Jordan has loved dogs all his life. He shares his knowledge on man’s best friend on his blog Coops and Cages. He is definitely an expert on dog walking.
You have your family and your friends, your dog has you. This explains why your canine jumps gleefully every time you stand up and get his leash. He knows it’s time for him to take a walk with you. It’s not only bathroom time for him (socializing with the neighborhood dog, perhaps.) It is also his alone time with his favorite human and his master – you.
Some dog owners find this time of day quite a routine and they just want to rush back home to their other errands as soon as the dog has gone. In order to keep your beloved mutt happy, here are five ways on how you can make dogwalking as entertaining and as engaging as possible for the both of you.
1. Walk in front of your dog
This gives your dog the impression that you are the pack leader. If he controls the walk and the direction, then he is the pack leader and that should not be the case. You should be the first one to walk out of your door as well as the first one in. Your dog should either be behind you or beside you while you do the walk. True, that it is difficult for puppies because they get excited the minute they are outside and they just scamper left and right. It is your job as the pack leader to settle him down and to direct him to where you want to go and not where he wants to go.
The key is heeling. You as the human make the decision for the dog. Tell him to heel whenever he gets tired. This prevents you from pulling him, which only hurts him in the process. When your dog is calm and in a submissive state, then that is when he lets you take the lead. Train your dog to be in this state whenever you go out for a walk.
2. Use a short dog leash
A short leash gives you more control. You can direct him to where you want to go easily. Having a long leash between you and your dog gives him the luxury to wander off behind you. At least with a short leash, he has no space and time to do so. Attaching the leash to your dog’s neck leads to easy communication and guidance. Keep your dog’s safety in mind also. Some dog owners opt for the body collars so that their dogs’ necks aren’t strained. That would work as well. However, some body collars are designed in such a way that it is the dog that leads, and not you. Make it possible for you to go ahead even if you are using the body collar. Having your dog on a leash prevents him to get away and cause problems. You can also consider pinch collars so that you can increase the comfort and control. Harnesses come in handy as well. Retractable leashes do the trick too.
3. Give yourself enough time for dog walking
Dog walking is usually thirty minutes to an hour. You can consult with your vet on what the ideal time is for your dog’s breed. Early morning is ideal too. However, a number of dog owners opt toward the end of the day because that is when they are done with their work. It may be difficult for dogs though because they cannot hold it in that long. Suggested time and frequency would be an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. If this is not possible, thirty minutes for both morning and evening would suffice. You can also consider dog walking as me time. Hit two birds with one stone by jogging and running beside your dog. In that way, you get your cardio and your dog gets his exercise. Everyone’s happy.
4. Reward your dog during the walk
Look at this as quality time with your dog. Bring a bag of treats for him. Every time he heels or does a command, give him a treat. For puppies, this is also the best time to train them with their basic commands like sit, lie down, heel and roll over. Dog training can be done during dog walking. You can also play games with them like letting them run loose for some time and making sure that they will come back to you when you call them back.
5. Be aware of trails and cautious of dangers
Dog walkers prefer country walks and trails that have sidewalks. There have been reports of dog getting hurt from traps intended for rabbits and squirrels when they go off track. This is exactly why you should train your dog as early as possible to keep following you and just you. By rewarding him with treats every time he stays on track and behind you, he remembers that this is the proper thing to do. Proper dog training and walking on a leash and controlling it well are the best ways to keep your dog safe.
As a dog owner, always make sure that you have a poopie scooper and a garbage bag whenever your dog goes. Responsible owners clean up after their pets. You wouldn’t want anyone stepping on your dog’s poo. What would you do if that happened to you? Do not forget to praise your dog when he goes as well. That is one reason why he is being walked in the first place. That is his bathroom time as well as your-me time
Author: Jordan Walker
Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages