The fuzzy end of the leash is faced with a long list of do’s and don’ts during their daily walks, but we often forget that our behavior can also impact what happens during our strolls.
You might have a few dozen things you wish your dog would or wouldn’t do during a walk, but your dog probably has his own list of pet peeves that you do that drive him nuts.
If you want to be the best possible leash-walking partner for your pooch, check out these tips for walking dogs so you can avoid making the following mistakes.
Using a Short Dog Leash
Walks offer a chance for dogs to stretch their legs, stay on top of the neighborhood “pee mail” and add their own signatures to the fence posts along the way. But, dogs need room in order to make their mark, and if you use a short dog leash, your dog won’t have much of a chance to do so.
A shorter leash also means that if your dog takes a few steps off the path to explore, he’ll end up pulling, which is a walking no-no. Leashes under 3 feet might be fine for a walk on a crowded city street, but if you want your dog to have an enjoyable stroll, give him more room to roam.
A 6-foot leash, like the Max and Neo dog gear double-handle reflective leash, allows your dog the space he needs while also considering dog safety.
Saying “No” to Sniffing
Our dogs experience a huge part of their world through scent. Dogs use their noses to take in their environment much like we use our eyes, so requiring them to walk without sniffing isn’t fair to them. Hurrying your dog along during walks puts the kibosh on a major enrichment element that’s critical for canine happiness.
Plus, sniffing is a simple way to work your dog’s brain. A dog that’s allowed to sniff his way through a walk is likely to be more worn out at the end of it than a dog that didn’t have the opportunity.
Zoning Out During Your Walk
Sure, your daily stroll with your dog might seem like a great time to do some walking meditation, but there are a million reasons why you should stay engaged as you walk your dog. Being mindful during walks enables you to keep your dog from picking up dangerous junk, like chicken bones, or from peeing on your neighbor’s prized azaleas.
Being aware during leash walks also helps with those unexpected moments, like when your dog lunges after a squirrel or gets too close to traffic. Staying tuned-in enables you to practice dog safety and react more quickly in high-pressure situations, which makes walks safer for you and your pup.
Talking on the Phone
This behavior takes the concept of zoning out to an even more dangerous level. Being engrossed in a conversation plus having only one hand available during a walk can be extremely dangerous. You’ll be even less prepared when that squirrel surprises you; your dog might be halfway down the street before you even realize what’s going on!
Think going hands-free is a work-around? Talking on a cell phone, hands-free or not, is still an impairment that divides your attention between your dog and your conversation. Your walks are an important bonding time with your dog, so why would you want to share that with anyone else?
Using Outdated Equipment
Long ago, painful choke collars were the only option for dealing with a dog that pulls on leash. Thankfully, anti-pull technology has come a long way since then!
A dog-friendly no-pull harness, like the PetSafe Easy Walk dog harness, keeps walks comfortable for both ends of the leash. The best no-pull dog harness will gently discourage pulling, so there’s no reason to use pain to train.
Walking the Same Route
Variety is the spice of walks, but many pet parents stick to the same well-travelled path whenever they venture out. While your dog probably appreciates every walk you take, dogs get even more of a thrill checking out the sights and smells in different parts of the neighborhood.
But, that doesn’t mean that you have to take your dog on faraway journeys every time you head out the door. Sometimes walking on a parallel street is enough of a change of pace, or even reversing the direction of your walk and starting off your journey where you usually end up.
Our dogs don’t ask much of us in return for their endless affection, so the least we can do for them is give them room to safely sniff, roam and explore during daily walks. Tuning in to your dog instead of your phone while you stroll and taking the road less traveled are fantastic ways to grow your bond.
It’s not hard to add enrichment to your dog’s walks, and once you do, he’ll thank you for it! Keep these dog walking tips in mind on your next walk for a truly engaged bonding experience.
By: Victoria Schade
Featured Image: SbytovaMN