Publication Details

Degeling, C. & Rock, M. (2013). 'It was not just a walking experience': reflections on the role of care in dog-walking. Health Promotion International, 28 (3), 397-406.


Research into physical activity and human health has recently begun to attend to dog-walking. This study extends the literature on dog-walking as a health behaviour by conceptualizing dog-walking as a caring practice. It centres on qualitative interviews with 11 Canadian dog-owners. All participants resided in urban neighbourhoods identified through previous quantitative research as conducive to dog-walking. Canine characteristics, including breed and age, were found to influence people's physical activity. The health of the dog and its position in the life-course influenced patterns of dog-walking. Frequency, duration and spatial patterns of dog-walking all depended on relationships and people's capacity to tap into resources. In foregrounding networks of care, inclusive of pets and public spaces, a relational conceptualization of dog-walking as a practice of caring helps to make sense of heterogeneity in patterns of physical activity among dog-owners. 2013 The Author (2012). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.



Link to publisher version (DOI)