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5 dog walking tips you should know

Dog walking is that responsibility that not only needs to be done every day, but it takes you out of the house with your bundle of energy. If your dog is more interested in eating grass, sniffing and just reacting to squirrels rather than pooping, you’re not alone. 

The everyday dog walking task can become tiring and that’s understandable so a better understanding of your dog’s behaviour can help. With that in mind here are a few tips for dog walking you should know. 

1. Be the leader

This is one important aspect of your daily dog walks, you should be the one that leads the walk. Your dog needs to see you as the one that decides where you both go and so discourage pulling on the leash. 

There are so many people saying that your dog should follow you, walk behind you, and not dominate the walk. While that might be the ideal, I would settle for the dog not pulling and keeping close to me. 

Breeds with high prey drives are very hard to control once outside. Having a terrier at least controlling that urge is a win. The average dog owner is not going to be the best dog trainer, and this is where certain tools can help. 

Food is your best friend and redirecting your dog’s attention to a high-value treat is one way to go about it. High-value treats can mean something different for each dog, one might like cheese or chicken while another scoffs at the idea in general. 

If you’re unlucky to have a dog that is not food motivated you’ll have the hardest job ever to get and keep their attention. Most likely you’ll end up like me and get a double-ended leash to tie in the front of the harness and discourage pulling. 

2. Introduce the harness and leash 

You want your dog to be comfortable around the leash every time you need to go for a walk. To do this, introduce these tools way before you’ll begin your regular walks. Leave them out for your dog to sniff, lick and chew on. 

Reward them for interacting with the leash and slowly introduce the idea of putting the harness and leash on. Constant interaction with the harness and lead will make dog walking easier, especially when you’ll be in a hurry. 

3. Plan a route

While you won’t exactly get lost dog walking it’s a good idea to have a few route ideas planned out. This way you can change them depending on the weather if you need a place with more shade for instance. 

Your dog will also greatly benefit from this change. hey will get bored of the same dog walk every day. This usually happens to me and my dog refuses to go potty in the same spot every day, so I need to change course, literally. 

4. Let your dog explore a little

This goes hand in hand with the “be your dog’s leader”. While I would very much like a dog with the perfect recall sometimes your dog has their own preferences. Among these, we can count exploration. 

Let your dog have a sniff in the grass. They like to interact with new things and it stimulates their minds, maybe even their curiosity. Dog walking should be fun for your dog too. They will definitely enjoy smelling another dog’s wee and leaving a reply. 

So don’t jump at the first opportunity to “correct” your dog from wandering a little to the side and exploring in the grass. Of course, you limit the number of times this happens as you cannot really stay out all day. But leave a little room for your dog too.

5. Avoid using a retractable leash 

If you like and are comfortable with retractable leashes then, by all means, use them. This is a personal preference that I do not like. As an owner of a dog that very much liked to pull, a retractable leash made dog walking less enjoyable. 

It would not retract smoothly enough or fast enough. Most of the time I would just grab the leash itself, which was not pleasant. This mixed with an energetic dog that would go around trees or light posts was always a hassle. 

A retractable leash could work nicely if you want to practice recall in your garden. This way you offer some more leeway to your dog. 

In conclusion

Use common sense when you decide on your dog walking habits. It may be a case of trying out a few tips and having them fail before you really establish a nice routine. 

In any case, take time and see what makes it enjoyable for both you and your pet. 

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