Walking your dog makes for a perfect bonding time with your best friend. While it can sometimes be tempting to go out for just a few minutes to have them do their business, it’s important to take regular longer walks for exercise and to spend quality time with your pet. So how can you get the most out of walking your dog? Here are 10 tips we use at Vet Organics.
1. Pick the Right Leash & Collar
There are many types of leashes out there and getting just the right one will make walks more enjoyable for both you and your dog. Pick a leash that fits snugly to ensure that your dog won’t be able to get away from you by slipping out of the collar. Harnesses will provide you with more control if your dog tends to pull, but stay away from retractable leashes, as they can break at the worst moment. Opt for a short leash to establish control instead. At the same time, your pet will likely be most comfortable using a leather leash, since chain ones can sometimes be painful after extended periods of time.
2. Obedience 101
This might take some work and effort from both sides, but by the time your dog learns proper obedience, walks will become fun and easy! Start out in more private spaces like your backyard or a park with not too many visitors. Once your dog is ready, there’s no better way to practice obedience training than taking a walk on a crowded street. Practice commands together every day so that your dog can get used to them and be easier to take out.
3. Prepare for Poo
Never fumble around for a bag to collect your dog’s poop again! There are many dispenser options out there, but our favorite are the recycled plastic bag dispensers that fit on your dog’s leash. They attach with Velcro and dispense bags that are environmentally friendly! Of course, you can just bring any old plastic bag with you, just don’t forget it.
4. Don’t Forget the Treats & Water
Staying healthy and hydrated is important for both you and your dog. While some parks will have water fountains, it’s a safe bet to always keep a bottle of water on hand to ward off dehydration. Reward good behavior and play with your dog’s favorite treats to make walks more fun for them.
5. Discover New Paths
Routine isn’t as exciting as exploring new hiking trails together. Discovering new sights, smells, and sounds will keep things interesting for you and provide loads of mental stimulation for your dog. If there aren’t a lot of options near your home, try driving out to a new park over the weekend.
6. The More the Merrier
Does your dog have her own squad at the dog park? Invite one of those pet parents along for a double doggy date and take a long stroll together. Your dog will be able to socialize, play around and have tons of fun during this time.
7. Work Out Together
Since dogs and humans both need a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise, walks are a great way to do both at the same time. Bring a small weight or find a doggy backpack if you’re looking for maximum exercise multitasking. You can also jog together with your dog to get some extra cardio going for both of you.
8. Switch it Up
On workday mornings you probably only have time to take your dog out for a quick bathroom session. If that’s the case, try to go on a long walk around the neighborhood or to the pet store to change things up. Plus, more pet-friendly places are popping up every day – why not take your dog with your for dinner or to the bookstore?
9. Smell the Roses
Enjoy your time together. Stop a few times to let your pup catch their breath and relax a minute (aka smell everything in sight). Bring a toy on a longer walk and sprinkle in time for play.
10. Help Other Dogs
Apps such as ResQWalk and Walk for Dog will track your dog walks via built-in pedometers to help you raise money for local animal rescues and shelters based on how far you’ve walked. That’s a nice encouragement to take a longer walk!