Ask any dog parent he or she will tell you that when you share your life with a dog, every day is “walk your dog” day! Why do dogs love walks so much? Have you ever wondered how to enjoy your dog walk even more? These are questions we delve into so you can simply enjoy your dog, your walk and your time together!
Usually, when you walk by the leash your dog will stop whatever it is doing and dash over to where you are because they are convinced a walk is in their near future. Some of us have dogs who walk on leashes with no tugging, growling at other dogs or hopping on strangers they encounter. Still others of us have dogs who drag us down the sidewalk, tinkle on every blade of grass they see and are antisocial with everyone they meet on the walk.
Your dog, even if it’s dragging you down the sidewalk, is so excited to be outside and to be bombarded with the smells that are engulfing him that he just can’t control his enthusiasm. We get it! But if you, as the pet parent, wants to enjoy the walk and not have your shoulder ache by the time you get home we have some suggestions.
How To Enjoy Your Dog Walk Even More
Teach your pup the “look” command.
This is just what it sounds like; you want your dog to look into your eyes when you say, “look.” When you do this, you’re capturing your dog’s attention. Dogs are happy to be out. On walks, their enthusiasm gets the best of them. They will lunge towards any great smell their noses pick up. When you teach your dog the “look” command, your pup will look at you and calm down. To train “look” say the word, stop and wait until your dog looks into your eyes. Give him a high reward treat each time he looks at you and holds your gaze.
Give him time to revel in the walk.
When you walk a dog it’s a lot of stopping and starting. Give your dog a chance to just be a dog. Tell yourself that, “on the start of the walk I will let him pee on everything and smell everything to his heart’s content, but on the way home, I’m getting my cardio.” Dogs gotta be dogs and that means letting them give into their olfactory senses. To a dog, an enjoyable walk involves stopping to smell the blades of grass and fire hydrants.
Use proper equipment.
Make sure your dog has on a collar or a harness that fits them properly. You should be able to fit two fingers under his collar. Check the leash clasp to make certain it is properly closed and connected to the collar. It’s important that your dog wear an identification tag at all times. This will ensure your dog is safely returned in case your pup slips out of its collar or pulls the leash out of your hand. Don’t forget water when you’re walking. Grab a water bottle and a dog water bowl before you leave the house. It may not seem too warm to you, but the walk could leave your dog dehydrated and panting. Lastly be a responsible pet parent and pick up your pup’s waste.
Teach him leash etiquette.
After teaching the “look” command, teach your pup to “heel.” This will make the walk more enjoyable for the two of you. You may want let your dog walk “off heel” when there are no dogs or people around. This gives your dog a chance to stretch their legs or sniff the ground. Once another dog or person approaches, say “heel” and immediately stop. Your dog should stop and sit by your side. Work on this command when you’re in a place with little distractions then train in the great outdoors! Give your dog a high reward treat when they obey the command.
You may want to check your phone during the walk, but we urge you to live in the moment. Take note of how each walk is a grand adventure. There are new things to see, bark at, roll in, sniff and be enthusiastic about. We should learn to be more like our dogs and be present and in the moment. Instead of scrolling through text messages or emails, look at the sky, the clouds, the flowers along your path, pay attention to the ants scurrying on the sidewalk, breath in the scent of the woods, listen to the crunching of branches beneath your feet. Embrace the stillness of the walk. Stop occasionally and give your dog some loving pets. This show your pup how much you’re enjoying the walk.
How excited does your dog get when you grab it’s leash? Where is your favorite place to walk? We’d love to see a photo; share one on our Dog Is Good Facebook page. Now that you have read our post “How To Enjoy Your Dog Walk Even More”, what tips will you try with your dog?
Robbi Hess, Woman In The Pet Industry Solopreneur Finalist and award-winning author, is multi-petual. When not caring for her pets or taking them on walks, she is a speaker, efficiency and effectiveness guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof/Crimeless Cat.