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.
I have yet to find a dog who doesn’t enjoy going on walks. However, the problem is that not all dogs are leash trained, nor are they all friendly. Sometimes, a meeting between two dogs doesn’t go as well as both owners expected. I recently heard about a new idea in collars, leashes and harnesses, with messages that can help make dog walking safer for dogs, their owners and other people.
A company in the United Kingdom has come up with a simple way to send a clear signal to people approaching with their dog or someone just walking that tells them if a dog is friendly, isn’t interested in making a new friend, or needs space to stay calm. Dexil’s Friendly Dog Collars were designed to let strangers know what a dog’s temperament is like before they are near him. The purpose of the collars is to hopefully cut down on dog-on-dog encounters and dogs biting people who simply want to pet them. It’s a system based on a traffic light.
You can get a collar, lead or harness with a simple message embroidered in black on them. A green collar with the word “Friendly” means that the dog is good with adults, kids and other dogs. Orange with “No Dogs” means he’s happy to meet people, but he’s not good with other dogs. Red with “Caution” means to stay away, and do not approach this dog. He needs his space and doesn’t want you to pet him.
Other messages are available, including two for special needs pets. A gold color signifies a “Nervous” dog that may be unpredictable if approached. White is for a “Blind Dog” that may be limited in his sight or completely blind. White is also used for “Deaf Dog,” which means he’s hard of hearing or completely deaf. Blue says “Training,” for dogs being trained by their owner, so please do not disturb. Yellow is a good one for shelters and rescue groups; it says “Adopt Me.”
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.