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A dog's daily walk and things to consider
How to walk a dog
Walking a dog can seem like a tiresome chore for pet owners, especially if they have only a tiny window of time to do so during a long day. Many pet owners thus shift walking their dogs to the lowest on their priority lists.
The truth is, dogs, as much as we do, need that regular walk and should not be deprived of it. In this article, this writer will address the reasons why dogs need their regular walks.
Owners might want to know the proper way of walking a dog, or walking a few dogs together.
Why dogs need walks
This may seem a little trite, but dogs need their regular walks as much as we have the need for the toilet during the day. The walk is as important to them as a good coffee break or sleep is to us.
A dog needs his exercise!
A walk provides us with regular exercise, and does too for a dog. This is the one time during the day when he gets the chance for a proper romp and stretch.
The walk fulfills a dog’s need for space.
This is also the reason why some people are not really keen on keeping dogs in apartments. Dogs need a lot of stretching and running space, which a good walk can provide.
This is certainly true for my dog Cloudy. She loves her space and overcomes large amounts of it with her tiny legs every time we are on walks. So intense is her need for it that she looks out of her window everyday to remind me that she needs her regular run.
Dogs need to socialize.
Dogs are social animals and need furry friends of their kind. A walk will fulfill this need and provide the extra bonus of allowing him to get to know a few humans too.
A walk stimulates a dog’s sense of smell.
Most importantly, this is the time when a dog can get his smell fest. Smell is the way a dog gets to understand the world around him. Some experienced dog owners would even recommend a walk that focuses on allowing one’s dog to smell.
The benefits of walking your dog
Your furkid is not the only one who will benefit from that walk. Walking a dog has a great number of benefits for owners as well. Here are ten of them.
Walking a dog gets you moving.
Walking a dog not only exercises him, it exercises his owner too. Everyone knows that exercise can only be good for you. While your pet exercises on his daily walk, take the chance to get your daily dose of fitness too.
This exercise also helps with weight management on the parts of yourself and your pet. An obese dog and owner are definitely not healthy!
Walking your dog facilitates the digestive system.
Walking a dog can be healthy for your pet's digestive system. It aids digestion and relieves constipation.
Walking your dog eliminates destructive tendencies.
Have you got a dog at home who simply loves destroying your slippers, digging in your garden, or biting anything in sight? Walking helps to lessen these problems.
I used to have a pair of Sammies named Romeo and Juliet (brother and sister, no irreverent thoughts there). They loved digging in my grandmother’s garden and sending her round the bend. Having free rein of the garden, his animal instincts sometimes kicked in, causing him to give in to his penchant for chasing birds.
All this was because this pair of dogs was seldom walked. My grandmother often just relied on the fact that the garden provided enough space for them to exercise.
A walked dog is less hyperactive.
A walked dog tends to be less active after its extra energy has been alleviated. This helps especially if your pet has a problem with nighttime activity. A walk relaxes your pet at keeps him less active at bedtime. They will also be less unruly, tending to jump less on people or knocking over things.
This is very true of my Westie, Cloudy. If she is not walked, she tends to stay awake and shuffle about the entire night, causing my husband to lose sleep.
Walking your dog eliminates attention seeking behaviors.
Barking and whining are signs that your dog is asking for some help from you to keep him occupied. Walking keeps him healthy and gives him something constructive to do.
Walking your dog gives you a chance to bond with your pet.
Sometimes, spending time with your dog in a way dogs love best is the best way to strengthen the bond between you. It develops better trust between a dog and his owner.
Regular walks help build confidence.
If your pet is timid or fearful, regular walks will develop his confidence in other people and animals. Walks expose your pet to other pets and humans, and with your presence and assurance, your pet will be comforted into socializing with them.
How to walk your dog
If you walk your dog daily and you still notice destructive behaviors or hyperactivity after some time, you might want to rethink your strategy. Believe me, putting a little thought and planning into that little stroll helps both the walk and eases the dogs restlessness.
Get your dog ready properly.
When getting ready to walk your dog, get him to come to you. Do not approach the dog to leash him. Do not uses leashes but leads, as they give the handler less control.
Be the first out of the door.
Got out of the door before the dog,not the other way around. This signals to the dog who the leader of the pack actually is.
Set the correct mood.
When you put the leash on the dog in an excited state, it sets the mood for an excited walk where the dog will probably be doing all the leading. Watch your energy and ensure that the dog is calm before allowing him to wear the leash.
Position the collar at the lower neck area.
Place your dog’s collar at the lower neck area near his shoulders. This is because the upper part of a dog’s neck is its most sensitive area. Placing the collar there will also increase the propensity for choking.
Some owners may even choose to use a harness instead of a collar. I use one with my dog, Cloudy. This avoids the neck area altogether.
Watch the tightness and length of the leash.
Keeping the leash short but not tight is the most appropriate way to walk your dog. If you have to correct the dog’s behavior to say, prevent him from jumping on a passerby, make the correction quick and loosen the leash again.
Practice the dog walk.
Practice your walk with your dog, inculcating desired canine behaviors like not jumping on others along the way. You and your dog can only get better with practice.
Film the dog walk.
Getting someone to film the process of the dog walk helps you spot problems that you might encounter. Spot little mistakes you make when the dog misbehaves, or whether too much tension was put on the leash.
How often do you walk your dog?
Walking your dogs in a pack/in pairs
A pack walk helps to socialize dogs. You get the chance to correct any unwanted reactions from one to the other and they will feel like members of the same pack.
Note that any dog which starts walking in front of you will start thinking that he or she is the leader of the pack. Make sure that your dog or dogs always walk beside you. While on the walk, keep the dogs walking and stay confident of yourself.
To curb dog aggression, ensure that other, more balance dogs are members of the pack. Mood is infectious and will spread to all the pack members.
When walking your dog with other owners and dogs which you have never met, make sure that your dog is accepting of strangers and new dogs to avoid any misunderstanding.
What can I do if my dog will not walk?
There may be times your dog simply refuses to budge no matter how hard you try, though on most accounts dogs live for their walks. However, what can we do when our dogs refuse to go on a walk?
Never force a dog to walk.
Never tug on a leash in an attempt to force them to walk as it only serves to make them withdraw further and resent the walk.
Help them out a little with a few treats, then wait for them to start moving. It may take some repetition and patience before the dog responds to the surroundings again.
Make your walk interesting.
Have a good supply of treats on you and make the walk interesting with a little play. Make him respond to commands as he is walking or distract him with something interesting.
A dog walk can be beneficial and a great chance for dog-owner time. Have fun walking your dog today!
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