Dogs need exercise, and what better way to give them a good workout than by taking them for a walk? But before you grab the leash and head out the door, there are a few things you should know that professional dog walkers know but might not tell you. Here are ten tips for walking your dog.
A comfortable, properly-fitting collar and leash are a must. You might also want to invest in a well-fitted harness if your dog likes to pull on the leash. This will help keep both you and your dog safe and comfortable on your walks. If you are walking with two dogs consider getting a leash that is made for more than one dog like the iYoShop Dual Dog Leash. Also, be sure to have a water bottle that helps keep your dog hydrated if you plan to be out more than 15 minutes or if the weather is warm.
Just like humans, dogs need to build up their stamina over time. If your dog isn’t used to being on a leash, or if it’s been a while since their last walk, start with a short walk around the block. This will help them get used to the leash and walk with you again without getting too overwhelmed. As they become more comfortable, you can start to increase the length and intensity of the walks.
Some dogs have more energy than others and need more exercise. Dogs that are full of energy may need a longer walk or multiple walks per day, while an older dog or one with less energy might be content with a shorter walk. If you’re not sure how much exercise your dog needs, talk to your veterinarian for guidance. Exercise is important for your pup no matter their energy level just be sure not to push little legs too far or skip out on burning energy that needs to be burned with a high-energy fur baby. If you do not have the time or the energy to keep up with your pup's walking needs, consider hiring a dog walker to take those dog walks when you are not able to.
Hot weather can be dangerous for dogs, so be sure to avoid walking during the hottest hours of the day and stick to shady areas. In very cold weather, ice and snow can hurt your dog’s paws, so take extra care to avoid these conditions or invest in some quality paw protectors. (Check out my blog post about prepping your pup for summer here). If the weather outside is frightful then it may be best to wait to do your dog walking at another time and consider instead an indoor activity that helps your pet stay social and active.
Some breeds, like Greyhounds and Bulldogs, have short noses which can make it difficult for them to breathe in hot weather. If you have a short-nosed dog, be extra careful in warm weather and consider walking them in cooler hours or investing in a cooling vest. Other breeds are very high-energy and will need multiple walks per day. The best dog walkers know how to adjust their client's walks based on their size, age, and breed.
Senior dogs and puppies have different needs when it comes to walks. A puppy’s bones are still developing, so they shouldn’t walk for too long or go too fast. Older dogs might need more frequent breaks and a slower pace. Again, if you’re not sure how much is too much for your dog, ask your veterinarian. Once the puppy is old enough to take direction, start to train them to be on the leash. It is best to start young to teach good dog walking and leash habits. You can hire a professional to help you train dogs to do about anything you need from having better manners around new people and other dogs to not pulling your arm off when you walk them. Just keep that in mind during those prime training ages.
Sometimes we humans can get too excited when we see a cute pup and we start walking too fast for their little legs. It’s important to be aware of your own energy levels and adjust your pace accordingly. If you’re feeling sluggish, your dog will sense that and it might make them less inclined to walk. If you are into taking hikes or going on epic runs, consider if your pup can keep up and maybe leave them at home if they can't. Or if you are feeling under the weather or you do not have the time or energy to give your dog the walks they need, it may be time to hire a dog walker to help your pup.
Just like with training, using positive reinforcement is key to having a good dog walking experience. If your dog is behaving well, make sure to give them lots of praise and treats. This will let them know that they are doing what you want them to do and they will be more likely to continue this behavior. However, if your dog is not behaving the way you want them to, do not punish them. This will only make them scared of you and less likely to want to walk with you. Instead, try to redirect their attention and focus on positive reinforcement when they are behaving the way you want them to. Like children, our furry friends play off our tone and our emotion.
There are a lot of potential hazards when walking your dog, so it’s important to be prepared. Be on the lookout for things like broken glass, sharp objects, construction or street repair, and other things that could hurt your dog’s paws. It’s also important to be aware of potential hazards for you, like dogs who might not be as friendly as yours. If you come across an aggressive dog, do not engage. The best thing to do is to keep walking but move away from the hazard. If you have a small dog, you might want to pick them up until the danger has passed.
Just like when you’re walking by yourself, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings when you’re walking with your dog. This means being aware of things like oncoming traffic, people walking by, and other animals. It’s important to keep your dog close to you and under control at all times. If you are in an area with a lot of distractions, it might be best to keep your dog on a shorter leash so they don’t get too far away from you.
There are a lot of great places to walk your dog in Celina Texas. While Celina and Prosper are smaller towns with fewer dog parks, a good dog walker knows that many of the communities popping up offer dog parks. Light Farms for example has a nice dog park and a dog beach on Constellation Park lake. So check with your local community to see if they offer amenities for your animal.
There are also great walking paths, hiking areas, and dog parks near Celina that you can explore. Some pet sitter and dog walker favorites include Ruff Range Park in Frisco TX and Arbor Hills Trail in Carrollton Texas. Here is a great list to check out for yourself: https://www.bringfido.com/attraction/city/celina-tx-us
Getting outside to spend time with your dog is a great way to grow your bond with your pet as well as get you and your dog some exercise. Whether you have small dogs or large dogs, getting outside for fresh air is always a good way to treat your dog. And if you find you are out of town on vacation or working with clients too late, you can always hire Moody's Mutts to do house visits and take your dog for a nice walk while you are away. No need to worry, we will do the walking for you. We have a passion for pets and whenever you entrust us with your fur baby you can rest assured they are part of our family and in good hands. Because we love dogs!