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Dog walking is essential for your pooch’s health & happiness. Approximately 25% of UK homes have a pet dog, but nearly a third don’t give them the exercise they need, which is around 2.7 million owners who are jeopardising the fitness, health and happiness of their pup. Many owners put off walking their dogs because their pooch pulls or doesn’t listen to them, so learning how to combat these problems can make dog walking enjoyable again, for both you and your beloved pooch.
Dogs are pack animals and will seek out a leader or become it themselves. It’s important to establish yourself as the leader, especially on walks, so that they listen to you and you can keep them safe and have and enjoyable walk. Make sure that you walk out of the door first and always walk slightly in front of your dog so that you become the automatic leader.
Teaching your dog basic commands is good for them to learn self-restraint, obedience and it gets them to listen to you and understand what you want them to do. While you’re on a walk commands like, “leave it” can help to keep them away from eating things or going near things they shouldn’t. If your dog is exploring freely, teaching them to come back when called can make it easy to stop them from wandering off or approaching other people and dogs without your permission.
Dogs live to please their humans, but they can struggle to understand what is expected of them if it’s not clear. Rewarding good behaviour helps them to understand when they’re doing right. This can be in the form of treats, lots of attention, a belly rub or a simple, but enthusiastic, “good boy/girl!”. This type of positive reinforcement tends to work better for dogs than just telling them off when they do wrong.
Having the right collar or harness can make a big difference to how much control you have over your dog when you’re out on a walk, particularly for dogs that pull. A harness where the lead clips on at the front is the best option as you have the same control as you would with a collar, ensuring they look towards you if you pull them back, but without any risk of injuring them or them choking themselves on a collar.
It’s a legal requirement for your dog to wear an ID tag whenever you go out in public, including your name and address. This applies even if they’re on their lead as there’s always a chance of you getting separated. It’s also compulsory for your dog to be microchipped and you need to keep the information up-to-date, such as your address and phone number. Being easily identified also means you should wear reflective clothing if you walk when it’s dark. Some harnesses, collars and leads come with reflective strips on them, which are ideal.
These five tips will help to make sure your walks with your dog are safe and enjoyable for both of you. And remember that walks are an important part of caring for your dog, meeting both their physical needs and providing mental stimulation 🙂
Until next time, with very best wishes