Dog Walking: Tips & tricks

Your dog will love you for taking them out for daily exercise. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure you're getting the most from your walks.

However old your dog is, and whatever the breed, they need to get outside in the fresh air for some exercise! Your furry friend will be grateful for the chance to run around and explore a variety of new smells and other animals.

If you have a puppy, it's important to know they need a lot less exercise than a fully grown dog, no matter how exuberant they may seem. According to The Kennel Club, a good way to calculate how long they should be exercising for is five minutes for every month they've been alive - although you can exercise them twice a day. 

Buying your leash

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what leash you should be using, according to ASPCA's Kirsten Collins - you just have to choose what you think will suit you and your dog. When you're choosing a leash, while it might be tempting to choose the brand-new model, it's much better to choose what you feel comfortable with.

Even so, there are some things you should know. If you walk your dog in the park, you might find a flexi-lead will be best. It's good to put your dog on a lead when you're in an unfamiliar place, but the flexi-lead will allow your pet to have a bit of freedom to roam while still being attached to you. These leads are a bad idea if you're going to be on busy roads as you have less control - the lead could get tangled, or your dog could run in front of a vehicle.

Chain leads might seem like a good idea because they will last and are impervious to the elements and if your dog is a bit rough. However, they are heavy and can be hard on your hands and your dog. Leather is softer, and nylon will be a lot lighter and will still hold up against the weather.

Choosing your route

Your dog probably won't get bored of walking the same route everyday - but it can be good to mix it up. Give them, and yourself, a change of scenery every once in a while. You might discover a part of your neighbourhood that you didn't know existed or make a new friend while your dog is exploring new smells and sights. Or, invite an old friend with their own dog to join you and have a good catch up.

Watch out for nasty surprises

When you're walking in the park, keep an eye out for common plants that will make your dog sick. Some plants aren't lethal, but will make your dog incredibly uncomfortable and moderately sick. The tomato plant, for instance, can cause severe digestion problems, confusion and weakness. Rhododendrons, and the bulb of the daffodil, the most toxic part of the plant, can lead to severe health problems if your dog eats them.

During the warmer months and days, also be on the look out for snakes and bees and other critters that could harm your pet.

If your dog is misbehaving

Pulling on the lead is the main way a dog will misbehave while on a walk. There are a number of reasons why it might be happening, and a few ways you can stop it. You have to be a confident and bold leader with your pet. Your dog has to know that you lead the pack and he doesn't. This can be conveyed with your posture and body language.

Simply walking with your shoulders square and your head up can make all the difference. And while you should keep the leash loose so your dog can move freely, you also need to keep it short, so they knows who's boss. 

If your dog is getting distracted by other animals and doesn't have good manners or social skills, find a well grounded dog and let your pet interact with them. That way they can learn appropriate behaviour and won't pull you in every direction whenever another furry friend crosses your path.

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