Unless you’ve been living under a rock for your entire life, you’ll know that walking your dog is the best part of their day. The excitement and pure joy when they see their harness is a testament to how much they love their time outdoors with their favorite human.
Walking your dog may sound like a walk in the park (literally) but it can take a bit of time to master. Each dog is different, and each breed has specific quirks that you must look out for. For example, some dogs are inherently lazier and won’t be able to walk as far as the more energetic breeds.
As much as your dog loves you, it won’t just magically be able to walk with you on a leash – that takes time and training. Below are seven dog-walking tips that every pet owner should memorize:
1. Be Patient
Dog walks are everything to your four-legged companion. They’re going to want to explore and sniff around, and you should let them. This is the best time of their day, and they deserve a little bit of adventure injected into their otherwise mundane day.
If you live in an apartment block in the city, make sure that you spend at least an hour outside with your dog every day. The exercise will be good for you and your little buddy, both mentally and physically.
2. Don’t Approach Strange Dogs
One of the cardinal rules of dog walking is mutual respect for other dogs. Never approach other dogs on a walk without asking first. Just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean that all dogs are automatically going to be friendly too.
It is always better to err on the side of caution and put a healthy distance between you and another dog on a walk – where possible.
3. Sniffing Time
One of the cutest things in the world is watching a hyperactive dog excitedly sniffing around a new area. Their tails don’t stop wagging, and the joy in their eyes is beautiful. For your dog, getting to go for a walk is about so much more than just physical exercise. That is the time for your furry friend to explore and sniff around – that mental stimulation is vital for good wellbeing.
Choose safe spots for your dog to sniff around, and when you do stop – give them more than 7 seconds to sniff around. During your training with them, choose a command or signal that lets them know they can have a big ol’ sniff around their surroundings.
4. Never Let Your Dog Off Its Leash
There are two kinds of people in this world who don’t deserve to have a dog; those that don’t pick up after them, and those that let them roam free – sans leash. As mentioned in the tip above, mutual respect for other dogs and their owners is non-negotiable.
Apart from liability issues if your dog happens to bite someone during their jaunt, not all dog meetings are pleasant ones. Keep things safe and fair by keeping your pooches on the best dog harnesses you can get.
5. Pack Water
Even if you don’t think it’s that hot outside – pack water and plenty of it. Canines have a tough time regulating their temperatures than humans do – making it super easy for them to overheat.
As most people know, dogs don’t sweat as we do – they sweat through panting. That means they can rapidly become dehydrated during exercise, particularly during bouts of warmer weather.
6. Pick Up Their Poop
Don’t be that person. You know – the one that turns a blind eye to the parcels their pup leaves behind. It’s not about it being biodegradable – it’s just plain rude to leave it lying there. All you’re doing is making it someone else’s problem – which is not fair.
Take a few poop bags with you. Slip your hand inside and use it as a glove because that makes disposal so much easier. It’s the responsible thing to do.
Even with the correct dog-walking gear and the greatest of intentions, accidents happen, occasionally. Ensure that your dog either has your contact details on their collar or has a microchip with updated information.
Instead of relying on social media or posters to find your runaway pooch – make it easy for whoever finds him to contact you to arrange a mutual collection point. Save yourself the potential anxiety and worry; it’s the right thing to do. Besides, you wouldn’t want your walk to end in heartbreak.