The nicest time that you and your dog can spend is by going on a stress-free walk. If you’ve never walked a dog before, you might assume it’s rather easy.
But in reality, it takes some planning, training, as well as patience to master the art of dog walking and make this activity fun for both you and the dog.
If you want to get your children involved in walking the dog, you need to think about the age and size of the dog. Then you need to consider the child’s age to determine whether the child is old enough to walk the dog.
10 dog walking tips for beginners
Dog walking is a great way to keep your pet healthy and happy. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when they’re first starting out. Here are 10 things that every beginner should know about dog walking.
1. Plan a routine
An efficient dog routine is important for a happy and healthy dog. It’s also important for their owners, as it helps in building a strong bond of affection between them.
All in all, a general dog routine has 4 major parts: diet, grooming, sleep hygiene, and dog walking (exercise). It is recommended to take advice from a professional vet as you are preparing a routine for your new dog.
Dogs are loving pets and deserve care and time in return. Dedicate sometime specific for your dog; take him for a walk after getting home or just play fetch or frisbee with him in a dog park.
Spend time daily with your dog to strengthen the relationship!
2. Find the best time for your dog’s walk
The best time to walk your dog is in the morning so that they can poop, in the early morning to avoid unwanted accidents afterward. Morning walks allow your dog to burn off some of their energy early and also account for a better mood throughout the day.
Avoid walking your dog during a storm, they might get scared and run off. Moreover, on a hot and humid day, it is better to take a day off as the dog might get too hot and dehydrated during the leash training.
3. Lead your walks
Leading walks are a very important part of being a dog owner. You’re in charge of where they go, what they see, and what they do. A lot of people think that it’s more natural to let the dog lead the walk, but this can be dangerous because you don’t know what your dog is going to do next.
The first thing you should do when leading a walk with your dog is to take control. If your dog is pulling on their leash, then you should stop immediately, and not move forward until the dog stops pulling.
As a dog owner, establishing yourself as the leader of the pack by walking in the front is a must. On the other hand, if the dog dominates the walks, they may never foresee you as a leader and this can also affect the dog’s obedience training.
You ought to be the first person in and out of the house. While walking, dogs should be either at your side or at the back.
4. Use a front-clip harness and a short leash
For first-time dog owners with little to no experience walking their dogs, the front clip harness and short leash are advised.
The main advantage of these dog accessories is that they assist owners in maintaining better control when their dog pulls, which makes walking easier and more comfortable for the dog.
It does not choke the dog’s neck, unlike dog collars which interrupt natural blood flow as dogs aggressively pull on the leash. Lack of blood flow may cause blood clotting and can damage your dog’s organs in the long run.
5. Let your dog get familiar with the leash and harness
A dog’s first experience with a leash is an exciting time. It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to make sure the dog is comfortable and not afraid of the leash or harness.
The first step in leash training a new dog or puppy is to introduce them to the leash and harness. You want your pup to sniff the leash, but not chew on the leash or tug on it too hard. Start with placing the harness on the dog and allow him to roam around in the home or backyard so that he can get used to it.
6. Choose a spot with few distractions for leash walking
We want to teach our dogs to focus and walk without distractions. If we are not careful, the environment can be too distracting for our dog to learn anything.
People screaming, yelling, crying, fighting, or arguing, dogs are sensitive to such emotions and can get scared or anxious when they hear such noises. There are many distractions that may distract your dog while leash training. So, choose a place that is less crowded or does not have other animals like ducks, squirrels, or cats close.
7. Start with small, interactive training sessions
Short training sessions are beneficial for a new owner and their pup. A less stressful leash training session enables a puppy to learn leash manner without getting bored or fatigued.
If training is long, especially for a small puppy then it is likely that they won’t learn anything and would eventually start hating such sessions. Short walking sessions help a puppy to build up their stamina and focus gradually on what they are being trained to do.
First-time dog owners are mostly unaware that puppies, regardless of breed, cannot walk that far. As starters, small dogs should only be trained for a maximum of 25 minutes. As your dog gets old and experienced, you can slowly advance towards longer walks.
8. Reward good behavior with delicious treats
Rewarding your dog is that part of the training process where you encourage the dog so to continue listening to your commands. It’s how you teach your dog that good behavior is worth their effort.
You can also use positive reinforcement dog training, a popular technique in which you reward your dog with something they really want, like food or praise, when they do something well. Use dog treats and praises like “good boy” and “good dog” to motivate the dog.
It’s not always the simplest task to train your dog to behave in training, although it is not impossible. It’s crucial to understand how and when to give your dog rewards.
When you have dog treats in hand, it is most likely a dog will listen to you, so it is best to give them rewards when they’ve listened to you or shown good behavior. Giving dogs treats each time they ask, encourages bad manners and won’t help in dog training.
9. Prepare for dog walks
When a dog is on a leash, the owner should be prepared for any possible situation. It’s important to have a well-trained dog, as well as the right equipment.
There are some tools that may aid you in walking your dog. There are some common accessories like collars, harnesses, leashes, and dog waste bags that you should never forget.
In addition, you should also keep a hand towel, extra water bottle, an extra leash, and some dog treats as well.
To assure that you may be ready for anything, it is a good idea to stock up on all the essential things before going on a walk with the dog.
10. Get a GPS tracker for your dog
Having your dog tagged properly with your contact number or having them tracked through a microchip is the best advice for a new dog owner.
A GPS tracker is a device that you attach to your dog’s collar or harness, and it will track where your dog is at all times. This can be really helpful if you’re worried about your dog roaming outside or if they’re prone to get lost. Another smart idea is to put your phone number and dog’s name on a dog tag that he is wearing.
Final thoughts on dog walking tips
After reading through these dog walking tips for beginners, it may all seem very overwhelming. Let’s simplify everything.
Getting your dog familiar with the concept of going for walks is the first thing to do. The simplest way to do this is to take them on short, repeated walks around the house or in the backyard. Additionally, make sure that you always have a spare leash and collar available.
When it comes to picking a route, think about what your dog likes and what they don’t like. You should also think about whether there are any other dogs in the area as your dog has socializing issues.
To avoid this, consider walking your dog during off-peak hours.
Camila Coleman is managing editor at DogsBestLeash.org, which focuses on leash training, pet walking and traveling with your pet. She’s been a dog owner for 15 years and worked as a professional content writer and dog walker.