Dog walking is what we do at Top Dog Pet Sitting & Dog Walking, other than dog sitting when owners are away, so it is only natural to give away some of our tips for a good dog walk. Not only does walking a dog give them a needed bathroom break, but it also provides physical exercise and mental stimulation. These suggestions will help the walking experience for you and your pup.
Don’t Rush: The Importance Of Sniffing
One of the most important tips for a good dog walk is to not rush. Although it may seem “senseless” to us humans, making a thorough sniff for a suitable spot to potty is crucial for dogs. It communicates to the world marking their spot, and it reveals significant information about other dogs that have marked the same spot. A dog can determine the gender, age and overall health of another dog by sniffing their urine. Humans have six million scent receptors in our noses, while dogs have up to 300 million depending on the breed. They also have a larger portion of their brains dedicated to their sense of smell. We can’t imagine, much less understand, the complexity of the information they gather with their noses.
Dogs often try to drag the human with the leash. From their perspective we walk much too slowly, especially when they catch onto an interesting scent. When this occurs, it leads to the human pulling as the dog is pulling in the opposite direction, which is not only frustrating for both parties, but is hard on the dog’s throat. We often refer to it as “Dog Opposition”, and they are not doing it to be controlling. It is a reflex, or how their body responds.
It is best to walk with a loose leash, but sometimes difficult to teach. Try using some of these suggestions:
- Change directions when the dog pulls, then reward him when he follows.
- Take a step toward the dog’s direction to loosen the leash while saying their name, and if they stop the opposition, reward them with praise.
- Never use a short or retractable leash. Short leashes only allow a few steps before it is pulling. Retractable leashes, on the contrary, allow the dog a false sense of permission to wander.
- Try using a harness until your pup learns how to walk politely. They give you more control and are much safer for dogs. There are many wonderful harnesses on the market.
Taking the same route may become boring for everyone! Dogs will enjoy fresh smells and diverse sights of a different trail or part of their neighborhood. This doesn’t mean you need to extend the walk. Simple changes will also do the trick. Walk a parallel street, or even reversing your walk is a sufficient change of pace.
We at Top Dog hope you will enjoy some of these tips for a good dog walk. Walks are a necessity for your pup, but can also be a pleasurable and bonding experience with your dog. Happy walking!