Dog Walking 101
So Nice to Meet You!
It’s great that your friendly pooch loves meeting people during walks-but not so great that she jumps up on them. “The basic idea is to teach your dog how to sit on cue and then require her to sit to interact with people,” says Collins. “No sitting, no greeting. But if she sits, she gets to enjoy the reward of greeting her friends.” It doesn’t hurt to reward the dog with a treat-or ask the person whom she’s greeting to offer a treat.
See our article on Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People for more guidelines.
Three Things To Bring
- If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog-especially if it’s warm outside.
- Don’t forget the goodies! Walks are great training opportunities. Bring Fido’s fave treats along, and practice tricks and obedience while you’re out in the world. “This will solidify your dog’s skills and convince him that going on walks is fantastic fun!” says Collins.
- Don’t get caught without extra poop bags, particularly if you’re going on a long walk. (P.S. This is a great way to recycle all those plastic grocery bags!)
Watch for Creepy Crawlies
Depending on the time of the year and the area of the country you live in, sneaky critters like snakes, spiders, scorpions and bees can be a serious concern for pet and parent alike. If you’re walking in a densely wooded area, take extra care to keep an eye out for hidden dangers.
So Nice to Meet You!
Taking a walk to a dog park or other fenced-in area that’s safe for canines to romp freely? Make sure your dog is prepared for off-leash play. “Your dog must know how to come when called,” says Collins, “so the most important thing to do is teach a really reliable recall.”
Find out how to accomplish this in our article Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called.
Take It Up a Notch
Here are some suggestions for making walks more fun for your dog:
- Mix it up! Try taking your dog to new places. He’ll love experiencing the new sights, smells and sounds at a novel location.
- Choose fabulous destinations. If possible, walk to fun places, like friends’ houses or the dog park.
- Walk with buddies. If your dog likes other dogs, consider group walks. You can either borrow a friend’s dog to accompany you, or invite family and friends who have dogs to meet you somewhere.
What’s Bugging You?
Walking in humid, mosquito-friendly areas? Spray yourself, not your pooch! Even though it’s tempting to share insect repellent with your pooch, it can be a grave mistake. Insect repellent should never be applied to dogs, who can suffer neurological problems from the toxic ingredient, DEET. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a suitable, pet-specific alternative.