Big or small, young or old, no matter the breed, every dog loves and needs to go on walks! (Or ‘walkies’ for our UK counterparts!) This healthy and fun activity for your furry friend is a great way to get both your heart rates up. While walking your dog may sometimes seem like a mundane or difficult chore (shoutout to MidWestern winters!), there are techniques and tips that can make this daily activity easier and more enjoyable for both you and your dog. We at WonderWoof are all about being active with your K9 companion so we put together a list of five tips to help you and your dog get the most out of your walks.
- Leashes and Collars/Harnesses: Unless you are in a designated off-leash area, it is best to have a leash on your dog. There are a lot of different types of leashes and collars it is important you get the one that is appropriate for the size and strength of your dog. Harness collars are easier on your dog’s neck than the traditional around-the-neck style collar and are better for dogs that have a tendency to pull on their walk. We advise you to think carefully about retractable leashes as they make it difficult to control how far your dog can go and what they can approach.
- Be Prepared: Don’t get caught without a poop bag! It is important you pack all of your pup’s necessities before going out. This includes a poop bag (probably a few just in case), up to date identification tags, water and a bowl for long walks, and treats to reward your dog for good behavior and to keep their attention. And who could forget a ball for a good, old-fashioned game of fetch?!
- Proper Surfaces: Hot pavement and paws do not mix. If it is a hot day, try to avoid going on long walks on pavement. A good way to test this is by taking your bare hand or foot and putting it on the pavement for five to ten seconds. If it is too hot for you, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws. It is better to walk on grass or in shaded areas. During the Winter try your best to avoid salted roads and sidewalks. Since these things may not be completely avoidable, make sure to wash your dog’s paws after going on a walk suit them with protective winter boots (Check out our article about dog Winter boots here https://www.wonderwoof.com/dog-boots-review/).
- Be Visible: When walking on busy streets and roads it is important to be visible to oncoming traffic, especially at dusk and at night. Wearing reflective clothing is a smart way to be seen. You can also get reflective clothing for your dog. There are reflective jackets, leashes and collars available. Check out this dog collar from Orvis. It is reflective, heavy duty, and washable.
- Stimulate Your Dog: It is important to be engaged with your dog during your walk. Do not be preoccupied with your phone as you may be to distracted to see possible dangers ahead. And you’re missing out on great bonding time. Allowing your dog time to sniff will help stimulate them during your walk. You do not need to let your dog sniff every single thing that it wants to (your walk may never end that way!), but allowing your dog a few extra minutes to smell will stimulate them. When other dogs approach, it is important to ask the other dog’s owner if it is okay for them to get to know each other and to be alert to how your dog is reacting to this new friend.
Walks are the time for your dog to explore and exercise, and it is vital that you allow your dog to do these things while keeping them safe and healthy. If you want to keep track of your dog’s exercise, may we suggest a WonderWoof BowTie activity tracker?! (wink wink).
Happy tails and trails! Now get out there and have some fun!