Springtime is right around the corner, and the weather will be ideal for spending more time outside walking with your dog. You wouldn’t think walking a dog could be overly complicated. You just strap on a leash and head out the door, right? Well, not exactly. If you want the walk to be safe and relaxing for you and satisfying for your dog, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
Bring the Necessities
If you’re going for a walk in warm weather or if you’re planning to be outside for a while, bring along a bottle filled with enough water for you and your dog to drink.
Also, bring along some high value dog treats like CANIDAE Bakery Snacks. Dog walks are a great time to brush up on your dog’s obedience skills; stop at random times to practice basic sits, downs and stays. If you’re working on new tricks, being outside is a good time to practice them because of the additional distractions. What’s more, the added fun of working on skills (and getting treats!) will further reinforce for your dog how enjoyable walks can be.
Don’t forget some type of poop bags. It’s a good idea to bring extras, just in case.
Dogs love to go for a walk and explore the world beyond their front door. It is a great way to get some exercise, work on obedience training and burn off excess dog energy. To make the experience pleasant for everyone, follow these basic etiquette guidelines for being a courteous dog walker.
Even if your dog is very obedient and does not wander off without permission while you are on a walk, your city may have leash laws that do not allow a dog to roam freely. Respect those laws. They are there to protect you, your dog and others.
Dogs who love to go out associate the leash with a positive, fun experience and may get excited when they see you get it out before a walk. The leash will give you full control while on your walk and also keep your dog safe. Think of it as the equivalent of holding a small child’s hand.
If no leash is required, you should still follow the basic rules of dog walking etiquette.
Keeping your dog on a routine is important. Canines like to know what’s going to happen throughout the day. I guess that makes it easier for them to plan out their busy schedule of chasing the cat, barking at the mailman and wolfing down their tasty CANIDAE food. The daily walk is an important part of your dog’s routine, but it can become a bit boring if you do the same thing every day. It’s good to spice it up now and then, to make it more fun for both of you.
Change the Pace
Many dogs enjoy getting out for a run, and jogging is a good way to build endurance and burn off calories. However, jogging isn’t for everyone or every dog. You can still mix up your pace and walk faster or slower, and in doing so you establish yourself as the leader by controlling the speed. Quickly changing directions helps to teach your dog to pay attention to you. Mixing up both speed and direction can make a walk even more stimulating.
Have Alternate Routes
A walk is not nearly as interesting when you see the same things day in and day out. Varying your route gives you different sights, smells and sounds that enrich the senses of both you and your dog. A nature trail offers different stimulation than a walk around the neighborhood. If you don’t have a trail close by, you can always drive to a nearby park or trail. When you walk out the door with your dog, he will look to you to see what’s going to happen next. Anticipation is part of the fun.
Although taking a dog for a walk is a good way for both of you to get some exercise, there are additional reasons to get out of the house for a stroll.
Humans and dogs both react to stressful events in their lives, and also to stressful people. A dog does not always know how to release that stress and anxiety. They also react to your stress and may show it in destructive or odd behavioral ways. No matter how big or small the stress is, it is important to utilize ways to reduce or even eliminate it in healthy ways.
A walk gives both you and the dog a physical and mental outlet for some of the stress. Going out to see and focus on other things besides what is causing stress or anxiety is a healthy way to get your minds and senses on other things for awhile.
What do you do if you’re peacefully walking your dog on a leash and an off-leash dog rushes up to you? How does your dog behave in this situation? I’ll be honest here – our dogs are not good under these circumstances, and it happens far too often. What’s worse, as the approaching dog races towards us, their owner invariably shouts, “don’t worry, he’s friendly!”
See, it takes our dogs a while to warm up to another dog. So no matter how “friendly” the approaching dog is, ours may not appreciate the greeting. Even worse, our dogs may not act friendly towards the unleashed dog.
When a dog is leashed, having an off-leash dog rush into his personal space uninvited is stressful. And the stress is compounded by the fact that he is restricted by a leash and can’t avoid the interaction – whether it’s friendly or not. As a responsible pet owner, you must be able to handle this socially-unequal situation for your dog. Be prepared to evaluate the situation quickly and employ one or more of these tactics:
When the dog running towards you displays positive body language, sometimes the solution is as simple as tossing a few CANIDAE TidNips treats on the ground. Even if the approaching dog doesn’t go straight for the treats, the motion and sound should catch his attention. When he stops to investigate, he’ll realize there are treats on the ground and devote his attention to consuming the TidNips instead of rushing you and your dog.
We love hearing from our readers. Mary M. recently gave us a great topic to address to help you keep your dog safe when walking in low-light situations, such as evenings and early mornings. As you know by reading some of our other Responsible Pet Ownership posts, we’re all about finding ways to help you keep your pets safe, healthy and happy.
Do you walk your dog early in the morning as the sun is coming up or late in the evening when dusk makes dangerous shadows? Believe it or not, wearing reflective clothing yourself is not enough to protect your dog. Driving at this time of morning or evening is dangerous, and no matter how careful a driver may be there is always a chance of them not seeing your dog. Yes, I know that the side of the road is supposed to be a safe area for walking your dog, but accidents happen. People look away from the road and veer off the side, or shadows can make it difficult to discern where the edge of the road is, not to mention making it hard to see a person or dog in the gloom.
Besides having some sort of reflective clothing on yourself, you should also make sure your dog has a reflective safety vest, reflective leash and collar. Glow in the dark items are also helpful in the event that headlights don’t hit you. Making you and your dog visible even in very low light is important for keeping you both safe. There is no such thing as too much reflective safety gear when it comes to keeping your dog safe.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.