Dog Walking Basics – For New Puppies and Old Pros
24 February, 2015
If you haven’t owned a dog before and either adopted a puppy or an older dog, it seems as if dog walking is a natural, easy thing to do. The truth is that walking a dog is a skill that needs to be developed with time, effort and the correct leash. You need to make time each day to walk your dog, practice with a leash and get you both used the correct rhythm that works for you and your pup.
Below are some overall basics to get you started on your daily walks with your dogs:
What are the different leashes that you can use?
Flexi-leads are best for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.
Chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.
Nylon leashes can cut into your hands or give a pet parent leash burn if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.
Every dog is different and with a little trial and error, you can find the best leash for your dog.
Try not to pull on the leash
If you constantly pull on your dog’s leash, it will make the walk stressful and uncomfortable. If your dog runs after another dog, it may help to walk him when other cats or dogs are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk. Make sure to have a leash long enough and comfortable enough to give your dog enough room to walk, but you still have the ability to stop him if necessary.
Give yourself enough time for the dog walk.
Dogs, like humans, need their morning exercise and it’s a good way to tire them out before you start your day. Try setting aside thirty minutes to a full hour for your morning walk. The specific needs of each dog differ. Consult your vet and keep an eye on your dog’s behavior to see if his needs are being met.
Bring treats along with you on your walks
If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside. And don’t forget the treats. Walks are great training opportunities. Bring treats along and try to practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world.
Remember to bring some extra poop bags with you especially if you’re going on a long walk.
Watch out for mosquitos particularly if you are hiking
Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.
If you take your dog to a dog park, make sure he is OK off leash
Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for dogs to run around is a great way to make new pet pals. However, you need to make sure that your dog is OK off leash and will come to you when you call him or her. If there is an issue with his being off leash, you can still enjoy the dog park and keep your pup’s leash on him or her.
Tips to make the walk enjoyable for both you and your dog
Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:
- Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds of a new spot.
- Choose fun destinations. If possible, walk to a friends’ house or the dog park.
- Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.
- Go for a long weekend hike where you can practice leash training where there aren’t a lot of people around.
There are many nuances and tips for walking with your dog. Some dogs take to a leash immediately while others have trouble. If your dog is not keen on walking with his leash on, it is best to get some training so that you and your dog can be safe outdoors. If your dog sits or lies down on walks, here are some tips to help: Click Here!