Learn to Walk Your Dog with Confidence
A simple walk is an important part of your dog’s life. The time you and your dog spend together on your everyday walks lets you both forge a deeper connection, and lets your pet explore and discover new sights and smells, which keeps them mentally and physically stimulated. While the process of taking your dog for a walk might seem self-explanatory, there’s a lot more to it than just hooking their leash on and setting out on your little journey.
While it might seem challenging to take the time out to walk your dog every day, it’s not something you should skip, because this simple procedure is actually very important for your dog’s physical and mental well-being, and as a side effect and added benefit, you’ll get to shed some calories too!
In this post, we share with you the ways to prepare for dog walks, and how to have the best experience while you’re on your dog walks.
Dog Walking Essentials
The first step is to choose an appropriate leash. Make sure it isn’t too long, the ideal length for most dogs is between four to six feet. Of course, depending on the size of your dog, you might have to modify this.
Retractable leashes can be used, but if you are using one, make sure your dog does not stray too far from you. These leashes aren’t suitable for everyday walks but can be useful during a special outing, maybe to a large park or beach where there is ample room for your dog to run around without you worrying. Moreover, you’re not the one being taken for a walk, so it should be you guiding your dog and not vice-versa! In high-traffic areas, be wary of using these, that might just be asking for trouble!
An alternative to a collar is a harness. A harness might be more comfortable for your dog because it reduces the strain on your dog’s neck, and balances it across its chest and shoulders. For puppies, in particular, harnesses are a more commonly used option than a collar. A front clip harness is something that is commonly used when dogs tend to tug on the leash too much.
Other than this, there are some other essentials that you should keep on you during a walk. Your dog’s favorite treats, poop bags, towels, and of course, water, prove to be quite useful on walks. If your dog is being restless and unruly, and you’re in a situation where this can be either a hassle to others around them, or to their own safety, treats can come in handy and help you to maintain discipline. Your dog might think it’s alright to go chasing butterflies in spite of the traffic, and if they don’t listen to your commands, their love for their favorite snack might be motivation to stay calm and follow your lead. The suggestion of carrying poop bags might gross you out, but in case you stop at a private, pet-friendly area and your dog decides that it’s the ideal spot for him to carry out his business, having a poop bag handy would save you a lot of ill will! If your dog decides to venture into swamps and puddles, a towel will save you from a tough day of laundry and housekeeping. And lastly, don’t forget to stay and keep your dog hydrated. Dogs don’t regulate their body temperature as easily as we do, and they have a harder time staying cool.
Dos and Don’ts
We’ve put together a dog walking starter pack- where you can find in one place all expert tips and tricks, so you feel more confident about walking your dog. Walking your dog is something that allows them to break away from the monotony of everyday life.
While we enjoy a wide range of options to keep us entertained, dogs often have only their daily walks to look forward to. On these walks, you should allow them to exercise their senses. Let them sniff away to their heart's content, but also make sure the area is safe and appropriate for them to explore. The extra mental stimulation your dog gets from this goes a long way in keeping them happy and healthy.
If it’s extremely sunny outside, you have to make sure the road or pavement isn’t too hot for your dog to walk in. Unlike you, they do not have a nice pair of kicks to flaunt. Their drip is inbuilt! You must check whether it’s comfortable for your dog to walk along the hot pavement. Place your hand on it for 5 seconds, and if it’s too uncomfortable for you, then your dog shouldn’t be made to walk there either.
A walk might also be the only time your dog gets to socialize, so you must be well-versed in the appropriate etiquette for pooch interactions. Always ask before letting your dog approach another dog. Your dog might be a perfectly pleasant and friendly fellow, but this doesn’t mean that friction can’t arise in some cases between them and an unknown dog. So be wary and let both sizes each other up from a distance before going too close. Once they show signs of warming up to each other, you can let them do some dog- networking. Interactions with other dogs can often be fun and exciting for your dog, and you might even find your pet the perfect playdate and walk buddy.
Another important question is how long should dog walks be. If you’re walking a puppy, a short walk of only around 15 minutes is recommended so that they don’t get exhausted, and their developing joints aren’t damaged. For a full-grown dog, a walk that is 45 minutes or longer is ideal. If that’s more time than you have on hand, a 30-minute walk will suffice but do give your dog enough time on their walks when you don’t have time constraints. You might wonder, do dogs need long walks every day? The answer is, you must strike a balance between giving them adequate exercise and not leaving them exhausted. Find that ideal time for your dog and do your best to stick to that every day. Walks play a huge part in their overall well-being and development, and you should use them as a way to have some quality bonding time with your dog.
Your dog will undoubtedly be preoccupied and in the mood to explore, and while this is generally acceptable, you can't let them get carried away when they chase cats, chase bicycles, or exhibit any other peculiar behaviors. This will teach children to follow straightforward instructions, which may occasionally be required to keep them safe. You should therefore train your dog to manage distractions. To help them develop the crucial skill of concentration, ask them to sit and stare at you while the distraction is gone.
Making sure that your dog is wearing identification is another crucial piece of advice. It's always better to be safe than sorry, and, God forbid, if circumstances outside of your control do lead to your dog straying a great distance from home, they ought to be immediately detectable.
Another helpful piece of gear that can make your nighttime walks with your dog safer is a reflective collar. These make it simpler for cars and other vehicle drivers to see you at a distance. Given how dear to us our pets are, everything that makes them safer is appreciated.
We hope that your daily walks become a cherished ritual, one that both you and your dog look forward to! If you are looking for guidance on which dog to choose for yourself - Fluffpup is home to the best dog breeders in India, and is the perfect place to start. Through our extensive network covering the Indian subcontinent, we can deliver a dog to your doorstep (read about our 5-step process here).