A daily walk is essential for our dogs physical and mental health. It also give us a reason to get away from our screens and take some exercise in the open air. We want the exercise to be as safe as problem free as we can make it. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.
Don’t Use A Retractable Leash
A retractable leash makes it almost impossible to control your dog. For an enjoyable walk you want your dog to be at your side. A retractable leash rewards him for pulling away. The harder he pulls, the further he gets. You are giving your dog the wrong message.
The leashes are often made from fairly thin rope and if you try to grab this while it is unreeling, your fingers can get friction burns.
A retractable leash will allow the dog to run in front of you until the leash reaches its limit at which point you arm and your dog’s neck both receive an unpleasant jerk.
If your dog pulls on a normal leash, his pulling will get a lot worse when you use a retractable leash.
Walk At A Brisk Pace
Walking at a brisk pace helps your dog focus on the walk itself rather that every random smell he comes across. As you walk he should be paying attention to you and your instructions. If you let them, dogs are happy to stop and sniff something every few yards.
Allowing your dog to sniff is an excellent way to provide mental stimulation. He can find out a lot about the other dogs is his area simply by using his nose.
You need to strike a balance. Use the sniff stops as a reward for walking nicely. At the end of the walk he will have learned a lot about his neighborhood and has had a physical workout at the same time.
Don’t Approach Other Dogs On Leashes Without Permission From The Owner.
Many dogs are reactive when they are on the leash and walking them isn’t easy. The owner may doing his best to avoid a confrontation by keeping his dog a certain distance away from others.
He knows that his dog does not do well with leash greetings.
It is a simple courtesy to check with the owner before approaching them.
Consider Your Dog’s Comfort
Your dog feels heat and cold just as you do. On really hot days his paws can get burnt on hot pavements. Or worse still, he could end up with heatstroke.
Related Article: Watch Out For Heatstroke In Dogs
On hot summer days, confine your walking time to the coolest part of the day. Take some drinking water for your dog and learn the signs of heat stress. You are responsible for your dog’s safety and his well-being depends on decisions you make. Remember, he can’t tell you how he is feeling.
On cold winter days, you will be wearing some warm clothes. Treat your dog in the same way and put a coat on him.
Some of the chemicals used to de-ice roads and sidewalks can be harmful to your dog’s feet. Consider some booties to protect his paws. Some dogs will not tolerate booties and you may have use an alternative route for your walk.
Clean Up After Your Dog.
As much as people love dogs, very few of us like dog poop. Dog poop is unsightly, it smells and can be a health hazard. Take some bio-degradable bags with you and use them to clean up after your dog. Be proactive in keeping your neighborhood clean.
Make Sure Your Dog Has ID
Unfortunately, dogs can get lost. In case you ever have to face this stressful situation with your dog, increase his chances of returning safely by having him micro-chipped. According to the American Kennel Club, micro-chipped dogs have a much greater chance of being reunited with their owners.
Your dog should also be wearing a tag with his name, address and phone number on it. Regularly check that the information on the tag is up to date and legible. Tags do deteriorate over time and can become virtually useless.