The majority of dog owners walk their pets for 4 reasons: Toilet duties, exercise, training and for mental stimulation. However, our dogs also have needs that we must consider too, when taking them outdoors. All dogs love to engage with their environment, sniff around and of course enjoy playtime chasing after balls and other toys. They love nothing better than meeting another dog and their owner outside of their home.
Many dogs don’t get the opportunity to exercise, especially for breeds that are developed for a specific purpose, such as working, herding and sporting dogs. These breeds have genetic instincts that drive them to follow an activity. Your garden certainly won’t provide enough mental and sensory stimulation that’s needed to prevent your dog from becoming bored, so make sure you take time to go for a walk with your pooch!
Here are our 5 dog walking tips that will make your outings more enjoyable.
Tip No 1 – Pulling on the Lead
From a dog’s perspective, a human walks far too slowly. When your pet is following an interesting scent, or needs to be somewhere to sniff, he will pull you along. You of course, retaliate by pulling him back harshly! Your dog isn’t being stubborn, its just his way of dealing with things. Train him to walk with a loose lead between you and by changing direction when walking. When he changes and follows you too, praise him and give a treat when he gets it right, without pulling. If you need to work on his polite leash skills, use a training or a chest harness.
Tip No 2 – Respond to basic commands
Keep your dog focussed when you’re out walking by giving him basic commands. Mix your commands up so he doesn’t know what you’ll ask him to do next. Try Stay, Stand, Down or Sit, then throw in a different trick like High Five or Spin.
Tip No 3 – Ability to walk to Heel
Its important that your dog has the control, both on and off the leash, to walk to heel. Many older dogs will feel happier walking along right beside you, but a younger dog may want to sprint off as he explores his surroundings. Train him to your recall and then encourage him to walk at your heel, keeping to your walking pace.
Tip No 4 – Manners when meeting people
Most dog breeds love to socialise with other people you meet out walking, but you need to prevent these greetings becoming chaotic. He will probably attempt to jump up as he tries to catch their attention. Teach your pooch to sit first, before allowing him to be stroked or petted. Don’t be afraid to speak to other people and ask them to refrain from petting your dog, especially if you’re training him.
Tip No 5 – Polite greetings with other dogs
Every dog loves the chance to meet and socialise with other canines, but first be aware of the situation and your surroundings. A lot of dog owners are afraid of other animals approaching and they will often turn and walk the other way to avoid a confrontation. Providing both dogs are friendly and not aggressive, and the other owner is happy for the dogs to say hello, allow your pooch to sniff and greet the other dog. Focus on your dog the whole time and monitor that he’s happy and wagging his tail. After a short while give the command, “lets go” and ensure that your dog walks away with you. Don’t allow him to greet every dog on your daily walk, its your decision when you feel happy about each situation.
Now its time to get out and begin to use these dog walking tips! Remember that its takes practice and time to make sure that your dog has good leash manners and for you to enjoy your walks together.
This is a guest blog by one of our many animal community friends. It has not been written by The Finchley Vet staff. We love to showcase other people's work as we think it makes things more interesting for you, our readers, however, it does mean that we have not checked any of the facts and any opinions are those of the author and not of the Finchley Vet, or Local Vet Ltd.