In part one of our dog walking guide, we looked at what kinds of lead to use, (too much) information about dog poop and the dangers of toxic lawns. Walking with your dog is one of the main activities you’ll share together and a crucial bonding time. Unless your four-legged friend regularly visits a good dog day care facility, it’s probably the highlight of their entire day, so it’s best to try and make that time as enjoyable as possible–for both you and your pooch. So if you’re looking to improve your own canine treks and jaunts, keep on reading for part 2 of our dog walking guide.
It might be more convenient to combine dog walking with your daily chores such as going to the supermarket or plodding to the post box, but your pooch will benefit more from a wider range of exercises than simply cantering along beside you. It’s not just the amount of walking but the quality as well. Walking your dog beside a busy road will be noisy, stressful and largely uneventful for them. On the other hand, taking your pup for a woodland stroll where they can explore the sights and smells and even run free will be like Doggy Disneyland. Ball games at beaches and parks can be a great way to wear out your furry friend, and they’re also much less strenuous for you. Just make sure your dog is actually allowed off its lead and that you clean up any poop they leave behind. Be sure to always double check at beaches: many only permit dogs at certain times of year.
We love our dogs. We can’t help it. They’re basically our kids. But as blinkered as we are, we need to remember that other people might not. If your pooch is darting off to scrabble at people’s legs, it’s time for them to undergo some basic walking training. Some people don’t like dogs at all and the last thing they want is to have their trainers slobbered on by your overly-friendly basset hound. The same should go for other dogs; don’t allow your pooch to invade their personal space. You should always ask the owner’s permission if your pup seems interested in greeting their animal. Hopefully people will show you the same courtesy and ask for your permission before petting your dog.
If you take some treats with you when you go out dog walking, it’s a great opportunity to continue your pet’s training. They’ll not only link the treats with good behaviour but they’ll also associate walks with treats and meaningful, positive interaction with you. One of the most useful and polite skills you can teach your dog for walks is simply to stay. If you come across someone who’s keen to pet your pooch, instead of allowing your dog to leap up at the attention, command them to stay and let the person approach. This is especially important if your dog is large and interacting with children. Reward them when it’s over and they’ll get used to it in no time.
In part 3 of our dog walking guide, we’ll look at how to be the boss when walking and how to stop your pup from pulling you along behind them.