By Tim Falk
Published: 12/02/2020, edited: 04/28/2022
The humble walk is a simple but wonderful way to exercise your pupper. Not only does it help keep your pup in shape, but the sights, sounds, and smells they encounter along the way offer plenty of mental stimulation. Best of all, walking is a fun activity for you and your fur-baby to enjoy together.
But while walking your dog might sound easy, that’s not always the case. From pups pulling on leads to pet parents not giving their pooches enough time to stop and smell the roses, there’s plenty that can go wrong.
If strolling with your Staffy or trekking with your Terrier isn’t as enjoyable as it should be, here are 7 simple tips to help you master your next dog walk.
Let’s start with the most common complaint of dog walkers all over the world: pulling on the leash. If your pup doesn’t know how to walk politely on a leash, walking your dog can be a challenging experience and even downright dangerous in some circumstances.
The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to put a stop to this nuisance behavior. Start training your dog to stop pulling on their leash as soon as possible. By showing your pup that heeling leads to a reward but pulling won’t get them where they want to go, you’ll make on-leash tug of war a thing of the past.
At the same time, a special walking harness or head harness designed to minimize pulling can also make walking a much more relaxing experience.
There are plenty of important items you’ll need to take with you when walking your dog, but treats should be right near the top of the list. Treats can come in handy in many different situations, like when you need to reward your dog for walking politely on the leash, greeting strangers calmly, or just being a good pup.
Just make sure not to over-do it, and remember that those treats will contribute to your pet’s overall daily calorie count.
Yeah, we know. Raising a dog has many joys, but it also brings with it a few unpleasant jobs. Picking up your dog’s deposits while out for a walk would have to be one of the most stomach-turning parts of pet parenthood, but it’s an important one.
So next time you head out the door for walkies, make sure you’ve got at least a couple of poop bags with you. There are some very handy bag dispensers you can attach to your pup’s lead or harness to ensure that you never get caught short — just remember to refill them whenever they run out.
By cleaning up after your dog, you can show the world that you’re a responsible pet parent.
Your pup’s health is your number-one priority, so remember a few simple safety tips every time you lace up your walking shoes.
The weather is always an important consideration on dog walks. Be sure to avoid the hottest part of the day in warm climates, and be careful in extreme cold — a doggy jacket and booties can come in very handy when temperatures plummet.
If you’re setting out for a long walk, take water with you to help your pup stay hydrated. Watch out for hot (or icy) roads or sidewalks that could damage paw pads, and never force your dog to tackle any walks beyond their physical capability.
Other simple tasks, such as teaching your dog about road safety and wearing reflective gear when out at night, also help keep your pup out of harm’s way.
Finally, make sure your dog is microchipped and has up-to-date ID tags in case they somehow slip their collar and make a break for it.
Retractable pet leashes often seem like a good idea in theory, but they’re not an ideal choice in many circumstances. While they can be okay if you’re in a quiet and spacious park with no one else around, they can be a real hassle when you’re in busy, high-traffic areas.
What’s so bad about retractable leashes? Well, although they give your dog more freedom to explore, they make it a whole lot harder to control your pup. You also run the risk of getting tangled around trees, other walkers, and even cyclists, so they can actually be quite dangerous.
Stick to a conventional leash and you won’t regret it.
Variety is the spice of life, so don’t just take your pup along the same boring old route every day. Sure, you can have your favorite sidewalks and trails, but mix things up as often as you can to keep things interesting for your furry friend (and for you).
Your pup will appreciate the chance to explore new scenery and smells, and it’ll make them all the more eager to join you every time you grab the leash and prepare to head out the door.
This last tip is one we could all do well to remember sometimes.
How often do you find yourself hurrying your pup along while out on a walk? Instead of letting your dog take their time, there’s sometimes a tendency to keep moving and get back home as quickly as possible.
But dog walks are about so much more than just exercise for your pup. A dog walk gives them a chance to put their amazing sense of smell to use as they explore different environments and neighborhoods. This offers wonderful mental stimulation for your pooch, so be sure to give them the freedom to stop and smell the roses.
Don’t rush your pup through their potty breaks either — finding the “pawfect” spot to do their business is crucial to how dogs communicate with other canines, so be patient.
Besides, this means you get to spend more quality time exploring with your pup by your side, so what’s the rush? Take your time and enjoy yourself!
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