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10 Dog Walking Tips for an Enjoyable Outing

10 Dog Walking Tips for an Enjoyable Outing

07.27.2020

A walk in the park, a stroll around town, or a tour through the neighborhood should be a pleasant experience for both a dog owner and man’s best friend.  And it’s a much-needed outing as many days a week as possible.  Unfortunately, dog walks don’t always turn out as planned, but with a little training, the proper equipment, and a little pre-walk preparation, both owner and man’s best friend can ensure a more enjoyable adventure that satisfies everyone.

Good training and the implementation of proper equipment is key.  Without both, the walk can quickly turn into anything and everything but a pleasant experience.  As the Scout motto says:  Be Prepared.  If you and your pooch are properly trained, well equipped, sufficiently relieved, and observant of the current weather conditions, then a good walk should be in order.  If not, then it will be an experience that will be remembered, but for all the wrong reasons.  As the longtime saying goes, “We remember the bad better than the good.”

The 10 Dog Walking Tips below are a great reference, to begin with.  As you and your canine companion get more walks under your belt, you will discover additional training, preparations, efficiencies, and equipment that further enhance your outings together and then you can let others know about your discoveries.  This guide will at least get you going and out the door on your way to sharing more quality, relaxing time with your faithful companion.

 

Training

Training is paramount to a well-behaved dog.  It’s highly recommended that owners and their canine companions attend a training class or two or three together to properly learn commands such as heel, sit, stay and come.  Learning how to properly walk on leash is another valuable skill taught in dog obedience classes.  This training can also be done at home, but dogs tend to learn quicker and easier when with other dogs.  This socialization is important so dogs get used to other dogs and learn how to get along.  Without these skills, your pooch won’t know how to behave or respond to you or other animals.  Untrained dogs can be an unwelcome hazard to their owners, themselves, and others.  That’s why training is so vital.

 

Preparation

Proper pre-walk preparation is essential.  From making sure everyone is well hydrated and as much elimination as possible has taken place, to making sure your dog is wearing identification and rabies tags, there are definite preparations needed before a walk or outing at the dog park should commence.  Also, a couple of poop bags should be rounded up, along with a comfortable leash.  Make sure it’s not too hot and that plenty of water is taken along if walking longer than 30 minutes.  Morning or evening walks are preferable, especially in the summer when concrete or asphalt temperatures can rise to the point of burning a pooch’s paws.  A good way to determine if the surface temperature is too hot is to keep your hand or bare foot on the surface for 10 seconds.  If you can, then it is ok to go for a walk.  If not, then a good alternative is to find a soft or grassy surface that isn’t as hot.

 

Leash

It’s critical that a good leash is used, especially if going for an extended walk.   Harness leashes are preferred over leashes that attach to collars.  This way tension and stress are not placed on a dog’s neck but instead spread out over their upper chest and shoulders.  This relieves pressure points and won’t choke the dog.   An even better harness is one where the leash attaches at the front of the harness on the dog’s chest.  Harnesses that have leash attachments on the back of the harness can invite dogs to pull harder, much as sled dogs do.  Sled dog harnesses have attachment points at the back of the harness because it encourages dogs to pull harder and faster.  However, this is not desired when walking a dog.  With the leash attachment in the front, when a dog pulls, he ends up turning to the side.  This frustrates Fido and he will eventually stop pulling.  Try to avoid using retractable leashes since they may cause unnecessary hazards compared to traditional leashes.   The great length that retractable leashes expand to can put your canine companion in harm’s way sooner than you realize, especially when walking on or near a busy street or road.  Also, the locks can give way when under pressure, and grabbing the retractable portion of the leash can cause burns.

 

Water

Dogs, like humans, are made up of nearly 80% water.  Dogs don’t sweat, so they can’t cool off as efficiently as we can.  Instead, they cool off by panting.  This difference in how they dissipate heat means they have a harder time cooling off than we do and it takes them longer.  Also, when they actively pant they lose a lot of water.  This water needs to be replaced, especially if a walk lasts for 30 minutes or longer.  Be sure to bring along a water bottle or two and possibly a collapsible bowl so your furry companion can enjoy a drink along the way.  Remember to bring some water for yourself as well.

