It’s officially March which means that warm (or at least not below freezing) days will be with us again soon! Warmer weather means spending more time outdoors, both for us and our furry friends. One of the most popular ways to spend time outside with your pup is to go on a walk.
Therefore, here are a few dos and don’ts of dog walking to ensure that you and your pup get the most out of your walks together.
- Use the right type of leash for your dog and walking route, as there is no one leash that fits all:
- Nylon leashes: for unpredictable weather conditions (snow, rain, etc.)
- Leather leashes for hand comfort and to avoid “leash burn.”
- Retractable leashes: only in areas where your pup has room to wander (parks, hiking trails, etc.)
- Chain or harness leashes: if your pup tends to tug or pull.
- Teach your dog to walk beside you. A few quick tips include:
- Be consistent: use the same leash, walk the same route, etc.
- Tire your dog out just a bit before a walk.
- Use treats and positive reinforcement when they do the right thing.
- Walk your dog often, daily if possible! It is recommended that dogs get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day, and going for a casual walk around the neighborhood is a great way to get in that half hour! Going for a walk keeps dogs stimulated, engaged, and provides a great opportunity for you and your pup to spend time together.
- On the rare chance of a separation, it is important to make sure that your dog’s identification information (tags, collars, microchips, etc.) is correct and up-to-date.
- Mix it up. As long as you are not training your pup, switching up your walking routine is a great way to keep your dog engaged and excited about walking! Taking a new route, going to a new place, or walking with a friend and their pup are all great ways to do this.
- Walk your dog without a leash. Even if your dog is well-trained, it tends to be safer and more comfortable for yourself, your dog, and especially those around you if you keep your pup on a leash.
- Let your dog tug or pull on the leash. A few quick tips include:
- Use a halter or chain leash.
- Practice, practice, practice! (Check out our tips above).
- Walk at dawn and dusk when there is less wildlife outside.
- Walk unprepared for the weather. Always check the weather and prepare for outside conditions before taking off: bring plenty of fresh water on a hot day, put your pup in warm booties on a cold day, or a thunder vest if walking before a storm.
- Let your dog eat plants or romp on unknown lawns as they might have been sprayed with pesticides or insecticides and therefore be toxic to your pup, especially during the warmer months.
- Walk your dog without extra waste bags. Accidents happen and sometimes the only thing we can do is pick up after our pooches’ mess. This is also a great way to get rid of all those extra grocery bags!
If dog walking is not a viable option for you or your pup for any reason, never forget that our Doggie Day Care also provides a great opportunity for dogs to get their recommended amount of daily exercise and relieve some extra energy.