Safe Dog Walking
There are 4 main reasons why we walk our dogs:
- Toilet needs
- Mental stimulation
- Training purposes
Dogs love to be outdoors, not only for exercise, but also to enjoy the environment around them, to sniff at everything they encounter and to socialise with other dogs and people outside of their home.
It’s hard to believe that not so many years ago it was quite common to see stray dogs wandering around suburban streets and housing estates. Not lost dogs you understand – these were well cared for animals all with a collar and ID tag. They were just out by themselves. They even had special people to call on. A discreet woof at the back door and then some tasty treats would usually be offered in welcome.
It rarely happens now though as dog owners have become more responsible. Clearly it is NOT a good idea to let your dog take itself for a walk – it’s just not safe for the dog, or for unsuspecting people who might come across the animal. The best answer then is obviously to go out with your dog and keep him close by at all times. There are still things you should do to minimise the chances of anything going wrong though.
Regular Exercise is a necessity
Many breeds of dog are natural athletes. In order to be a healthy, balanced animal, he needs some form of physical exercise regardless of his age, gender, breed or size. I would recommend a daily exercise routine to prevent muscle wasting, to maintain toned muscles and to elevate the heart rate of your dog for short periods. Walking your pet at least several times during the week, and offering different types of walk to stimulate him both physically and mentally, will help your pet to live a balanced, happy and healthy canine life.
Good Leash Manners
Firstly there is no standard dog collar and lead. You have to get them to fit your dog, depending how big and strong they are. A chunky chain type arrangement will be completely wrong on a Yorkshire Terrier! The collar needs to fit comfortably with some play between it and the neck but snug enough so he can’t slip his head through the hole. Leads are important and you have to make a judgement on your own dog’s behaviour.
If you are using the extendable type of lead it is not a good idea to let it out while on the pavement of a busy road. You have no chance of preventing the dog running out and it is obvious how dangerous that might be, not to mention the potential costs involved. A motorist could sue you for damage if the dog causes an accident and, of course, your dog can easily be seriously injured or killed. Common sense is very much required here.
At the park or some open ground it might be safe without a lead but a well-trained dog will certainly make your life easier. You need him to come to you when called, sit and stay when told to and to only get in and out of the car when you say so. Tiny treats in your pocket are a handy bribing tool – it’s amazing how well your dog will behave! You can even use treats to protect you and your dog from potential aggression – if you see a threatening looking animal heading your way you could just throw a handful of treats in his direction to give you time to make a hasty retreat.
Above all be attentive and conscious of your environment. You need to be aware of approaching danger just as much as you need to make sure you are in a safe and welcoming environment while out for a walk Dogs need the exercise, the chance to explore and the fresh air. Make sure you stay vigilant, be prepared and keep your dog’s wellbeing and safety in mind.