Just as important as knowing what to do when walking your dog, is knowing what NOT to do!
As we walk our dogs, we might have a list of do's and dont's for our four-legged companions, and we train them in accordance with our wanted behavior. But our behavior will impact what happens just as much.
If you want to be the best dog walking partner for your dog, please take a look at these dont's!
Spending Time On Your Phone
Spending time on your phone while walking your dog is an absolute no-no. Dog walking should be a great bonding experience for the two of you. Have you ever tried talking or communicating with anyone more interested in what happens on their phones than in you? Not an easy task - and not a great way to build a relationship between you and your dog.
A good walk with your dog is one where you are just as present as your dog. You need to be a part of the team doing the walk, being observant of the surroundings prepared to jump in and correct any unwanted behavior, as well as reward wanted behavior.
Picture your large dog seeing a cat or a squirrel crossing the street 20 feet in front of you. Your dog jumps into hunt-mode, and jerks the leash - and your phone goes flying ot the ground as you try to stay on your feet. An expensive learning experience!
After a long day's work, a walk with your dog might seem like the perfect getaway to turn off your brain for a few minutes and zone out. But no - there are about a million reasons to stay mindful and engaged while walking your dog!
Being mindful when walking your dog, enables you to stop unwanted behavior from your dog before it happens, because you learn how to anticipate this by reading your dogs body language and movement. Staying alert and aware will keep you both more safe when going on a walk, and will help you react more swiftly in any situation that might occur.
A dog's sense of smell is believed to be somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times as acute as ours. They have more than 50 times as many scent receptors than us. A huge part of their experience from a dog walk will be from the smells and odors they encounter.
Dog walking isn't just about physical training for your dog. Processing what they smell is part of the mental exercise they need from their walks. Sniffing will help wear your dog out a lot faster than if you don't let them sniff do some sniffing along your path.
Too Short Leash
The daily walks offer a chance for your canine friend to really stretch their legs. Walking off leash will give plenty of room for them to roam, whilst a 2 foot leash will keep them by your side at all times. The golden spot will usually be somewhere in between the two extremes.
The shortest leashes might be great for control, but will restrain your dog from having the walk they actually need. The longest leash, or a retractable leash, might get your pup into trouble with you being too far away.
Different situations will require different leash lenghts, so a 6 foot leash with an extra handle closer to your dog, will be perfect for just about anyone. The Black Rhino Dog Leash is a safe bet here. Check it out on Amazon here!
We're Taking This Route Again?
When going for a walk with your dog, the easy choice (or lack thereof), is a well travelled route that you know in and out. No suprises there. Your dog will probably love every second of your walk, but still there's something missing...
A dog will get a lot more mental exercise by taking a new route. The excitement of discovering new scents, new views and new spaces will definitely give your dog much more value for the walk.
This doesn't mean you have to drive to an exotic trail to satisfy your dogs needs - a slightly different route will be just fine. Try taking the parallel street back home on your next walk, or even start out going to your left in stead of right from the get-go.
Old And Outdated Gear
Not long ago, choke collars were the norm for dealing with dogs pulling on their leash. Thankfully, we've come a long way during the last decades in choices of equipment.
Research a good dog harness if you have trouble with your dog pulling on the leash, or do some intensive training to deal with this.
As collars, harnesses and leashes age, you should consider upgrading to something newer. Retractable leashes in particular, is prone to snapping as they get older, releasing your dog beneath you control (unless your recall training is spot on!).
Reflective gear will lose some of the reflective traits as they grow older, making you and your dog less visible when walking in the dark.
Tuning more into your dog than your phone will make your dog walking much more rewarding for both you and your dog. Give them the room to sniff what you wouldn't, the freedom to run where you wouldn't, and the undivided attention they deserve!
Please share your own dont's in the comments below!