Taking your dog for a walk is like taking them on a mini adventure. Every. Single. Time. If your dog is of the excitable variety (which, let’s face it, most are) they’ll be keen to sniff, lick and wee on everything they find.
But there are a few important things that every dog owner should be keeping an eye out for on their daily walks with their best friend. Here’s how to make sure you and your dog have a safe and exciting walk every time you step out of the front door.
When walking in public places and having a good old frolick in the park, ensure you look out for signs noting council regulations. Never let your dog off their lead unless the area is signed as an off-leash dog park. Many botanical gardens also prohibit pets from entering, and it’s important to respect these rules. Furthermore, keep an eye out for temporary signs that inform of recent pest or weed spraying that could be harmful to your dog.
Footpaths are there for pedestrians and their furry friends. It’s safest to take a route where your dog can walk on the footpath rather than the road. Make sure you’re always watching the traffic, other pedestrians and cyclists. Keep your dog on a short lead so that they don’t wander into the gutter or intrude on other pedestrians space (a jogger doesn’t want to get tangled in your excitable pup’s lead!). If you want your canine buddy to be able to roam and run at the park, buy a retractable lead so that you can control the distance they wander, depending on your environment.
Every dog owner knows that it’s impossible to tell how a dog you don’t know will behave. A dog that doesn’t have a muzzle may still pose a danger to your pet, and it’s always wise to err on the side of cautious. Keep your pup on a short lead when passing other dogs and always ask another owner if your dog can approach theirs for friendly butt sniffs. It’s worth investing time in ensuring that your dog regularly socialises with other dogs (friend’s dogs are great because you know their behavioural habits already). This ensures that when you take them for walks, they’re less likely to get angry, intimidated or overly excitable around other canine buddies and reduces the risk of them dragging you over or starting fights.
It is universally known that kids want to pat puppies. And some kids are FAST! Blink, and you could have ten sticky hands pawing at your overwhelmed pooch, trying to smother him or her with love. While intentions are usually good, this can be stressful for your dog, especially if they have issues with socialising. Furthermore, an excitable pooch can accidentally harm tiny children in their eagerness to play. If your dog is known to freak out if touched by strangers, think about getting them a walking coat that also acts as a warning. “Please ask before patting” is a kind requirement and will immediately alert parents to reign in their children. Training your dog to follow commands will help them behave when little children pass and ask for a pat, too.