Don’t Underestimate the Lassie Effect
There are about 78 million dogs in the US right now with owners who, if they wanted, could probably head out for a run right now.
This is called the Lassie Effect, and what that means is that your pup probably wouldn’t mind a walk around the neighborhood or a raucous game of fetch at the park, and you can get a little extra exercise from having fun with your furry friend. Or, maybe even tons of exercise.
Some studies show that a dog owner who is an attentive walker gets much more exercise than their cat-owning neighbors (no offense). And dog walker is actually a notably healthy job.
And yet many of those 78 million dogs — up to 40% — are not getting the kind of walk/play time they would prefer from owners who in turn aren’t getting the kind of exercise they need. Why not?
Australian researchers got to the bottom of this with a look at the health of hundreds of dog owners. And what they found were a few reasons why people may not be walking their pets:
- Smaller dogs are (wrongly considered) less needy when it comes to runs.
- No parks nearby.
- Older dogs were left to sleep on the floor
- Fatter dogs were left to just eat their lives away.
- Dogs who live in a house with kids get walked more often, but not by the parents who would benefit more from it.
- People liked their dogs, but didn’t love their dogs.
So there is nothing earth-shattering in this, but it does highlight that there are plenty of excuses why neither you nor Fido are getting enough exercise. So if there is a wet nose touching your foot right now, maybe it’s time to turn away from your screen and pull out the frisbee. Or at least a leash.
And, while we don’t really advocate using your dog as a piece of workout gear, we did make a short video showing how Mark might sometimes warm up with Jenny. It should be noted that Jenny is friendly. Most dogs don’t like being picked up and used as gear.