- Taking a walk together is a quick and easy way to burn some excess energy and increase the bond with your dog. A tired dog is a happy dog and they will be much less likely to engage in destructive behavior if they are receiving an adequate amount of physical stimulation.
- When you walk your dog, take the opportunity to work on their listening skills. Practice your ‘heel’ command, sit at curbs and wait to cross the street, don’t pull to people or other dogs. Your entire walk doesn’t need to be strict adhesion to heeling and ridged training, but starting and ending your walk with a few minutes of structured walking will help set the tone for nice manners throughout.
- Dogs naturally would roam many miles every day through their territory. Walking them helps to fulfill their need to get out, sniff, and investigate their surroundings.
- Diet and exercise are just as important for dogs as they are for people. Regular walks will help to keep your dog’s waistline fit and trim. A good general guideline to gauge your dog’s weight is that you should be able to feel their ribs without pushing through fat, and they should have a waistline when you look at them from above.
- Socialization is key to keeping your dog mentally happy and healthy. Walks are a great way to achieve this, but always make sure to ask if it is ok for your dog to greet both people and dogs. Some people are afraid of dogs. Some dogs are afraid of other dogs, aggressive, sick, or just old and sore. Always respect another dog owner’s request to keep your dog at a distance…it may be for your own dog’s safety.
Always leave for your walks prepared!
- A Sturdy 6 foot leash is recommended as your go to for an outing with your dog. Be wary of retractable leashes – while the idea of letting our dogs be able to explore more is nice, there are many dangers that come with that. They allow your dog to get far enough away that you aren’t always able to react quickly in a potentially dangerous situation, they break easily, and they have been known to cause severe injuries to both people and dogs. In addition to the physical dangers of retractable leashes they also encourage your dog to pull! Because they automatically retract there is constant pressure on the leash, and your dog will learn that the more they pull the more leash they get.
- Don’t forget poop bags! Being a dog’s guardian isn’t always the most glamourous job to be sure, but being diligent about cleaning up after your 4-legged friend will keep your walk ways fresh and your shoes clean. Your neighbors will all appreciate your respect for their homes and walkways as well.
- Treats are a great way to reward your dog for good behavior. Taking a few treats along on your walks isn’t a bad idea at all. Giving Fluffy a treat for coming back to your side from the end of the leash, or for not pulling up to people/dogs will keep them coming back for more.
- Wear reflective gear for night time/early morning walks. Making sure you and your dog can be seen for late or early walks is important for both of you. Special reflective collars and leashes are readily available as well as vests and collar lights. Avoid a potentially tragic incident by making sure you are readily visible after dark.