We see dog walking drama on the streets. A Cocker Spaniel dashes to every light pole or parking meter to “get his news.” A German Shepherd races down the sidewalk as his owner tugs his leash. Nearby an aging arthritic Basset Hound sniffs noses with every dog he meets.
Walking your dog should be relaxing and fun for both of you. The right leash is crucial, according to Kristen Collins of the American Society for the Protection Against Cruelty to Animals.
What’s the best type of leash?
Choose what is most comfortable for you to hold, Collins recommends.
Retractable leashes provide more freedom for your dog. These should be used in the park or open spaces that your dog can explore a bit. They are not recommended and can become entangled in high traffic areas there you are continually meeting owners and their pets.
Many dog owners choose leather leashes because they provide a firm grip and are smooth to the touch. Today’s leather leashes are available in a variety of colors and designs.
The No. 1 reason for a good walk spoiled is your dog’s steady tugging on the leash. Many dogs make a wild dash after birds, rabbits and other wildlife. Pulling on the leash is natural. Dogs are excited by sights, sounds and smells they are not typically around. Some dog owners use head halters or no-pull harnesses for more control over their pets.
Walking your dog is a great way to provide socialization. He is meeting other dogs as well as other people. Do restrain your dog’s enthusiasm and desire to jump up on the owner or the other dog. Ideally you dog will learn how to sit upon command and continue sitting while interacting with another dog.
If it’s going to be a warm day and you’re going on a long walk, make sure you bring water for your dog.
Dog parks are very popular and great socializing for your pet. Most parks have separate areas for large dogs and small dogs. It’s usually a good idea to keep small dogs separated from large ones as many small dogs are intimidated. Most dogs like to romp together. But don’t worry if your dog tends to be a loner. Many dogs enjoy smelling the scents most of all.
Things to consider before you go:
Your dog will be exposed to lots of other dogs. Make sure he is properly vaccinated for rabies, distemper, bordetella, has had a negative fecal test in the last 6 months and is treated for fleas and ticks.
When you think of a dog park you probably imagine dogs of all shapes and sizes blissfully frolicking together on a sunny summer day- but as you soon may learn, this vision may be more fantasy than reality. Just as humans are not always comfortable when thrown into certain situations, not all dogs are dog-park friendly. Before taking your furry friend to a dog park, visit the park beforehand and observe area and visitors, both human and animal. You may often find some dogs arrive around the same time each week.
- Are there too many dogs crammed within the same area?
- When a new dog is present do the others surround him?
- Do you notice any form of bullying among the dogs?
- Are the humans preoccupied with other matters and not watching their dogs?
- Is there tolerance from the humans to other’s dogs?
- Is there a toy present, such as a Frisbee or ball, that may arouse conflict?
- Is there a high number of intact males?
- Is there a separate area designated only for smaller dogs?
- Are the parks fencing and gates secure and/or double gated?
It is essential that dogs have exercise and playtime, but only if the environment is healthy and safe. If the behavior is getting too rough, or you sense your dog is not having fun or relaxed, you must vow to leave that kind of environment.
Remember, playtime at home is just as important.
Your dog’s thinks of you as his best friend and desires YOUR attention and love the most!