September 20, 2022
Dog Walking Tips: How to Help Your Dog Walk on a Leash with Ease
Walking your dog is a great way to get up and active, enjoy the fresh air, and explore the world. But even seasoned dog parents know it takes serious preparation and training to do it right. Here are some tips to help you have one of the best-behaved dogs in the park.
Why are Leashes Important?
When it comes to taking your dog out in public, whether on a walk for some exercise or a trip to the store, a leash is an essential tool that helps protect you and your dog, as well as others around you. Dogs don’t understand everything about the world around them. When taking them out in public they look to you, their owner, to keep them safe. Aside from you giving verbal guidance and assurance during the walk, a leash is like the cherry on top. Consider all of the dangers an unleashed dog could stumble upon. A dog without a leash could too easily wander into traffic and risk injuring itself or someone else. A dog without a leash could get lost and wander too far from home. They could encounter another animal who may not be friendly and in turn, that animal could lash out. Even less obvious issues like your dog eating unsafe plants and items can be prevented with the use of a leash. At the end of the day, a well-trained dog on a leash is safer for everyone and is even required under the law in most states.
Tips for Walking with a Leash
When it comes to walking your dog on a leash, it takes training and time for everyone to walk comfortably. So here are some tips to help ease the process.
First, there are a lot of leashes to choose from, so knowing the right leash for your dog can make a big difference. Leashes also go hand in hand with harnesses and collars, so it’s equally important to make sure the leash you choose works well when attached. The style of your leash may change depending on the activity you and your dog are doing, or even certain behaviors your dog is exhibiting. For example, front clip harnesses are great for dogs who are learning how to walk without pulling on their leash because the leash is attached in front of them. If they move too far ahead the leash turns sideways and redirects them back towards you. When it comes to finding your leash, keep in mind your dog’s size, training goals, and the type of adventure you’re going on.
Before it comes time to walk your dog on their leash, there is some training you can do to ensure they move comfortably and are on their best behavior. The number one thing you’re looking out for when walking your dog on a leash is pulling. You want to train your dog not to pull away from you. A dog that feels it’s okay to pull can be dangerous. When this happens you can lose control and this can lead to risky scenarios like being pulled into traffic, or towards other animals. You want to train your dog to stay by your side, and if anything turns up in your path, you want them to be able to respond to you when called. You can use treats as positive reinforcement to redirect their attention with a cue and offer the reward when they execute. Your dog should always follow your lead when walking, and you should feel in total control of the situation, not fearful that your dog could take off and pull you with them.
As your dog should not pull you, you should not pull your dog. You don’t want to yank them or tug on their leash. This has the potential to cause serious damage to the neck, not only muscle injuries but breathing problems as well. Always use treats or some other attention-getter to redirect their attention where you want it to go.
Finally, when your dog is out with you on a walk they’ll want to explore the world around them, and the number one way they do that is through scent. It can be nerve-wracking as a dog parent to watch your dog stick their face in everything they come in contact with, especially if you’re not sure if what they’re interested in is harmful. You want to do your best to keep their attention with you, but sometimes you just have to embrace their curiosity and let them sniff something new. It will make the walk a little smoother knowing you don’t have to be on guard and lead them away from everything they want to explore. Just don’t let them eat anything!
How Can I Prepare for an Outing?
There are so many different places and adventures you and your dog can go. Not only do you want to feel confident about their leash skills, but there are other items you can bring to prepare yourself for a safe and fun outing. Not to mention, your preparation also makes a difference to the people around you and you can ensure it’s a fun experience for everyone.
The first thing you can prepare yourself with is directions. You want to make sure you know the path you’re going to take, and approximately how long of a walk it will be. Knowing time and distance is not only helpful when deciding what supplies to bring, but these small pieces of information can also prevent you from overworking your pup. Another thing to factor in is what type of excursion it will be. Will you be traveling through city streets on pavement, or will you be on a trail that is a little more rocky and unstable? Small considerations like these might make you rethink how long of a trip you want to take.
The key supplies for any dog walk are water, treats, and poop bags. Water is so important but so easily forgotten. You’ll want to be intentional about keeping your pet hydrated regularly, especially out and about. Portable water bowls and plenty of water are essential to any trip. Additionally, treats are key to helping them with training and focus. Whether your pup is just learning or is older and wiser, treats are a great positive reinforcement and should always be kept on hand. Finally, poop bags are a dog walking necessity. Leaving your dog’s waste behind on a trail is not only unsanitary but impolite to other walkers and animals. Do the right thing and pick up after your pup!
The last thing you want to do when preparing to take your dog out for a walk is make sure they are up to date on all of their vaccinations and medications. There are so many potential diseases and bugs that dogs are susceptible to. This can include things like fleas, ticks, or heartworm. These types of diseases are more likely to spread when they’re out playing, walking on trails, or in other areas of nature like lakes or woods. The last thing you ever want is for your dog to be sick or injured. As a pet parent, doing everything you can to keep your pet safe is key. Before heading out on the trails you may want to research what is pet insurance and how does it work. Any outing with your dog comes with risks. Whether you have a puppy or a senior dog, there is so much for them to explore and be curious about. Sometimes when excitement gets the best of them they can put themselves in a dangerous situation. Having them on a leash only protects them and you so much which is why having backup protection like pet insurance can help fight the dangers we don’t see. Whether they get injured from all of their outdoor play, stumble upon an allergen, eat something they’re not supposed to, have an unfortunate run-in with another animal, or get bit by a mosquito carrying a disease, you can use pet insurance to get them the care they need without overloading your finances. Getting active and outdoors is so important to a dog’s health and a human’s so being prepared for any scenario can help you to really make the most of it.
Things to Watch Out For
As a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to prepare for your outing. However, there are always going to be things outside of your control. It’s important to take a second and make sure you’re aware of some possible obstacles to your walk.
Before you get walking you should know what leash aggression looks like in dogs. This is a dog that tends to growl, bark, and lunge at other dogs when they are hooked to a leash. They may be the kindest and calmest dogs off leash, but the limitation of the leash can make them feel stressed and confused even if all they want to do is play. If your dog is showing signs of leash aggression it can be best to get them to a trainer who can work with you to navigate this issue. One of the biggest things you’ll want to train your dog to do is look to you when another dog is around, so you as the pet parent can help control if or when they are allowed to interact.
With that, as a pet parent, you must always be vigilant of other animals and people around you. Not every dog is friendly and interested in playing, and your dog may not want every person at the park to come and approach them without warning. You’ll want to do your best to keep your dog’s focus on you and pay attention to who might approach, so you can politely let them know if your dog is open to being pet.
You never know what you may encounter on your walk but you shouldn’t let that stop you from getting out there and spending time with your pup. With the right tools and some practice, walking the dog can become not just a part of your routine, but a great bonding moment for the both of you. Putting in the work now can easily make this one of the best parts of the day for both you and your dog.