A happy dog is a pooch who gets plentiful exercise -- every day of the week. Not only is walking crucial for maintaining your pet's physical fitness and health, it also does a lot for his spirits. Remember, a content dog is a lot less likely to engage in destructive actions such as chewing up your stunning living room sofa.
How Much Walking Your Dog Needs
Not all dogs have the exact same walking requirements. They differ based on breed, size, age and overall health. While a sizable rottweiler might require lengthy hour-long daily walks, a wee Yorkshire terrier might only need 30 minute strolls in order to thrive. If you're unsure as to how long your dog's walks need to be, consult your veterinarian for suggestions. Also note that many canines need exercise outside of just walking, specifically jogging or running. Dalmatians, for one, flourish with frequent lively running sessions.
An effective leash can make all the difference in ensuring that your pooch is indeed getting proper walks. Avoid overly long leashes, and instead opt for shorter ones. These types of leashes enable you to have increased command over your pet. Always securely yet comfortably affix your dog's leash to the upper portion of his neck. Doing this usually makes leading and interacting with your dog a lot more straightforward.
Hydrate Your Cutie
Maximize the potential of your dog's walks by always making sure the little guy is well hydrated. You want him to have plenty of energy while he moves his body. Not only is it important to see that your dog drinks prior to going out for walks, but encourage him to drink afterward, too. This is crucial whether it's April, July or the middle of snowy February.
If your dog doesn't feel well, he shouldn't be walking. Always closely monitor your pooch for clues of malaise. If his breathing is labored or rapid, bring him back indoors immediately. If he can't keep up with you, you also should cut the session short. Hobbling is also a sign that something is amiss. Never pressure your dog to walk if he doesn't feel well. Take him to the vet immediately if you think that he might be ill in any way.
Severe weather is a no-no for walking dogs. If the temperatures outside are scorching hot or intensely cold, be creative and figure out a way for your pet to take care of his exercise needs inside.
Occasional Pit Stops
Walking for dogs isn't just about the exercise; it's about the whole experience. It's only natural for dogs to occasionally stop in their tracks to check out their surroundings, often by smelling patches of grass. When dogs smell things, it activates their brains, which can go a long way for their well-being. Never get impatient if your dog stops walking for a minute or two. He's interested in what's going on around him -- and that's definitely a good thing.
Playing It Safe
No dog walk is "proper" if your pet isn't equipped with adequate identification. Although it's imperative for your pooch to always be securely leashed, identification tags are still crucial, too. Microchipping is beneficial in the event that your dog somehow gets loose. Reflectors on both you and your canine also can be extremely helpful. You want to be as visible as possible to other people, notably drivers.
- Dog Tips From DogTown; Best Friends Animal Society
- 101 Training Tips for Your Dog; Kate Delano-Condax Decker
- Cesar's Way: Problems Walking Your Dog?
- Cesar's Way: 6 Tips for Mastering the Dog Walk
- ASPCA: Dog Walking 101
- Michigan Humane Society: Dog Walking Tips and Resources
- The Humane Society of Utah: Have You Walked Your Dog Today?
- Animal Planet: Dalmatian Guide
- Animal Planet: Yorkshire Terrier Guide
- The Humane Society of the United States: Chewing
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images