Dog walks are a great opportunity to give your dog some much needed exercise, work on training, and spend some quality time together. Many dogs require a daily walk (or sometimes more) to properly tire them out! Otherwise, you will have a hyper hound on your hands! When going on a walk, make sure you keep the experience a positive one by sticking to the following guidelines:
1. Don’t let your dog approach another dog without asking: Your pup may get along with other doggies without any issues, but this isn’t the case for all canines. Always ask before allowing your dog to say hello to a strange dog. You never know what could happen, and if you aren’t hyper-vigilant, you could put your dog (or the other person’s dog) in danger. Some dogs are nice to other dogs, but when approached incorrectly they could become reactive and show aggressive behavior. Sometimes a dog is great with other dogs until it is on the leash, then it becomes overprotective and/or territorial.
2. Don’t forget those poop bags: This one is common courtesy because let’s be real – who enjoys stepping in a random pile of dog doodoo? The correct answer is: NO ONE. Not only is it completely foul and disgusting, but other dogs who are being walked by their owners can also step in it, roll in it, or eat it (gag). Keep your neighborhood, park, or other communal space safe and clean so that others can enjoy their walks too!
3. Don’t let your dog walk you: Walking a well-trained dog is a much more pleasant experience than walking an unruly canine, but training takes time and commitment. If a dog is untrained, it will pull its owner rather than the owner having control of where the dog is going. This can not only be a huge annoyance, but could potentially hurt the owner and the dog in the process. Depending on how large the dog is, the owner can be pulled so hard they can fall over, or their arm can be pulled out of their socket! The dog can hurt its neck, trachea, or other body part by pulling too hard on the leash. Not to mention, if your dog pulls hard enough, they could escape and get lost, or attack another animal! Be consistent and consult with a behaviorist if necessary.
4. Don’t space out: Wearing headphones or tuning out can be dangerous for you and your canine companion. Stay alert and in the moment so that you can keep a look out for speeding cars, off-leash dogs, and other potential hazards. Opting for a traditional dog leash instead of a retractable leash will also help you keep an eye on your pup. Also, stay off of your smartphone unless you are taking an adorable photo of your dog; if you are looking downward playing Candy Crush or checking your Facebook, you may accidentally walk your dog into oncoming traffic, a person riding a bicycle, or pretty much anything!
5. Don’t walk your dog without a leash: Some people have their dogs off of a leash sometimes, thinking it’s okay because their dog is “So old, it doesn’t matter,” or “Super nice.” This logic is ridiculous, because although a dog may be “super nice” or “super old,” they should still be on a leash because newsflash: animals can be unpredictable! Your dog may be fine and dandy off-leash, but another dog who is on a leash could feel threatened by their “unleashedness” and start a fight. Not only that, but if you are walking or hiking in a nature area, your dog could come in contact with a harmful wild animal such as a rattlesnake or coyote, and without the leash connected to them, you won’t be able to pull them away fast enough from harm. If they see a non-harmful animal such as a rabbit or squirrel, they could just run off and get lost somewhere. You should pretty much always have your dog on a leash, even if you are just in front of your house!If you follow these simple guidelines, your walk should be very relaxing, rejuvenating, and fun for both you and your dog! Remember to be careful of the temperature of sidewalks and pavements when going out for walks as well – if it’s too hot, don’t take your dog out for a walk. Not only is the temperature itself hazardous and dehydrating, but the pavement and concrete may be so hot that it can burn their little paw pads! The same goes for cold and snowy weather – the asphalt and concrete could be so freezing that it can be damaging as well to their paw pads. Nowadays there are plenty of boots, socks, and other footwear for dogs – functional but also fashionable!