When you first laid eyes on your new furry best friend, you may have envisioned calm strolls through the park or your neighborhood. But dog walking isn’t always as easy as it might seem, and it can be downright stressful if your canine companion pulls on her dog leash or heads in a different direction than you had in mind. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your adventures more enjoyable for you and your pup.
- Use a short leather leash
- Reward good behavior
- Give your dog a chance to sniff and explore — on your terms
- Don’t get into a tug of war
- Ask before letting your dog meet other dogs
Use a Short Leather Leash
You’ve heard the saying “keeping him/her on a short leash,” and it’s because a short leash allows less room for error. Short dog leashes give you better control over your pup when you are out for a walk, and are especially helpful with dogs who pull or those that can be unpredictable. We recommend avoiding retractable leashes as they can make it difficult to control your dog, and the locks sometimes fail. Instead, we recommend a sturdy, long-lasting material like our leather leash.
Reward Good Dog Behavior
Positive reinforcement is an essential technique to use when training your dog, and that includes dog walking. Early in the process of training your pup, verbal praise — a hearty “good boy!” or “good girl!” — when paired with a tasty treat, lets your dog know they’re on the right track.
Give Your Dog a Chance to Sniff and Explore — on Your Terms
Dogs have up to 300 million scent receptors in their noses — far more than the five or six million that humans have — and larger areas of their brain devoted to scent, as well. Dogs take in a lot of information through smell, and many of the mental benefits that a dog gets from walks are through sniffing. But it’s also important that the urge to sniff everything doesn’t get the best of your dog. Reward good dog leash behavior with opportunities to sniff, and use the phrase “leave it” when your dog is sniffing at inappropriate times.
Don’t Get Into a Tug-Of-War
While tug-of-war might be a fun game to play with your dog using his favorite toy, it’s not a good idea while dog walking. Dogs sometimes think their owners walk too slowly, and if they find a scent that interests them, they don’t mind dragging their people behind to check it out. While that’s no fun for you, pulling on their collars can put a lot of pressure on your dog’s throat. Instead, teach your dog to walk with a loose dog leash beside you. If your dog begins to walk in front of you, stop and change direction. Once he catches up, reward him with praise and a small treat.
Ask Before Letting Your Dog Meet Other Dogs
Even if your dog has a demonstrated track record of good behavior with other dogs, there’s no way to know whether the other dogs out walking have the same demeanor. Not all dogs are friendly toward others, so it’s always best to check with their owner verbally first before allowing your pup to approach.