A Beginner’s Guide to Walking Your Dog

Taking your dog for a walk is an important part of their daily routine. It's mentally and physically stimulating and helps them build a bond with their owners.

If you're new to walking dogs it can be overwhelming, as there's much to consider to ensure a safe and rewarding walk.

Follow these tips to make sure you're getting the most out of your outdoor forays.

Choose the right gear

From the leash to the dog harness, do research on what is best for your pup. You may need to adjust what you use once you get a sense of how your dog behaves on walks.

If your dog has a tendency to pull on the leash, you may want to utilize a front-clip harness.

Avoid retractable leashes, as they don't provide much control over your dog. Use a shorter leash for best control.

Don't stunt the sniff

Let your dog get the most out of their walk by allowing them to sniff around. This makes the walk mentally stimulating and provides enrichment for your pup.

Let them explore appropriate and safe areas with their nose as they gather information about their surroundings. A walk heavily laced with sniffing can sometimes be more exhausting than a long-distance jaunt.

Make sure they're carrying ID

Outside factors can make dog walks unpredictable, so you want to ensure your dog has proper ID tags in the event they run away or get lost.

This may also be in the form of a microchip or pet-friendly tattoos.

Bring treats along

As your dog gets used to being on a leash and walking where they encounter things like other dogs and humans, utilize a treat reward system to let them know when their behavior is appropriate.

This reinforces good habits and helps keep your dog focused.

Always pick up poop

Picking up after your pup is not only considerate to the neighborhood, it can also curb health hazards to other pets and humans.

You can shove some bags in your pocket or purchase a bag holder that affixes to the leash so you never leave home without them.  

Be aware of your surroundings

Keep an eye out for things that may get a reaction out of your dog like wild animals, loud noises, or other people.

Be mindful when crossing streets or walking into crowded areas to keep your pup safely close to you.

Ask before approaching other dogs

You may be eager to socialize your dog with other canines, which is great! However, if you come upon another dog on your walk be sure to ask the owner first if it's ok to approach them.

Not all dogs are willing to be friendly. Coming upon such a dog without asking to get close invites risk and could result in major problems.

Dress for the occasion

Think about how to outfit your dog according to the weather and time of day. If it's evening, put reflective gear on your four-legged friend, as well as yourself.

Consider a warm coat if it's cold or a raincoat if it's raining.

Have fun

Overall, look at the walk as a fun activity with your dog. Don't rush it and enjoy every step, and your dog will feel how important and fun walks can be.

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