5 Things To Know About Walking Your Dog

Your dog needs daily walks and so do you. Here are five things you should know to have an enjoyable and safe time with your canine buddy.

1. Have Your Dog Walk Beside You

If you let your dog take the lead or make the decisions on the walk, some experts think that this suggests to the dog that they are the alpha leader. That means they have to take on the responsibility of leading the pack, which may consist of only you at the time. By you calling the shots, your dog can learn to relax on walks and get much needed mental breaks.

2. Walk Your Dog Even if You Have a Large Backyar

Even if you have a big backyard for the dog to run around in, it is still an enclosure to the dog's mindset. To get that mental relaxation mentioned above, your dog needs to be taken on a daily walk. You may want them to have some mental stimulation, so try taking them on different routes for some variety.

3. Use a Dual-Handled Leash 

When your dog is on an extendable leash, they can be hard to control. Also if you pull back suddenly in an emergency, your fingers can be lacerated by the cord. A dual leash is more durable, plus it can help you guide the dog around other people if you use the short handle and will allow you to give the dog some leeway at the beginning of a walk or on the way home.

Don't let your dog off the leash whenever there is a possibility that other people could be around, even when walking in a remote area or hiking in a public park. Your dog could scare someone or cause other problems that would make you liable for injuries and property damages. It's also wise to be more attuned to the things your dog does right, so if they are walking alongside you without pulling the leash, give them some praise. It doesn't hurt to carry along some treats also, for rewards.

4. Please Turn off Your Cell Phone

If you are talking on a cell phone or texting,  you may not be alert to signs that your dog is distracted or beginning to feel aggressive. If your pet pulls hard or jerks the lead,  you could drop your phone onto the hard concrete or into a puddle, and even worse, you could drop the handle of the leash and they could run up and harass a pedestrian or another dog walker.

Walking is a part of the day when you can enjoy the sights, sounds,  smells, and breezes  with your dog. Your canine mentor can show you how to be 'totally immersed in the moment.' 

5. Take Breaks on Long Walks

Once you get out there, you may enjoy it so much you would feel you could walk for hours. Your dog may want to go and go, too. Sometimes new dog owners with small dogs forget that these critters have their limitations.

In the summertime, you know the pavement can be extremely hot so you need to time your walks for early morning or evening when it is cooler. If this isn't possible, you might allow your dog a little more time to walk on the grass and you should walk shorter distances. Be sure to take along some water and a collapsible container for your pet.

 A dog will begin to slow down when they are getting tired. You may notice that they are also beginning to get a bit wobbly, or they may also start walking closer to you. So take a hint, and give them a well deserved break.

If your dog is panting excessively this is a sign that they are getting too hot. If their temperature rises, they may be in danger of overheating so you should get in the shade and pour water on their head and neck. Carry them home if possible, and take some immediate steps to cool them down. This may include hosing them off gently giving them a cool bath or letting them get in a shallow pool. You may also need to add a pinch of salt to their water bowl to replace what they lost. If they still show signs of heat exhaustion, you should take them immediately to a veterinarian, like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital, for emergency treatment.

Finally . . .

Your dog enjoys getting out in the neighborhood and having some special time with you. Give them plenty of attention for good behavior, and be alert to signs that they may be tiring.