I've been telling myself that we need to get out and start walking again and stick to the plan, make it a habit like it used to be. Even with the cooler weather I have just put it off. Until now. On Sunday afternoon Sawyer went in the kitchen and laid down by himself. I thought that was odd since he is usually close to where I am. Later I noticed he was scratching, and knowing that he does not have fleas I decided to check him over. I suspected that he had a sticker or debris caught in his fur or that he had a little ouw-wee. I stood him on his hind legs to get a good look at his underside and that's when I realized that we had a problem. His tummy looked like a sausage that was about to pop, much like a small puppy's stomach only bigger. That, plus the way he had laid around all afternoon concerned me.
Yesterday as soon as I got home from work I changed clothes and we were out the door, no excuses. I made sure to check the time on my phone as we left since I wanted to time our walk. Normally I would walk about 40-45 minutes, but with his weight and not being conditioned I knew I had to watch him and the time.
As usual he was out the door and at the end of the leash, ready to go. I let him lead for a while and then settled us into a brisk walk. Of course, he wanted to stop and smell everything, but we had to keep moving. When he started to slow down and drag behind I checked the time: 10 minutes. I decided to walk a bit more before turning around to head home, but within a minute he was really slow. Time to head home. Our total walk time was 17 minutes. After a cool down on the deck and some water he laid down. I've always been told that if a dog lays down after a walk then they have had a sufficient amount of exercise.
Tonight I followed the same routine; however, he seemed to settle into the brisk walk quicker and kept the pace going steadily. I walked a different route, as is my habit, and noticed that after 10 minutes he was still on a good pace. I kept us going for a few more minutes and then we were heading home. Total walk time was 23 minutes and he never dragged behind. I'm going to let him set the time frame until we can get back to our normal walk time.
I was reading through a little magazine that I get from our vet and there was an article about dog weight. It recommended taking a 15-minute brisk walk each during the week and then a 45 minute walk on the weekends that was a little more leisurely. I think that is good advice, but feel like we can do more than 15-minutes. But that suggestion helped me to realize that a short walk is better than no walk.
Sawyer was 14 months old in this picture and still at that somewhat awkward stage, but see the difference? I had found this picture Sunday night after seeing his little about-to-burst-belly and it helped me get motivated with his weight loss plan!