I don’t know about you, but I’ve really loathed the recent hot spell of weather, and those oppressive muggy conditions we’ve all been sweltering under certainly haven’t been conducive for long dog walks!

However, cooler temperatures are now with us and very soon we will be counting down to those lovely crisp autumnal days, when there is nothing better than getting out with your four-legged pal.

Mental health has been in the news a lot recently and several studies have proven what us dog owners have long-known... that having a dog is beneficial to both your general health and your mental wellbeing.

Some evidence has suggested that simply being around a dog may lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

And walking - such a key part of good dog ownership - is known for its physical, therapeutic and de-stressing benefits and that activity can only be enhanced by having a canine companion!

Another interesting piece of research uncovered the concept of ‘co-discipline’ where owners said that walking their dog motivated them - and we can all do with motivation when it’s raining and those nights start drawing in - to form a daily habit.

My little pack definitely know when its time for walkies. Pebbles, my Boston Terrier, stands guard by the front door from 7pm, to ensure she doesn’t get left out!

And I know exactly what the study means, looking at her expectant face, even when its cold and raining outside, I just cannot let her down.

But it isn’t just the benefits of exercise, simply seeing my dogs enjoying themselves makes me feel happy and when you’re out and about with your dog, you meet other like-minded folk – which builds a sense of community and belonging, which has the knock-on benefit of improving your mental health.

Sadly, some people don’t realise the immense ‘good’ at the end of the lead they are holding. Too many amble along engrossed in their mobile phone, negating all those positives.

So, put the phone away and interact and talk to your dog when you are out on your walk and soak up those positive vibes!