Make walking the dog, a walk in the park!
By: Pet City On: 30 March 2020
You too can learn how to walk in harmony with your pooch, no more pulling and uncontrollable behaviour with these helpful tips. During this time when everything feels a little uncertain & rules are being placed on how we leave the home, it's important to still find time to get some fresh air and a bit of physical exercise.
Start with the Right Apparel
Whenever you take your dog for a walk, it’s important that you are equipped properly to handle your dog. Ensuring you have the right length lead and a suitable harness will make controlling your excited pooch a lot easier.
If you have a ‘puller’ we recommend the Balance Harness, as it aids to correct a tight lead and make it easier to walk your pooch. A Halti can also be used for particularly unruly or excited dogs but also requires some time to train your dog to use such a tool.
Walking your dog on a;
Harness: There are several types of harnesses. Some are designed to help correct pulling, some for easy fitting, some for style. Not all harnesses are made equal, and you should talk to a pet care expert about what type of harness is most appropriate for your dog's breed, size and behaviour.
Collar: the only reason you should be walking your dog on a collar (without a harness) is if your dog is completely calm and controlled on the lead. If your dog get's excited or overstimulated, a collar can hurt your dog's throat, and can cause damage to their trachea.
Halti: a fantastic training aid for puppies and dogs that are stubborn. These tools correct pulling instantly and give you complete control over your dog. However they take some time for your pet to get used to, and lots of training. These are best used with the help of a pet care professional or dog behavioural trainer.
What length lead should you use?
An appropriate length lead is vital for safety. If your pooch is in training or you need extra control, go for a lead less than 1m in length. For casual walking a lead up to 1.6m is appropriate.
High traffic/busy areas: or if you have an anxious dog in training, a short lead >1m.
Normal walks: around your residential area, to and from parks and to familiar places, leads of 1-2m are ideal. This gives your pooch a little bit of freedom on the leash.
At the park/beach: long lead 3-10m (non-retractable). Long leads are great for when you're in a safe, open space like the beach or on-lead park. They give your dog extra freedom to run and play while still remaining tethered. Be sure to pack your shorter lead for when it's time to go!
With restrictions now imposed on dog parks, a long lead can be a great option to give your dog that feeling on freedom in a large open space. These are also great for recall training.
Find an open space to play!
Life is too short NOT to play. For our dogs, play-time is both mentally and physically stimulation, and promotes feelings of satisfaction and joy. Entertaining your pooch reduces the likelihood of boredom occurring, and can help with issues such as excessive barking, destructive behaviour and more.
We recommend at least an hour of interactive play with your dog per day, on average. This obviously is dependant on your dog's breed and specific energy levels. If you have a working dog like a border collie, kelpie or beagle, expect more time invested in wearing them out.
Make play different. Don't just throw your dog a ball every day. While some dogs are estatic with this idea, it's not very mentally engaging for your dog to perform the same game repeatedly. Instead, try to involve training in play with an Agility Kit, or walk to a new park.
Giving encouragement to your dog when he is behaving appropriately is vital to promote good behaviour and to create a good experience. Some dogs feel fear and anxiety when going to a new area, and rewarding your pet with his or her favourite treats is the best way to give a little nudge of encouragement. Providing tasty treats can make your dog co-relate that time with a positive experience.
Don't forget about your dog's bodily functions too... If your heading out for a longer period, they'll need a water bowl, poo baggies, sunscreen and other things you might bring for yourself.