5 Ways To Enjoy Your Dog Walk
January is National Walk Your Dog Month. Pet parents “celebrate” this daily as they take their dogs outside to visit Mother Nature and do their business! Whether you take along walks in the woods or on the beach or if you make a quick dash to your backyard because it’s cold, we have 5 ways to enjoy your dog walk even more.
If you have a dog who walks like a dream on a leash, you probably always enjoy your dog walks. However, if you have a dog who tugs, and stops to pee on every blade of grass or tree branch and who barks at every passerby, your dog walks may be something you dread.
5 Ways To Enjoy Your Dog Walk
- Use a harness to walk your dog. A harness is better for your dog’s neck and spine and won’t cause him any injury. A harness will also make it easier for you to control his movements. If you have a dog who makes your walks more of a “drag” than a joy, look for a harness that is designed to place pressure on his chest or front legs as this will show your dog that tugging won’t get him anywhere any faster.
- Socialize your puppy or dog. When your dog is socialized, he is less likely to: bite someone he encounters on the walk or to bark at everyone and everything he sees on the walk. A dog or puppy who is socialized will be happy to see strangers and strange dogs and might not feel the need to bark or growl because he won’t perceive those people or dogs as threats.
- Train him to walk on his leash. January is also Train Your Dog Month and one way to enjoy a walk more is to train your dog to walk on a leash. Here are a couple ways to do that. Teach your dog to sit when you stop. If you have trained your dog the “sit” command, this should be easy. You need to be consistent in wanting him to “sit” as soon as you stop moving. Reward him with praise and a treat when he does it. To teach your dog to not pull, you want to teach her to “heel.” To do this, choose a word for the command, it could be “heel” or it could be “walk” whatever you choose, be consistent. When you begin moving, if your dog is ahead of you and is tugging, stop walking, say your command word and wait for your dog to move back beside you and stop tugging. When she does that, reward her with praise or a treat. You can also get your dog to look at you while your’e walking and while you’re training her. Say your command word and praise her for looking at you and for walking calmly by you.
- Give him time to enjoy the walk. Dogs live by their noses and they want to sniff anything and everything. Don’t make your walk such a fast pace that he can’t enjoy sniffing trees or grass or other dogs if you encounter them. The walk — even if it’s to get him to do his business — should also be enjoyable for the two of you.
- Make the walk a scavenger hunt. Dogs love treats and they love to use their noses to sniff out treats! When you find a safe space, give your dog a longer leash, toss a treat and tell her to “find it.” Don’t toss it so far that she is dragging you or tugging you (you’re trying to teach her to walk nicely on a leash after all!) but toss the treat in a patch of long grass or somewhere that gives her a chance to snuffle it out and be rewarded for her nose work.
The time you spend walking with your dog is a way for the two of you to connect, to get in shape and to unplug from the stresses of the day. You may want to have your phone with you for safety’s sake and to take photos if your dog is doing something adorable, but resist the urge to look at your phone while you’re walking. Savor the moments spent with your pup.
About FIDO ~ There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.