Adding a dog to your life brings joy. That friendly tail wagging means devotion and boundless love. But you need to earn that love by providing your dog with the proper care. And one of the best ways to take care of your dog is by providing perfect dog walks.
Why you need to create perfect dog walks
- Why you need to create perfect dog walks
- Follow basic dog walking rules
- Using a collar and a leash is a must
- Determine which side you want your pet to walk on
- Control the situation
- Talk to your dog to make the most of your perfect dog walk
- Choose your perfect dog walk route carefully
- Select the right time for dog walks
- Length of walks
- Create a perfect dog walk for your pet’s health
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Once or twice daily walks provide multiple benefits to dogs, including:
- Enjoying the fresh air and physical activity.
- Socializing and interacting with you, other people, and other dogs.
- Learning new skills and commands.
- Improving mental health by reducing stress and boredom.
Follow basic dog walking rules
Using a collar and a leash is a must
Start early to teach your dog to wear a collar. Make sure the collar isn’t too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.
Attach the leash and let your puppy drag it inside. Watch your puppy and ensure the leash doesn’t get caught on anything.
Once you move outside, keep your initial walks short to let your dog adjust to being tethered.
Determine which side you want your pet to walk on
In traditional obedience competitions, dogs must walk on the handler’s left side.
But where your dog walks is up to you.
Many people choose to walk, so they hold the leash in their dominant hand. Others hold the leash in the opposite hand, so they keep their dominant hand free for tasks like picking up dog poop.
Control the situation
Remember that you walk your dog. The dog does not walk you.
Don’t let your dog pull you or dictate your pace.
When you start, it’s best to let your dog sniff a little and take care of business.
But after potty time, your dog should walk at your side on a loose leash.
Only pull on the leash when necessary to keep your dog under control. You may need to use a short, sharp jerk to stop your dog at a busy intersection or to get his attention if he’s distracted by cyclists, cars, other dogs, or cats.
Talk to your dog to make the most of your perfect dog walk
Your dog needs to hear your voice. Not only will this help you bond with the dog, praise is a powerful tool for dog training.
When your dog behaves well and does everything right, he can and should be praised and encouraged.
And when your dog gets into mischief or barks without reason, tell him sternly that it’s forbidden.
If your dog tries to jump on a person, eat trash or do anything else unacceptable on your walk, correct him with a firm tug on the leash.
Choose your perfect dog walk route carefully
Whenever possible, look for options where you can walk your dog without distractions or hazards like vehicles or cyclists. Opt for hiking trails or paved paths around parks.
If you walk in your neighborhood, mix up the route and don’t take the same one every day.
Taking different routes provides variety for your dog and you.
It also teaches your dog several routes back to your home, which can be life-saving if he ever escapes from your yard.
Select the right time for dog walks
Whenever possible, avoid walking your dog during the heat of the day.
Be cautious about walking before sunrise or after sunset. If you walk in the dark, you and your dog should wear reflective gear to be more visible to any passing vehicle.
Whether you walk your dog before or after you feed him is up to you, but if you feed your dog first, be prepared to clean up any poop on the walk.
Length of walks
Young puppies need to exert energy in short bursts and may only have enough stamina to walk around the block. In that case, multiple short walks per day is a better choice.
Healthy adult dogs should be able to walk longer — say two or three miles.
As your dog ages, or if he becomes ill, he will benefit from two or three shorter walks each day.
Create a perfect dog walk for your pet’s health
Remember, you are ultimately responsible for keeping your dog safe, whether you’re inside or out.
When you’re on a walk, watch for any potential dangers.
At home, it’s essential to keep your home pest-free, so be sure to remove your dog before you begin any pest control work like using raccoon repellent spray to keep the animals away from your home.
Daily walks should be fun for both you and your dog.
Neither of you will enjoy that time if the dog constantly pulls you or, worse yet, if you drag the dog behind you.
Choose a leash and collar or leash and harness that works for you so you can control your dog.
Set a comfortable pace for both of you and enjoy your time together. Walking will make both of you healthier.
Sara B. Hansen has spent 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching DogsBestLife.com in 2011. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ [email protected].