Walking your dog is extremely important if you want your furry buddy to be healthy. It's a vital part of your pup's general well-being, as it allows them to stay healthy physically and mentally. Although we all know you're supposed to take your dog out several times a day, many owners struggle with the daily walks for various reasons. Sometimes the dog doesn't walk calmly while on a leash and the walk turns into frustration. Other times, the pup runs off and the owner spends the following days trying to find him.
There are many reasons why a simple walk may turn into an unpleasant experience. We've prepared a list of 10 tips for walking your dog and enjoying every minute of it:
Choose the Perfect Leash
The kind of leash you choose can make or break the whole walking experience for both you and your dog. The most important rule to remember is to choose whatever makes you and your dog feel comfortable. Various types of leashes are on the market today, and each of them has its pros and cons. Make sure to inform yourself about the different leash types and go with the one that fits your specific needs.
Go with the Right Collar
The most important thing about choosing a dog collar is going with the one that fits your specific needs. Owners of small breeds usually prefer harnesses to collars because they give them more control over their pups. Harnesses are more comfortable for the dog, especially if you haven't trained them to walk calmly by your side. However, if you own a large breed and use a collar or a slip collar, your dog will probably be more obedient than he would with a harness.
You need to have a firm grip and full control over your dog while walking, but make sure he can breathe and walk freely and easily.
You won't win the pulling game with your dog. He will only pull harder if you pull back. The trick is to stop walking and stand firmly once the pup starts pulling. After a while, it will teach the dog that pulling doesn't get him where he wants to go. Instead, it makes you stop walking. Your buddy needs to understand that the walk is stopped until he stops pulling and that there will be no walking around unless he walks calmly by your side.
Wake up 20 Minutes Earlier
Although many owners walk their pets only late at night, you should know that dogs prefer walking during the day. They aren't nocturnal animals, and going for a night run is not in their nature. Try to wake up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and take your dog for a brisk morning walk. Both of you will enjoy the refreshing time together and you will soon realize it's the best way to start your day.
Don't Forget the Treats
Dogs are curious animals, and they often get distracted during walks. It may be a squirrel, a cat, or an interesting smell that got their attention – with dogs you never know. Whatever the distraction, you have to be ready to get your dog's attention right back. The best way to grab the attention of a pup is to offer him something he's crazy about – like food. Bring his favorite treats and always have them on you in case your dog gets distracted, especially while he's off the leash.
Bring Water and a Bowl
If you go on long walks with your dog, make sure to bring fresh water and a water bowl. One of the most important tips for dog walkers is always to bring the essentials. Your dog may get thirsty after walking for 20 minutes. During hot summer days, he may even feel dehydrated. Dogs don't sweat – instead, they cool off by panting which makes them dehydrate easily. Check your local pet stores for folding water bowls that are easy to carry and very practical.
Don't Forget the ID Tag
Sometimes, dogs get lost during a walk. It just happens, and it can happen to anyone. Your dog may run off chasing a cat, a squirrel, a raccoon, another dog, or even a bird. If he doesn't have his ID tag on him, people who find him won't be able to bring him back to you. It's best always to be prepared and make sure your dog is easy to identify. Using microchips is another solution, as ID collar tags may get lost.
Avoid Going Out When it's too Hot
On warm summer days, the hot pavement can hurt your dog's paws. Moreover, the heat may cause various conditions, some of which can end tragically. Avoid exposing your pup to the direct sun during the warmest months. To make sure the pavement is safe for his paws, lay your bare hand on it and try to hold it there for 10 seconds. If it's too hot, don't go out.
Approach Other Dogs with Caution
No matter how friendly your dog is, not every dog is the same, and chances are he may get hurt by another dog that doesn't feel like socializing. Although they are usually friendly, some dogs don't enjoy meeting other dogs and it’s best to ask the owner first before letting your dog approach his pet.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Taking your dog out for a walk should be enjoyable for you both. Make sure you jump into something comfortable and don't forget to slip into the most comfortable shoes you own. While you may look super fancy wearing skinny jeans and high heels, you won't be comfortable and you won't enjoy the walk. Tactical pants work great for long walks with the pup, as they are comfortably loose and have deep pockets for treats and bags.
Author: Gina Brugna