Many believe that there’s nothing to walking a dog. After all, its easy, right? Just take the dog out, walk around a bit, and you’re done. However, in reality, it’s not quite that simple. According to vets and PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, there’s actually a bit more to it than that…
Rule 1: Plenty of Space and Time
While just over 44% of Americans own a dog, Newkirk says that most are walking their dog the wrong way. According to the president of the People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals says there are two main rules for dog-walking. First, do not treat the walk like a short bathroom break. Instead, think of it more the way people view a walk outside or a hike. Its a chance for your pup to inhale some fresh air, reconnect with nature, and take a well-deserved break!
“It’s their walk, you know?” said Newkirk. “That’s a very special occasion for a dog, to be outside and to smell and to look. They don’t want to be stuck in a room all day with their legs crossed, hoping to go outside. It’s more than a bathroom break, it’s an excursion.” So, make sure you give your furry friend plenty of time and space when you head outside – even if it’s just out to the backyard! But what about rule number two…
Rule 2: Harness, Not Collar
Do you use a collar instead of a harness? Well, according to Newkirk, even owners of small dogs should consider using a harness over a collar. “This is a human-dominated world. We have to look after [our pets]. I would go with a harness,” she said. Harnesses are less likely to break and are a far smaller choking hazard. Likewise, vets recommend going with a stronger, longer leash instead of one of the small, flimsy ones you so often see at the pet store checkout line.
A harness and tough leash will also let you feel more comfortable with your dog exploring, which Newkirk says is essential. “Let [your dog] sniff! That’s the way they read the news, that’s their internet. Don’t drag them along,” she said. However, don’t just sit idly by on your dog walks either. It’s not a time for Facebook – dogs want to bond with owners on their walks. Again, think of it like hiking with a family member or friend. “Get off your phone,” Newkirk finished. “People are so wrapped up in the things they want to do.”
Tips For Better Dog Walks
Want to take your dog on even better walks? Well, there are some simple tips that you can follow to not only make your walks more productive, but also prolong your dog’s life!
- A Healthy Diet – Of course, keeping your dog healthy overall will help the walks. If your dog feels great, it will enjoy longer walks and get more exercise. However, diet can play a massive part in a dog’s ability to enjoy a walk. If they need to go to the bathroom frequently on walks or do not seem to enjoy them because of stomach issues, it might be time to talk to your vet about a different diet.
- Have Activity Breaks – Does your dog go wild on walks? It’s likely because three walks a day are not enough. Try and find ways to engage with your pup at home, whether its obstacle courses, doggy playdates, or even communication training. As always, make sure to consult with your vet to best understand what kind of stimulation your furry friend needs.
By following these simple tips, it will become easier than ever to take your dog on fantastic walks that are meaningful for both of you!