Fido needs exercise. Before taking him for a walk, check out these tips from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Leash basics. Most communities require you to leash your dog while in public. Common sense dictates the same. When choosing a leash, find one that’s suited for the size and strength of your dog and that’s comfortable for you to hold. Flexible-lead leashes, those that allow the dog to roam a bit while still leashed, work well in parks where there’s some space for your dog to roam, but they can prove hazardous in high-traffic areas. Although a chain leash looks nice and is less likely to be chewed, it is not as light or as comfortable to hold as a leather leash. If your dog is a puller, avoid nylon leashes, which can cut into your hands.
Leash control. Constant leash pulling causes discomfort for you and your pet. Diagnose what may be causing the pulling and seek a remedy. If your dog finds it necessary to chase after critters such as cats or rabbits, walk at a time when fewer animals are about. Overly enthusiastic dogs can be controlled easier with a head halter. Until your dog learns to walk without pulling, treat every walk as a training opportunity. Bring treats and reward accordingly.
Yard hazards. Keep your dog off lawns and out of flower beds. In addition to annoying your neighbors, a dog on a lawn may come in contact with insecticides or problem-causing mulches. Certain flowers, if sniffed or eaten, can cause stomach irritation. If your dog enjoys munching on neighborhood flowers or wandering onto lawns during neighborhood strolls, keep her on a shorter leash. Keep an eye out for snakes, bees, scorpions and spiders in less urban areas as well.
What to bring. Bring a poop scoop or plastic bag to properly dispose of dog waste. Bring an extra bag just to be sure, especially on long walks. If it’s warm outside or if you take long walks, bring water. Because walks present opportunities to train your dog, bring treats.
Greetings. Dogs love to meet other dogs and people. Make sure your pet is under control before he ventures forth to greet his new friends. A good strategy is to have him sit before you allow any greeting to take place. Then promote good behavior with a treat. If your dog can’t handle basic instructions, consider spending some time in your backyard teaching him how to sit.
Dog parks. Many communities provide off-leash opportunities for dogs. Before taking your pet to a dog park, make sure she obeys your commands. Keep an eye out for problem-causing canines; leash your dog and go home if you feel she’s in danger.