Most dogs really love going for walks. They are able to get out of the house with their beloved owners (that's you!) and explore the world around them.
Why Walk Your Dog?
Walks provide exercise and mental stimulation to your dog. If your dog seems bored or is acting out, it's possible he is not getting out enough. Consider taking your dog for a walk at least once a day. Walking is also a great way to bond with your dog.
How To Walk Your Dog
Going for walks should be fun and stimulating for your dog. It's also important to exhibit proper etiquette when out in public with your dog. Here are some basic guidelines that will help make your dog's walks enjoyable for you and your dog while respecting your community:
- Always pick up after your dog. Consider getting a bag holder that will attach to your dog's leash.
- Maintain control of your dog at all times. Keep your dog close to you when you are around other dogs or people by keeping a short leash.
- Remember to let your dog get plenty of chances to sniff around during the walk. Your dog's nose is the main way he explores his world!
- Before walking puppies, make sure they have been properly introduced to the leash.
- Choose the appropriate leash for your dog. It should be comfortable for you and your dog. It should also be easy to handle and not too long. Four to six feet is ideal.
- Avoid retractable leashes, or at least use them properly. Ideally, your dog should walk at your side. Your dog should definitely not be walking more than a few feet ahead of you because you will not have control if a distraction comes along.
- Train loose-leash walking so walks are less stressful.
- Consider training your dog to stop and sit at intersections, especially in the city. It's a good safety measure around traffic.
- Again, pick up after your dog! No one wants to step in poop.
- Don't let your dog wander into private yards. This is rude. Keep your dog on the curb strip side of the sidewalk whenever possible. Be sure to avoid letting your dog eliminate in yards.
- Pay attention to the environment around you. If you notice potential distractions (like cats, birds, other dogs, etc) before your dog, you may be able to minimize your dog's reaction. You can have your dog sit and look at you while the distraction passes. Keeping some tasty treats in your pocket might help your dog focus on you.
- Don't assume other people or dogs want to meet your dog. Always ask before you allow your dog to greet others.
- Make sure your dog is well-socialized and trained on how to properly meet other dogs and people (especially children).
- Keep walks short in hot weather or with senior dogs. It's time to head home if your dog stops walking, begins to slow down, or shows any signs of exhaustion. Contact a vet right away if you see signs of heat stroke.
- Protect paws in winter from icy, snowy or salted roads. Avoid asphalt on hot summer days, as the road can burn your dog's paw pads.
- And for the last time, please, please pick up after your dog.
- Last but not least, have fun!