Dog Walking 101
With the weather warming up, it’s finally time to get outside with your canine companion for a long walk or to play in the park. While you may be an old pro-dog walker, there is still a lot to keep in mind when taking your pup out and about.
Depending on your dog’s demeanor, it's important to consider everything from where you let your dog roam to what type of leash will work best. We’ve compiled our top dog walking tips for having a successful promenade in the park with your pooch. It’s always best to know before you go, so follow this advice to make the best of the outdoor experience for both you and your pup.
What to Consider When Walking Your Dog
- Leashes. Pick the leash you feel most comfortable using, however, keep in mind that certain leashes will be more effective for different types of dogs. We recommend only using flexi-lead retractable leashes when your dog has lots of room to roam (such as in a park). Chain dog leashes are best for dogs that like to tug or chew on their leash during their daily walks. However, keep in mind that chain leashes are also heavier, and are best suited for larger dogs. Leather and nylon are lighter, stylish leash solutions that work well for pets of all sizes.
- Harness or Collar? Some dog breeds are better on a harness leash combos than on dog collars. If you have a dog that tends to tug walking them with a collar can cause them to have trouble breathing properly so a front clip harness would provide a more comfortable alternative for them. Be sure to pick something that will give you control over your pet, otherwise you're letting your dog walk you! It can also be beneficial for pet owners to invest in dog training to prevent leash tugging. Teaching your dog good walking skills involves a lot of positive reinforcement whenever they demonstrate good behavior, such as resisting chasing after squirrels and maintaining a loose leash.
- Location. Pick a location and time that works best for you and your dog’s demeanor. Dogs who are very easily excited or like to chase after wildlife should be walked at times when distractions are minimal, such as midday. If you are walking your dog through the country, make sure to stay out of flower beds and the neighbor’s yard. If you're taking your pet to a park, take a look at these tips for Dog Park Etiquette. Especially during spring and summer, many use fertilizers and insecticides that can be highly toxic to pets (take a look at our post about Safety for Outdoor Pets). Lastly, be careful walking excitable dogs through city streets. Dog owners should look for a quieter, off the road location to go for a stroll.
- Be Prepared. Especially when walking dogs in the heat of summer, be prepared with extra water, for both you and your furry friend. Walking is physical exercise for your dog, so you need to bring a water bottle to keep them hydrated. If you are walking in direct sunlight, make sure to give your dog a break to stop walking and take a drink. Avoid walking on hot pavement as well as hot pavement can burn their paws. If you are walking at night, wear reflective gear so that drivers will see you. Bring along treats as well, they are a great way to reward your dog when he walks patiently along with you. And of course, don’t forget to bring along a plastic poop bag!
Have questions like "how long should I walk my dog" and "how often should I walk my dog?" The answers to these both depend on things like your breed and schedule. Active breeds like huskies and border collies will require long walks or runs nearly every day. Knowing how to walk a dog starts with knowing your dog!
Think of all the benefits of walking your dog! Walking your dog can be a great way to get exercise, give your dog mental stimulation, and bond with your pup. Taking regular walks is a great way to keep your dogs happy and healthy, and is especially enjoyable during the summer months. When you can’t be available for a walk, let your dogs (or cats!) explore the outdoors with a pet door. Cat doors and dog doors are an easy way for pet parents to let their dogs roam and experience the outdoors until your next walk! Just make sure that you're cleaning up after your pet.
Looking for the perfect leash or harness to walk the dog? Check out Xtreme Pet Products for a wide selection of the best dog leashes, collars, and pet walking accessories.