Taking your four-legged companion for a walk is not just a form of exercise, it gives the animal the opportunity to interact with the outside world, to take in new and interesting smells, and socialize with other dogs and humans. Keeping your dog entertained and giving him or her the opportunity to use all that pent-up energy will make your pooch happy and calm for the rest of the day. The next 10 dog walking tips will make every walk as easy as possible.
- Choose the right leash
- Set the right mood
- Create a routine
- Be prepared
- Don’t pull on the leash
- If the pooch pulls on the leash, STOP
- Make sure your dog wears an identification tag
- Pay attention to your dog
- Make your dog sit before being pet by other people
- Don’t reward your dog for unwanted behavior
- The bottom line
Choose the right leash
The type of leash you choose might make the difference between a fun walk and a trip to the vet. There are no good or bad types of leashes; their effectiveness will vary based on how you intend to use them and more importantly, where you plan to walk your dog. A classic leash is recommended for areas with more traffic while a retractable dog leash will allow your dog more freedom of movement and is better suited for low traffic, open areas.
Set the right mood
Dogs have a tendency to get excited and overstimulated when they understand you’re about to take them for a walk. This usually manifests as jumping around, heading for the door and sometimes barking.
We recommend you only take your dog out for a walk when your pet’s calm and paying attention to your commands. You can achieve this by only attaching the leash when your dog is calm.
If your dog becomes overly enthusiastic when he or she sees you picking up the leash, put it back and wait for the dog to calm down. Repeat this for as many times as it takes so that the dog understands that he’ll only get to go for a walk when he’s calm and obedient.
Create a routine
Dogs are creatures of habit and need a well established and stable routine in order to thrive. It’s very important for the happiness of your pet to create and keep to a daily routine, be it for walks, feeding or play time.
Walking your dog at the same time each day will also allow him or her to develop a toilet-going routine. Early morning and in the evening are the most popular times for walking a dog. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take your dog out for an extra walk in the middle of the day if you have some spare time.
Making a checklist of the things you need to take with you when you go for a walk with your dog will guarantee that no unforeseen event will catch you off guard. There are the obvious items like dog treats, dog poop scoopers and bags, that come to mind but there are also others to consider.
For example, if you have a small dog or one that just dislikes the cold there are dog coats for cold weather available online, or if snow is a regular occurrence during winter you could check what type of dog shoes are right for your four-legged friend.
Don’t pull on the leash
Please try and always schedule enough time for your walks to make sure that your dog gets the chance to enjoy all the interesting smells he or she might come across. It’s never a good idea to pull on the leash.
Dogs have an instinct that is called the opposition reflex, and it is their natural instinct to resist pressure. If you pull in one direction, your dog will instinctively pull in the other one. A good way to counter this is to give your dog basic commands like come, stay or sit during your walks.
If the pooch pulls on the leash, STOP
First, if you have a dog that tends to pull on the leash, we recommend you switch from a collar to a harness to avoid any choking hazards. The best way to deal with a dog that pulls on the leash is to stop and wait for the dog to calm down. It will have the same effect as not taking him for a walk when he’s overly enthusiastic — it will reinforce your dog’s understanding of the fact that he will get to do pleasant things only when he is calm and obedient.
Make sure your dog wears an identification tag
If by chance your pet gets separated from you during a walk it is very important that your contact information is available on the identification tag. This might make the difference between a swift reunion and a trip to all the dog shelters in the area. Although microchips offer an alternative to classic identification tags, the information stored on them is not as readily available as that on a classic tag.
Pay attention to your dog
During a walk, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe and sound. This means you need to pay attention to the way your pet reacts to other dogs, people or things you may come across. Always be prepared to lead your dog away from situations that could make the animal uncomfortable.
Make your dog sit before being pet by other people
As mentioned above, giving your dog simple commands during your daily walks is a good way to strengthen your bond. Asking your dog to sit before being petted by other people, or before interacting with other dogs will once again underline the fact that a calm and obedient manner will lead to pleasant experiences.
Don’t reward your dog for unwanted behavior
One of the most important things that you need to refrain from is rewarding unwanted behavior. In this article, we’ve mentioned the need for you to have a consistent behavior when interacting with your dog. This will allow him to better understand what you are asking of him and to better predict the consequences of an action.
Walking your dog is a very important activity for both the owner and the pet, but it should also be fun. And remember, every dog is unique so be flexible and try to find the right approach for you and your pet.