Whether you just adopted your first dog, or you are an experienced dog walker, there are many ways to ensure your dog gets both a safe and stimulating walk! Dog walking is an important aspect to maintaining a healthy dog, so make sure you keep your pup on a reliable walk schedule (or hire a local dog walker such as Paws to Consider)! Here are some way to make sure everyone gets the most out of dog walking:
1. Front clip harness – Traditional collars and harness promote pulling, if you find that you are constantly in a tug of war battle with your dog, try a front clipping harness. Since the leash is attached to the harness in the front (your dogs chest) when your dog tries to pull, it will naturally be re-directed and will not be able to continue on its current course until your pup stops pulling!
2. Sniffing – Dogs interpret much of their environment through their sense of smell, letting your dog sniff around during walks can be a great way to provide additional mental stimulation on walks. We tend to focus on the physical aspect of dog walks, however mental stimulation can really amount to a lot of work as well! Make sure you decide where and when your dog can take a sniff break, so your dog doesn’t end up stopping the walk every 5 seconds!
3. Pick up your dogs poop – Picking up after your dog is not only the right thing to do, but pet waste can contain harmful organisms that can spread to other animals and even humans! Giardia, E.Coli, Roudworms, Hookworms, and Salmonella can all be found in dog waste.
4. Avoid using a retractable leash – Retractable leashes may cause unnecessary hazards compared to a traditional leash. The length of a retractable leash may make it difficult to maintain control of your dog, and if dogs have enough line they may be able to run into dangerous situations before you can reel them in! They also promote pulling in dogs and are difficult to grab in any other place besides the handle.
5. Bring water – This is particularly important on hot days, as dogs have a more difficult time regulating their body temperatures (as compared to humans), making them more prone to overheating than we are.
6. Avoid hot pavement – Speaking of hot weather, always be cautious around pavement particularly in the summer months. Pavement can become very hot and is often time un-noticeable to humans, as our shoes provide us with adequate protection. While dog paws provide reasonable protection in many environments, pavement can cause blisters and burns to your dogs paws. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds to determine if pavement is to hot. If its to hot for your hand, it’s to hot for your dog!
7. Make sure your dog has proper identification – Always be sure your dog is wearing appropriate ID tags whenever you are leaving the house with him/her. Consider getting a microchip for you dog, as collars can break or be wriggled out of! If your dog is microchip-ed, be sure to register your information, so anyone who scans the chip can get in touch with you.
8. Bring high value treats – One great way to keep your dogs focus is by bringing high value treats with you during walks. If your dog goes crazy (like mine do) every time a squirrel is in eyesight, keep treats in hand to work on keeping your dogs attention. If you are working on any training with your dog, these treats will also help reinforce good behaviors you are trying to instill.
9. Wear reflective gear at night – You can even get a reflective leash or collar or both for your dog. This is particularly important if your street does not have sidewalks to walk along, as drivers visibility decreases significantly at night!