How To Safely Walk Your Dog
Walking your dog is an excellent form of exercise for both you and your companion. It can benefit overall health by incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine, reducing the risk of heart disease and even elevated stress levels. Fresh air also does wonders for the soul. But did you know that when walking your pal, you can expose them to various safety concerns? It's always good to be completely aware of your surroundings and the places you intend on wandering.
Follow the below tips to ensure you are safely walking your dog:
Always Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
Take note of where you will be walking before you get there by planning your route. Are you entering a high traffic area? The suburbs? A dog park? Busy streets? Knowing your location is important.
Be observant. Unfortunately, not all drivers are as cautious as they should be. So when crossing the street, pay extra attention to any cars that may be turning or driving at a fast speed. Also, Listen for noises to indicate what may be around you.
Keep A Short Leash
While walking, rarely allow your dog to have the full length of their leash. You don’t know who you will encounter along your walk, and allowing a long leash gives your dog the ability to pull and act a lot quicker than you can prevent. Retractable leashes are perfect for walks, they permit you to give extra leash when your dog is sniffing or doing their business, but retract when crossing through traffic or passing by other humans/canines.
Keeping your dog on a short leash will also prevent the picking up of hazardous foods or vegetation found on the ground. You will be able to act first by having your dog close — we all know how quickly a dog reacts to something they want to eat, it’s better to stay one step ahead.
Know How Friendly Your Dog Is With Others
On a walk, you will almost always encounter another human or canine. If your dog has been socialized this may be exciting for them, but if your dog or the dog you meet isn’t social, you run the risk of aggressive behavior i.e. biting/fighting.
When you see another dog approaching keep your dog close. Once in range, talk to the owner and ask if their dog is friendly with others. Asking the owner if their dog is friendly will allow you to safely determine if they should interact or if you should walk away. If both dogs are social and you mutually agree that it’s okay for them to interact, keep them on a short leash and allow them to sniff/play. This encounter will bring the dogs enjoyment and much excitement; it will also help to tire them out once home from the walk.
What Are The Environmental Conditions
Take note of the environmental conditions. If it’s rainy, perhaps you want to protect your dog from the rain by utilizing a rain coat. Perhaps it’s cold out, and your dog could use a thicker layer, or boots to keep them warm and protect their paws from salt. Is it hot out? If so, make sure to have water on hand for your pal, and be aware of ticks. It’s always good to treat your dog with annual tick prevention medication, especially if you find yourself walking through a dog park or a conservation area.
Train Your Dog As You Walk
Implementing learning while walking your dog is very beneficial. Repeating certain commands in specific areas will help teach your dog safety while out for a walk, or should they ever escape from home.
When entering an intersection, always stop and have your dog sit before crossing the street, looking both ways as well. This will make your dog aware of passing cars and will teach them when it’s safe to walk. Teaching them to stop and sit when they see a human or another dog will help keep them calm and prevent running or pulling of the leash should you encounter someone on your walk.
Put Away Your Cell Phone
Phones are distracting in any capacity. We often see people walking around and even crossing the road while texting or talking on the phone; never looking up. How will you see any imminent hazards? Be aware of your surroundings and put your phone away while you walk. Having ear buds in your ear, whether listing to music or talking on the phone will prevent you from hearing the noises surrounding you, i.e. cars honking, voices, dogs barking, etc… So put your phone in your pocket or away on silent and pay attention to your dog.
It’s a good idea to have a phone with you in case you need to make an emergency call, but don’t let it be your distraction. When you walk your dog, it should be bonding time, not a forced task. Enjoy your walk and give your furry friend the attention they need and deserve.
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