This article on dog walking tips is brought to you by Finchley Dog Walker
Table of contents
- Let Your Dog Sniff Around for Mental Stimulation
- Retractable leads, in my view, are a BIG no-no.
- Clean up after your dog
- Water water everywhere
- ID tag
- Remember, pavements get hot in summer.
- Keep Your Dogs Attention When Out Walking By Using High-Value Treats
- Ask Before Approaching Other Dogs
- Nighttime and winter walking.
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Owning a dog is great for your fitness and your dog’s overall health. Going on daily dog walks also provides an excellent opportunity for you to bond together.
As well as following some general dog etiquette when out on walks, the following dog walking tips will help make your dog walks easier and less stressful.
There are a variety of harnesses around, from string vest-type ones to harnesses that look like flat jackets. Some of these encourage pulling in my view.
I believe using either a Mekuti balance harness or a harness with the clip on the front (and back) are the best harnesses to use and make a difference, especially for dogs that like to pull.
It is essential to remember that just using a front harness won’t solve everything. Dogs are like babies and need to be taught to walk beside you without pulling. It is a good idea to look at puppy training classes.
This article by chasing dog tales is excellent.
Let Your Dog Sniff Around for Mental Stimulation
Dogs look forward to going out, not just for physical exercise. It is also a chance to explore the outside world. So to provide a quality dog walk, please allow some sniffing time.
No one wants their dog to stop every few seconds while the dog sniffs the neighbour’s garden, the lamp post that blad of grass they forgot etc. Decide when it is safe and appropriate for your dog to sniff and check the wee-mail and allow them to do so. Over time you could use the cue “go smell” or something.
Sniffing all those scents and smells (wee-mail) provides your dog information as to what is happening outside and stimulation. This is the equivalent of you checking your email.
A great thing about a good ‘sniffer’ walk is that it can be just as tiring, if not more tiring, than just waking a dog around the block with no sniffs and mental stimulation.
Many dog owners consider dog walks a chance for a comfort break and to stretch their legs. This is not so. The mental side of dog walks that sniffing provides can make a difference.
Retractable leads, in my view, are a BIG no-no.
As well as the right harness part of the right equipment is the lead. It is important you read our article on retractible leads to see why I do not recommend them.
Retractable leads are dangerous due to the injuries they can cause from the thin rope, the mechanism failing, etc. I have seen many people suffer cuts, bruises, and friction burns.
Due to most of these types of leads, it isn’t easy to maintain control. Extendable leads are dangerous, especially in areas with high volumes of cars, and they can quickly run into the road. These extractable leads can be very hard to reel in. I have also found that if the dog jerks hard enough, the lock on the lead is useless, as it will simply unlock.
Generally speaking, I think this type of retractable lead is a terrible choice. However, they can have their place, such as on the beach, letting them out in the garden, especially if your fence is not secure or it is a communal garden etc. The important thing to remember is to use a regular lead (even a training lead) when walking your dog normally.
Clean up after your dog
As mentioned in our dog walking etiquette article, you must pick up your dog’s mess when out on walks. Apart from this fact, other people (including dog owners) don’t want to see your dog’s mess. It is also linked to major health issues.
Dog poo can contain harmful bacteria such as roundworm e-coli and can spread to humans and animals. So whilst it is not something you particularly want to do, please make sure you pick up as a responsible dog owner.
Most supermarkets, pet shops, and Amazon sell dog poo bags, or you could use nappy bags from Tesco or Sainsburys (other supermarkets available).
Whatever you use, ensure you have at least three or four on every walk.
Water water everywhere
When out on dog walks, even on chilly days, if you are going to be more than 45 minutes, you must bring water with you for both you and the dog. This will help prevent dehydration.
Even though your dog should be microchipped, they must have an ID tag. You never know what may spook the dog or cause them to bolt. If someone finds them, they will look at the collar for your number, etc., which is easier than getting to a vet to be scanned.
It should also be noted that it is a legal requirement in the UK.
Remember, pavements get hot in summer.
This is just one of the many dangers that summer brings. Pavements, especially tarmac, get very hot in the summer. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds. It is too hot for your dog if it is hot and uncomfortable.
On warm days, you should walk either early or late when it is cooler. Even missing a dog walk won’t kill them, but heatstroke could.
Keep Your Dogs Attention When Out Walking By Using High-Value Treats
Every dog walk contains some distractions. High-value treats such as chicken. Sausages will help keep your dog paying attention to you.
These high-value treats can be used for distraction techniques such as touch and find it.
If you don’t wish to buy such treats because you don’t know what is them, consider making your own
Ask Before Approaching Other Dogs
A top dog walking tip for dog walkers is to ensure that you stay safe and ask the owner of any dogs you meet to make sure it is okay. You can avoid many conflicts by doing this and not just letting your dog approach uninvited.
As a professional dog walker, I also recommend employing the three-second rule.
Keep safe and ask before you approach any dog,
Nighttime and winter walking.
Once autumn comes, the nights start to get dark, and you will be walking your dog in the dark.
You must read our article on dog walking tips for dark nights. However, in short.
- Wear bright clothes so you can be seen – ideally reflective clothes or a jacket.
- Invest in a flashing collar so your dog can be seen
- Take a torch with you so you can see to pick up the dog mess. I always prefer a decent headtorch, so your hands are free to hold the dog and pick up the mess.
- Make sure you have a fully charged phone.
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