For most dog owners, going on walks is part of the daily routine. Not only does it give your dog a chance to relieve itself, it also provides physical activity and mental stimulation. It’s also a good way for owners to get in their steps and enjoy the fresh air as well!
However, not every dog is great on a leash or walking next to you. That is something that must be learned. You have to teach your dog what is expected and how to act. If your dog is too out of control, you may want to sign them up for obedience training. But there is a lot you can do on your own to reinforce positive behavior and make your daily walks more enjoyable.
1. Use a harness for walks.
Your dog may wear a collar when in the house or roaming your backyard, but you may want to consider a harness if you’re taking them out on a walk. This gives you more control and prevents pulling on their neck and throat. A front-clip harness can also keep them from pulling against you even harder. Because it hooks in the front, the restraint they feel is different, and it can redirect them. It is also harder for them to slip out of a well-fit harness than a collar.
Using a non-retractable leash can also be beneficial on walks because it allows you to keep your dog close. Retractable leashes can malfunction, and your dog may end up getting tangled up on something or running out further than you want. Retractable leashes are better for when you’re casually strolling the park or a more open area away from traffic or other dangers.
2. Allow your dog to explore.
Some of your walks may be short and to the point, especially if you’re in a hurry or the weather is bad. But also make time for walks where your dog can simply sniff and explore their surroundings. All of the different scents and sounds can be mentally stimulating. Let them mark their territory and scope out where other animals may have crossed their path.
3. Pay attention to the weather and terrain.
The pads on your dog’s feet can be sensitive. If it’s too hot for you to be out walking in bare feet, it’s probably too hot for your dog’s feet too. In this case, try to walk on the grass or dirt where it is cooler. Stick to shaded paths and go out first thing in the morning or later in the evening when it is not as hot out. Be wary of areas that have small pebbles or stones that may get caught in the pads of their feet too, or where there are burrs that could get stuck in their fur.
4. Reward your dog with treats.
Treats aren’t just for good behavior at home. Keep some on hand for your walks as well. If your dog follows commands, reward them. If they sit and wait for someone else to pass, don’t go berserk when they see another animal, or redirect with a small tug on their leash, give them a treat. They’ll associate this with positive behaviors.
5. Wear identification.
Even if your dog is well-behaved you don’t think they would ever run off or slip out of their collar, make sure they are wearing proper identification. In addition to tags or a clip on their collar or harness, consider getting them microchipped for an extra layer of protection. This way, if they were to somehow get separated from their tags, they can still be identified and you can be contacted. If you’re walking around dawn or dusk, put some sort of reflective gear on yourself and your dog so you can both be clearly seen by others.
Walking is great exercise for your pet. When you’re away, make sure you dog still has access to this physical activity, stimulation, and socialization by boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. We’ll make sure your dog has plenty of time to run and play while in safe, secure environment. Contact us today to schedule your dog’s stay!