dog owners were far less likely to come up with excuses to get out of exercising than the pet-less respondents, owing, we imagine, to an understandable reluctance to disappoint a dog with a gleam like this in its eye.

According to the Telegraph, only 16% of respondents said they enjoyed exercising in a gym.  But lest we give too much credence to the survey, our colleagues at The Times' health blog, Booster Shots, point out that it was sponsored by a British pet healthcare company.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A professional dog walker hikes with her charges in Runyon Canyon.  Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (12)

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I love walking my dog, but he stops so much to smell the, umm, roses that I get far more continuous walking in on my own. I have to take two kinds of walks: one for him and one for me.

Why are the dogs in the photo off leash? Los Angeles has a leash law, and Runyon Canyon is in the City of L.A.. Please protect your dogs, other dogs, and other hikers/walkers. Keep your dogs on leash when in public places.

"professional dog walker hikes with her charges in Runyon Canyon" Where are their leashes??? Yes, your doggies need leashes. I would fire you as my dogwalker, for endangering the dog, no matter how domesticated or trained a semi-wild animal, and lacking this basic control in a semi-wild area.

Your staggering sense of entitlement scares me and my dog.

This photo is absolutely precious.

I thought that the photo of the woman with the trail of unleashed dogs behind her was very charming until I saw the credit below, which indicates that she is a paid-for-hire dog walker. Do the owners of the dogs she is "walking" know that she is taking them into a canyon where there are other off-leash dogs (that aren't always friendly and could possibly attack one of her "charges"), snakes and other distractions that could lead a dog to take off running?

The only way to protect the dogs she is being paid to walk is to have each of them at the end of a leash that she controls. Then, if an aggressive dog should attack one of hers, she at least has some control and might be able to pull the dog out of harm's way. She is risking the safety and well-being of the dogs she is hired to protect.

This is the MOST irresponsible woman. I would like to know who she is so that I can let everyone I know NOT to hire her.

Runyon is an off-leash park. Seems like she has things happily under control.

For all the people that put up with hair on their carpet, furniture, bathtub, clothes and even dinner, I tip my hat to you. I'm happy to be in this skewed minority and have a home that doesn't smell of dog breath.

Runyon Canyon is an off-leash dog park to the best of my knowledge.

She apparently has all the dogs under control...She appears to be the "alpha" and the dogs know it.

It makes one believe she could give Al Gore lessons in being the "alpha," doesn't it?

People talk about leashes, this is off-topic, this is about exercise. Wow only 16 prcent, what kind of gym is this? Is there dog poopoos near the entrance door? Serioulsy i truly hope the real statistic is more like 50-75 percent. I have no dog here, and sometimes i admit i force myself to the gym, but not not most of the time...

A number of commenters don't know what they are talking about and are disparaging what is obviously a very competent dog walker in an off-leash dog park. That she has those dogs following her obediently off-leash is a testament to the respect these dogs have for her authority.

Booo leashes

Humans who are always barking about dogs HAVING to be on leash AT ALL TIMES need to be leashed and muzzled. Dogs who are never allowed to act like dogs, running to their hearts' content, end up neurotic. I agree, you need to find a safe area to do it, but a dog should not spend its life on a leash!


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