Everything you need to know to make walks clean, safe, and fun
Going on walks with your four-legged friend is one of the best perks of owning a dog. Not only do you both get exercise, but the fresh air, sunshine, and time spent together bonding as humans and canine is irreplaceable. Just like grooming, exercise is a key aspect of pet ownership.
Unfortunately, being outdoors can sometimes lead to muddy paws and messy fur!
Luckily, the experts here at Groomit have created an essential guide for new dog owners all about dog walking. We are leaders in the in-home and mobile pet grooming industry. Now, let us help you prepare for walks with your pup…and stay looking clean and sharp before, during, and after.
The Benefits of Walking Dogs of All Ages
Dogs of all ages need walks with their human – that’s you!
Young puppies and adult dogs alike benefit from the socialization aspect. You might run into all kinds of people and objects on your walk around the block. The mailman, garbage truck, fire hydrant, playing children, and other dogs provide ample opportunities for your pup to learn about the outside world. Even older dogs still require a regular walk every day to be well-adjusted canine companions.
In addition, all those smells are essential to a dog’s wellbeing. Remember, dogs are descendants of wolves. They naturally want to sniff, track, and forage. While they don’t hunt in the woods like their canine ancestors once did, Fido still has some “wild” in him.
Of course, you want to keep your dog fit, healthy, and happy, right?
Be sure to let your dog sniff freely on walks. This is good for his mind.
5 Tips and Tricks to Make Dog Walking Clean, Safe, and Fun
As mobile groomers, we know “walkies” can get messy! That’s why our highly skilled and certified pet groomers offer same-day availability. But to help you prepare for a walk ahead of time, follow these 5 helpful points:
1. Load up on treats
Walks are a chance to practice training with your dog. Use high-value treats like cheese cubes or smelly chicken bites as a delicious motivator to work on commands like, “heel,” “wait,” “sit,” and “drop it.”
2. Dress for the weather
Sure, your dog has fur. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t get cold! Before heading out on a walk, check the weather. A smoldering hot sun can actually heat up the pavement enough to burn paw pads, and freezing temperatures can lead to doggy frostbite and hypothermia.
Also, Groomit suggests investing in a water-resistant raincoat. Protect your pretty hairdo!
3. Practice getting ready by the door
This is a handy tip lots of pet parents forget. Tired of getting pulled? Sick of a yanking leash? Wait until your dog is calm before starting the walk. A dog who is overly excited by the thought of going outside won’t be in the right frame of mind to listen and obey commands – which is essential for a safe walk.
4. Plan your route
Being a new pet parent, you’ll want to show off your cute dog, obviously! Still, it’s best to pick a route and stick to it in the beginning. Noisy traffic and busy streets can be overwhelming to a dog. Choose a quieter side road first to build confidence. This also saves you from a grooming nightmare by avoiding areas that contain brambles, burs, and mud.
5. Reward and praise
Finally, say “Good boy/girl/dog!” a lot. The more positive reinforcement you give your pup, the faster their tail will wag, and the happier they’ll be to join you for outdoor walk time together.
How Many Times Per Day Should I Walk My Dog?
The answer is…it depends.
Dogs of different ages and breeds will have vastly different exercise requirements. Whereas a pug only wants 40 minutes of exercise every day, a German Shepherd will need two hours, at least!
However, generally speaking, you don’t want to overdo it with a puppy. Too much physical activity can lead to accidental injuries. For every month old your puppy is, multiple by five minutes. That’s how long they can walk for on a leash.
So, for example: a 5-month-old puppy X 5 minutes = a 25-minute walk.
Can Adult Dogs Walk for Longer?
Yes! A full-grown dog whose bones are developed will be ready to join you on a bigger adventure. Again, it’s important to research your dog’s breed. Some breeds (like Huskies) are better suited to running beside their owner on a cold and snowy winter day. Others (like bulldogs) face breathing issues if the weather is too hot.
The takeaway? Know your dog. His characteristics will determine the duration and frequency of walks.
What About My Senior Dog?
And don’t forget; senior dogs have their own special considerations. Be gentle with an older pooch who has arthritis, osteoporosis, blindness, or any other ailment that comes along with entering the golden years.
Help! Should I Use a Collar, Leash, Harness, or Head Halter?
Browsing the shelves at the pet store and trying to decide which product is best can be a challenge. There are so many options. If you are a new pet owner feeling out of your depth, relax…
All dogs must wear a collar on walks. This is for safety. A good collar will have the owner’s name and contact information on a tag. It also shouldn’t be too loose or too tight.
Your dog will likely need a leash. That’s step one. An excellent leash will be 6-feet long. Steer clear of retractable ones. These are weak and vulnerable to breaking. You want your dog to stick close by and learn to walk at your side, and above all, not dragging you into a big wet puddle!
Do you have a pooch that pulls? A harness may be the solution. A chest harness will fit comfortably around your dog’s legs and provide you with maximum control during a walk.
A head halter fits snuggly on top of a dog’s muzzle. Rather than relying on the leash to direct your pup’s neck or chest, it targets the head. When used correctly, head halters stop pulling and teach a dog how to walk nicely in a positive way.
Feeling Ready to Go for a Walk?
That’s it, fur friends!
Now, you should be all ready to enjoy a lovely walk with your dog. Use this article as a guide. And remember, Groomit offers mobile grooming appointments to keep your pup looking fabulous – before and after walkies!