DOG WALKING TIPS
Whether you are a new pooch parent, looking for some new tips or just want to make your outdoor excursions more fun, these tips will get you and your pooch eager to get moving!
IT’S THE LEASH YOU CAN DO
- Flexi-leads are best reserved for walks in the park, when it’s safe for a dog to explore a bit further away from her pet parent. They are NOT a good idea if you’re walking in an area with high foot traffic or off-leash dogs, as the long line may get wrapped around your dog, a person’s leg or another dog.
- Many people think chain leashes look nice, but they are much heavier than nylon or leather, and they can be very hard on the hands. Even so, they sometimes work well for dogs who like to tug or bite the leash. “Metal doesn’t feel nearly as nice in a dog’s mouth,” explains Collins.
- Leather leashes are a good option because they are easiest on the hands.
- Nylon leashes can cut into hands or give a pet parent “leash burn” if a dog pulls a lot or unexpectedly lunges forward. But they come in many stylish colors and designs, and they hold up well after repeated exposure to rain and snow.
PULL OVER, ROVER!
- If your dog darts after local wildlife, it may help to walk him when critters are less likely to be out and about; avoid dawn and dusk.
- If the problem is simply pulling on leash due to natural canine enthusiasm for all the exciting signs and sounds you encounter on walks, try using a head halter to walk a dog who’s excitable on leash.
STAY OFF THE GRASS (AND OUT OF THE FLOWER BEDS!)
- The experts at ASPCA Poison Control Center want you to keep your walks toxin-free:
- During the warmer months, it’s important to keep your pet safe from toxic lawn and garden products. Insecticides and certain types of mulch can cause problems for our furry friends—during neighborhood strolls, please be sure to keep your pooch off the lawns of others.
- Even though popular spring bulb plants like tulips and daffodils add much to our landscape, they can cause significant stomach problems for our furry friends. If your pooch likes to stop and smell—or nibble—the flowers, please keep him on a short leash during your walks.
SO NICE TO MEET YOU!
It’s great that your friendly pooch loves meeting people during walks—but not so great that she jumps up on them. Teach your dog how to sit on cue and require them to sit when interacting with people.
THREE THINGS TO BRING
- If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside.
- Don’t forget the goodies! Walks are great training opportunities. Bring Fido’s fave treats along, and practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world.
- Don’t get caught without extra poop bags, particularly if you’re going on a long walk. (P.S. This is a great way to recycle all those plastic grocery bags!)
WATCH FOR CREEPY CRAWLIES
Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.
TO BE FREE OR NOT TO BE FREE—THAT IS THE QUESTION
Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for canines to romp freely? Make sure your dog is prepared for off-leash play and will come when called.
TAKE IT UP A NOTCH
Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:
- Mix it up! Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds at a novel location.
- Choose fabulous destinations. If possible, walk to fun places, like friends’ houses or the dog park.
- Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.
WHAT’S BUGGING YOU?
Walking in humid, mosquito-friendly areas? Spray yourself, not your pooch! Even though it’s tempting to share insect repellent with your pooch, it can be a grave mistake. Insect repellent should never be applied to dogs, who can suffer neurological problems from the toxic ingredient, DEET. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a suitable, pet-specific alternative.
Information from aspca.org