The benefits of walking your dog are numerous and include providing your dog with exercise, which can help decrease your dog's chances of becoming overweight, reduce boredom and destructive behavior, diminish stress and anxiety and help you bond with your pet. Unfortunately many people avoid walking their dog because it becomes a chore rather than time they can enjoy together. According to Sylvia and Danny Wilson, who founded Bark Busters in Australia in 1989, "Many dog owners tell us that walking their dogs becomes a battle of wills, and they lose control of their dogs either with pulling, barking, or simply lacking focus."The Wilson's also added, "Some dog owners would like to get out and about more but say they've had negative experiences, including interaction with unfriendly dogs which frightened them".
Bark Busters, the World's Largest Dog Training Company provides these tips to consider when walking your dog:
- Walking in a group or with a friend and their dog can provide more fun and safety for you and your pet rather than walking alone.
- If you encounter an unsupervised, intimidating dog, keep walking, don't stop. You might be crossing through his territory.
- Always walk your dog on a comfortable, fixed length leash that is soft on the hands - a cotton leash works best.
- Always walk your dog in comfortable, safe shoes which will be safer for walking.
- Aim for quality of walk and not necessarilyquantity. Short walks in a safe environment often are a good way to start out and will provide an opportunity to educate your dog and get him accustomed to walking correctly.
- Always be prepared to "pick up" after your dog, and carry fresh water to keep your dog hydrated.
- If your dog is unfriendly around people or other dogs, keep a safe distance and seek professional help.
- If your dog should get into a fight during a walk, never jump in to 'rescue'your pet. Stay at the end of the leash and out of the fight to avoid being bitten. Use the leash to pull your dog away.Water can also be effective to diffuse a fight.
- Not all dogs are friendly - even a wagging tail can be misleading. Be respectful and always check with the owners of other dogs before allowing your dog to approach.
- Be aware of hot pavement. Your dog has sensitive foot pads which aren't protected by shoes like yours! Put your hand to the ground...if it feels hot to you it will be painful for your dog.
Whether during National Walk Your Dog Week or any day of the year, take advantage of the many benefits that walking your dog provides. At the very least, your dog will appreciate you more for getting him out of the house and spending time with his 'best friend'.