We thought we’d give you 8 tips on walking your dog, because before you got your pooch, you likely imagined walking a dog would be a wonderful experience of long relaxing strolls, exploring neighborhoods and hiking trails. In those pre-dog fantasies, your four-legged sidekick likely trotted obediently by your side on a leash, following your every command and looking at you adoringly.
Then you got your dog and the fantasy disappeared. Why does my dog have to stop and pee on everything? Why do they have to stop and sniff every blade of grass? It can be frustrating, but don’t hang up the leash!
The second most common injury cited in the various insurance reports was a broken hip. Other injuries ranged from broken legs after being knocked down by runaway dogs (the most common injury), to thumb injuries caused by a lead, to trapped nerves and upper limb injuries.
To make the walks enjoyable and safe, you must maintain control of your dog at all times. Keep your dog close to you when you are around other dogs or people by keeping a short leash.
You can make walks less stressful by training loose-leash walking as well. This will let your dog get plenty of chances to sniff around during the walk. After all, your dog’s nose is the main way it explores their world!
Consider training your dog to stop and sit at intersections, especially in the city. It’s a good safety measure around traffic.
Handle Distractions Properly
When out on your walk, pay attention to the environment around you. If you notice potential distractions (like cats, birds, other dogs) before your dog, you may be able to minimize its reaction. You can have your dog sit and look at you while the distraction passes.
Make sure your dog is well-socialized and trained on how to properly meet other dogs and people. This will prevent many sudden pulls, fights and bites resulting in injury. Many people tend to start training a dog that pulls by using a ‘Gentle Leader’ leash.
Tips for Walking Properly
Keep your head up: Imagine your head being pulled up gently by an invisible piece of string that’s attached to the ceiling. This may help prevent you from dropping your head into your chest while you walk.
Lengthen your back: Try to avoid your dog pulling on the leash, slouching, hunching, or leaning forward, which can put stress on your back muscles.
Keep your shoulders down and back: Your shoulders also play a key role in your walking posture and technique. If your shoulders are tense or hunched forward, it can strain the muscles and joints in your shoulders, neck and upper back.
Engage your core: Your core muscles also play an important role when you’re walking, and help you move more easily.
Swing your arms in a relaxed way while keeping your leash loose.
Keep your feet directly within your centre of gravity.
You are a Special Person
It takes a special person to dedicate time, love, and patience to a pet. There is a lot of care and responsibility required, especially when it comes to training or learning how to walk a dog. There are many other factors to consider, from buying the right collar and leash, to setting expectations, to rewarding your dog for a job well done. It will take time but soon you will know what to do so that you and your pet can make the walking experience a great one.
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Veronika Kovecses
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article. If you have any funny dog walking stories, let us know by leaving a comment.