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The walk is, without a doubt, one of the most important moments of the day for our dog. Not only does it allow you to relieve yourself, it also helps you to continue socializing, lower stress levels or to exercise if possible. However, many owners overlook essential details for their dog to have an enriching and complete walk, turning this routine into a non-motivating habit for their peers.
In this AnimalWised article we will give you some basic handling tips so you know how to walk your dog correctly, as well as some tips that you can apply to offer an extra stimulation to your dog's day-to-day.You may also be interested in: How to socialize a puppy correctly?
1. The right equipment, according to the dog
The tools you use to walk your dog will determine the quality of the ride, so it is essential to choose correctly. Here we review the most popular fasteners:
- Necklace: indicated for dogs that know how to walk correctly and without jerking.
- Anti-leak collar: recommended for fearful dogs that walk without pulling on the leash. The drowning system prevents them from being released from their restraint in the face of a stimulus that causes fear, and they may suffer an accident, for example.
- Hanging collar: it is totally discouraged, especially in dogs that pull on the leash, as it can suffocate the dog and cause serious injuries, apart from stress, fear and anxiety.
- Spike necklace, of semi-hanging or punishment: like the previous one, it is totally discouraged, especially in dogs that pull on the leash, as it can cause serious damage to the neck and generates stress, fear and anxiety.
- Harness: recommended for dogs that pull a little on the leash, sporty dogs or those who seek more comfort in holding the dog. It is also useful for those who have a fearful dog trying to get rid of restraints.
- Anti-pull harness: especially suitable for dogs that pull a lot on the leash, since it avoids the health problems that a collar can cause.
We recommend always using a long strap, also called training belt, which we can adjust according to the occasion. It will serve us both in an urban environment and for our excursions to the countryside (if we do not leave our dog untied). Likewise, avoid using the extendable leashes, since we lose control over the dog..
Remember that whatever accessory you choose, it must be comfortableor for your dog, wearing it snug but loosely. Ah, ¡and do not forget the bags to collect the excrement!
2. The handling
Many people have handling problems, especially if the dog is pulling on the leash, does not want to walk, or has not learned to walk. It is then when they apply techniques indiscriminately, creating confusion in their companion and turning the walk into a tense moment for the animal..
Try walk in a relaxed way, guiding him gently and stopping whenever the animal stops urinating. Avoid running, yelling or trying to get the dog to be aware of you, as well as tugging on the leash to get to a place or prevent him from pulling you. Acting calmly teaches your dog to walk in a relaxed way too.
Avoid wearing the leash too long or excessively tight, since in the first case we will not have any control over the dog and in the second we will be stressing it. Whenever possible, try to wear the strap a little loose, to allow you some freedom of movement.
At this point it is important to highlight some false myths such as, "Do not allow the dog to go in front of you, because that means that it is dominating you" or "If your dog pulls you, you must also pull the strap". These statements are not based on scientific studies and do not give good results, on the contrary, they cause stress in the dog, who just wants to enjoy his walk. Let us also remember that the dog does not want to dominate us (dominance exists, but it is intraspecific, that is, between members of the same species).
If your dog is not walking properly, it may be because he suffers from a behavior problem, a lack of learning or is suffering from high levels of stress (stress can also be positive, for example when the dog is very excited to go out to the Street). In these cases, it will be essential to review the five freedoms of animal welfare.
3. The ride time
This point is very important and varies greatly according to the race, age or needs of each individual. In general, we could indicate that a dog needs to walk between 40 minutes and two hours, divided between two and three walks a day. Here we explain how they should be:
- morning: The first walk of the day should be the longest, most complete and stimulating, lasting between 15 and 40 minutes.
- Midday: This walk will help us calm our dog and is mainly focused on relieving himself. It can last between 10 and 20 minutes.
- NightAlthough it is usually the walk we spend the most time on, the truth is that the chaos and nervousness of this time of day do not help the dog to relax. Ideally, spend a maximum of 15 to 30 minutes on this tour.
Remember that Molossian dog breeds, such as the Boxer, Pug or Dogue de Bordeaux should not be exposed to long walks or intense physical exercise, since the structure of their muzzle does not allow them to breathe as well as other breeds. Likewise, we will not extend the walk to dogs with health problems or elderly dogs. Finally remember that it will be basic avoid high temperatures, because they can lead our dog to heat stroke.
4. The welfare of the dog
Once on the street, our goal will be to ensure the well-being of the dog, trying to make the most of the walk. Enriching this moment of the day will be very useful to improve the bond with us, help eliminate stress and will also help us avoid the appearance of behavior problems.
Some tips to promote well-being during the walk are:
- Let him sniff plants, urine and any trace, as it is a great way to relax and also helps you to know the environment in which you live.
- Take him to new places or modify your walk route so that the diversity of stimuli entertains you and makes the walk more enriching.
- Let him lick some rust. Although it is annoying or unpleasant to you, it is part of the natural behavior of dogs. In addition, if it is correctly vaccinated, you do not have to suffer, since it will not be infected. Although this behavior is more common in males than in females, carrying it out allows them to better identify the dogs in the area.
- Reward the behaviors that you like, either with treats or kind words.
- Bring water for both if you are going to take a long walk, dehydration can also lead to heatstroke, don't forget it.
- Learn to enjoy the ride with your dog, without nervousness, punishment, yelling or discomfort. Also do not pay attention to the clock or walk in a hurry, that translates into a bad walk.
Apart from all the aforementioned, it will be important to learn about the language of dogs and the signs of calm, in this way we will know which situations seem positive and which ones worry you and we should avoid.
5. Socialize, whenever possible
If your dog has been properly socialized in its puppy stage, it will probably not have any problems in relationships with other dogs, however, if we prevent our adult dog from continuing to interact, fears or conflicts may begin to arise. It is important allow dogs to socialize each other, regardless of size, age or impression they may make on us.
Of course, we must allow our dog to get close to other dogs if he wishes., we will never force an interaction, since this can generate discomfort in the dog and, therefore, a bad reaction.
6. Off-leash moment and games
Allow our dog to enjoy at least, 5 to 10 minutes without the strap it is very positive to improve the quality of the ride. In fact, many ethologists recommend this practice in each of the dog walks. If you are afraid to let it go in an open place, you can always look for a pee-dog or fenced area. This also allows them to show their natural behavior, essential to achieve the well-being of the dog..
At this time we can take the opportunity to practice sniffing exercises, as is the sowing, since they relax and mentally tire them. We can also practice a game with him (ball, fresbee, etc.). Of course, avoid forcing them to run if they do not want to, that causes them stress.
7. Street training
If you are practicing basic obedience (sit, come, stay, etc.) or canine skills with your dog, it will be highly advisable practice inside and outside the home, In this way, your dog will get used to responding correctly in the different situations in which he finds himself, without being influenced by new smells and environments.
However, remember that we must practice obedience once the dog finish relieving yourself. If not, your dog will be easily distracted and more nervous, trying to please you and relieve yourself at the same time..
Do not forget that a training session should last between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the dog, so as not to overwhelm him and ensure that he is not distracted. Reward him with a treat or kind word whenever he does it right, so that he connects the walk and the obedience in a positive way.