 

Safety

In addition to bringing plenty of water and making sure the pavement isn’t too hot, make sure your dog is wearing proper identification such as ID and rabies tags.  Microchipping is another good idea in case your pooch gets lost and also loses his collar.  Be sure if your dog is microchipped that your information is registered with your vet, a national pet database, or both.  And if you are walking in the early morning or late evening hours, wear something reflective so you can be seen by drivers, bikers or other walkers.  If your dog can wear something reflective as well, then you will be twice as likely to be seen by others.  If you are willing to carry a lightweight stick or small pole, it could come in handy in case wildlife or an unrestrained dog approaches.  An unfamiliar dog could be aggressive or be harboring a disease, so it’s good to keep your distance.  And be sure to watch out for any broken glass or sharp objects that could be hazardous to your dog’s paws.

 

A Journey

Keep in mind that it’s all about the journey and not the destination.  Enjoy every aspect of being outside with man’s best friend.  This is your time to spend with and enjoy each other.  It’s what helps bond humans and canines into an inseparable team that looks out for each other.  A walk together will allow this bond to grow even stronger and it will relax all involved.  Not to mention the great exercise and fresh air it provides.

 

Behavior

Good behavior is paramount to a fun and relaxing walk.  Lunging at other animals, chasing cats, barking loudly, or jumping up unexpectedly on others can turn a good time into trouble.  It all starts with training and your dog knowing his boundaries.  Practice makes perfect, so the key is to walk as often and consistently as possible and your dog’s behavior will get better, especially if corrected when not in line with expectations.  Untrained and inexperienced dogs are more likely to react negatively to new animals, people, sights, and sounds.  And there is no good excuse for pets being off-leash.  It’s not only dangerous for your dog but others as well. 

 

Manners

Good owner and canine manners go a long way in helping the public feel at ease around dogs.  By not letting your dog near other people or dogs without their permission, will better facilitate everyone getting along well.  Sticking to opposite sides of the street when passing other dogs and their owners, bicyclists, or even cars, will help all involved.  Making sure your dog doesn’t disrupt neighbor dogs or animals any more than necessary is also a good way to practice good manners.  And by gently correcting your canine companion when he barks will make for a more peaceful experience for everyone.

 

Sniffing

Dogs are all about their noses.  They can smell 40 times better than we can.  Everything smells to a dog and it is one of the most important ways they communicate with each other.  We often try to keep our canine companions from stopping every few moments to sniff at mailboxes, light poles, street signs, etc.   After all, if we let them sniff everywhere they wanted, we would never get on with our walk.  This is true, but maybe some compromise can be reached.  By deciding ahead of time approximately how many times you are willing to stop and let your dog “smell the roses”, it will go a long way in making the walk a lot more enjoyable for your furry friend.  This is what dogs live for.  They enjoy all the smells and it’s how they talk, inform, and warn each other.  It’s their language, just like we speak to each other to communicate.  Dogs become so intense when they smell objects, that they can become more exhausted just smelling things than by walking.  So, the next time you take a walk with man’s best friend, let them stop and “smell the roses” a little more.  They will be so glad you did.  And you will be too.

 

“The” Mess

Inevitably there will be “The” mess to clean up at some point.  Exercise naturally gets every bodily function moving, and that includes the bowels.  We’ve all heard that it’s necessary to bring along a plastic bag or two, preferably biodegradable baggies, but until we experience our dog eliminating in front of leering eyes on someone else’s front lawn or in the middle of the street, do we truly realize how important it is to bring one or two bags along for each walk.  Been there, done that.  And had to return home and come back and pick up the deposit made by my pooch.  Not a pleasant experience.  It’s much better to be prepared ahead of time.   And that goes for any kind of mess that Fido might contribute to, including flower bed rearrangement, garden modification, trash bag investigations, pond paddling, or the like.  There are potentially many messes to get into for a canine and we have to be on the lookout for them all.

 

Whether it’s a walk in the park, around the neighborhood, or an adventurous romp at a dog park, the above walking tips will help make the experience a more enjoyable outing.  With any luck, any pitfalls will be avoided and the adventure will be one to remember for both your dog and yourself.  After all, this is one on one time that is hard to come by in our busy world.  The more we can get out with our canine companions and enjoy these experiences together, the closer our bond will get with man’s best friend.

 

 


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