Most dogs love to go for walks. They are able to get out of the house with their beloved owners (that's you!) and explore the world around them. Walks provide exercise and mental stimulation to your dog. This is a nice way to bond with your dog. It's also important to exhibit proper etiquette when out in public with your dog. Here are some basic guidelines that will help make your dog's walks enjoyable for you and your dog while respecting your community:
- Always pick up after your dog. Consider bags that will attach to your dog's leash.
Have control of your dog at all times. Keep your dog close to you when you are around other dogs or people by maintaining a short leash.
Remember to let your dog get plenty of chances to sniff around during the walk. Your dog's nose is the main way he explores his world!
- Before walking puppies, make sure they have been properly introduced to the leash.
Choose the appropriate leash for your dog. It should be comfortable for you and your dog. It should also be easy to handle and not too long. Four to six feet is ideal.
- Avoid retractable leashes, or at least use them properly. Ideally, your dog should walk at your side. Your dog should definitely not be walking more than six feet ahead of you, as you will not have control if a distraction comes along.
- Train loose-leash walking so walks are less stressful.
- Consider training your dog to stop and sit at intersections, especially in the city. It's a good safety measure around traffic.
- Again, pick up after your dog!
- Don't let your dog wander into private yards. This is rude. Keep your dog on the curb strip side of the sidewalk whenever possible. Definitely avoid letting your dog eliminate in yards.
Pay attention to the environment around you. If your notice potential distractions (like cats, birds, other dogs, etc) before your dog, you may be able to minimize your dog's reaction. You can have your dog sit and look at you while the distraction passes. Keeping some tasty treats in your pocket might help your dog focus on you.
Don't assume other people or dogs want to meet your dog. Always ask before you allow your dog to greet others.
Keep walks short in warmer weather or with senior dogs. It's time to head home if your dog stops walking, begins to slow down, or shows any signs of exhaustion. Contact a vet right away if you see signs of heat stroke.
Protect paws in winter from icy, snowy or salted roads. Avoid asphalt on hot summer days, as the road can burn your dog's paw pads.
And for the last time, please, please pick up after your dog!
Last but not least, have fun!