Walks are great for you and your dog to get outside and enjoy some exercise together. Your dog is probably ready and raring to go, but there are some rules when it comes to walking dogs that you need to know. These will help to ensure the safety of yourself, your dog, other pets and people around you.
Make sure your dog is properly identified
This means a collar and microchip, in-case your dog manages to escape.
Get a leash
Leashes allow you to control your dog and prevent them from running away, getting hurt or hurting others. Depending on your dog and the areas you will take them walking, you could opt for a regular collar leash, harness, chain, leather, nylon or retractable leash. Retractable leashes are good for large, quiet areas like parks but can be troublesome in crowded areas. Chains can be heavy but are best for dogs that like to chew on their leash, and leather leashes are generally the most comfortable for owners’ hands, while nylon can cause hand burn.
Choose a good route
This requires you to have an understanding of your dog’s personality and preferences. Do they like to run in big open spaces with you? Or do they freak out at the sight of other dogs and crowds of people? The aim is to be in control of your dog for the entire walk, so avoiding things that make them nervous or overly excited in the first place is a good way to do so. Also, be sure to check that you are allowed to walk dogs on your planned route!
Keep out of the bushes
As much as dogs like to explore, it’s often best to keep them to cleared areas. Bushes may hide snakes, spiders and bees waiting for a curious puppy nose, while lawns and flower beds can have harmful insecticides and mulch. And some flowers, such as daffodils, can cause serious stomach problems in dogs!
Pick up after your dog
If you fail to do this, not only will you be the neighbourhood’s least favourite person, but you could be up for a hefty fine. In Australia, dog poo is considered litter and leaving it in public areas like beaches, parks and streets is illegal.
Take time to rest
Your dog may get tired after a while, especially if they are very young, old or are new to walking. Bring some water along for you and your dog and have some during the rest break, preferably in a shady area. Your dog could drink from a collapsible cup or ziplock bag – or just cup your hands for them!
Reward your dog
Bring some treats along and use this opportunity to train your dog. For example, you could teach them to sit when a dog or person walks by, instead of getting excited and jumping up on them.