Walking your dog is a fantastic way to ensure they get their necessary daily exercise, while also offering a chance for the two of you to explore your surroundings and bond with your pet. Unfortunately, for some dog-owners, these cherished walks can turn into hassle-filled outings that leave both the dog and the owner more stressed out than when they began. If you’ve been struggling with walking your dog in the past, or are just simply interested in finding new ways to improve the quality of your dog-walking experience, read on!
Find the right leash
Choosing the right leash for walking your dog seems like an easy enough choice, but the truth is there are several factors to consider when selecting the right leash for your pet. Here are a few factors that you should take into consideration when shopping for a new leash:
- When walking your dog, do you tend to take them for strolls around the neighbourhood, or through more remote hiking trails?
- What is the likelihood that you and your pup encounter other people out for walks either alone, or with pets of their own?
- Does the route you walk your dog on, pass by any busy roads or intersections? More importantly, does your dog know how to act responsibly around motor-vehicles?
So what’s the right leash for you? We find that extendable leashes are a good choice for walks through nature, as they allow your pet to freely roam and explore while on the leash. Do keep in mind that the locking mechanism on extendable leashes can be tricky, so it always pays to be proactive when encountering other critters on your walk. For walks in more residential areas, we suggest using either a leather or nylon leash. These fixed-length leashes ensure that if your pet is prone to bolting or quickly becomes aggressive with other animals, you’ll be able to quickly reel them back and help calm down the situation. At the end of the day, it’s not uncommon for owners to have more than one leash for their pet, so we trust that you’ll make the right decision for your pet.
Expect the best
When preparing to go for a walk with your pet, make sure that you’re thinking positive thoughts and envisioning a stress-free walk before you even step out the door. Mentally preparing yourself for the worst possible outcomes every time you go for a walk with your dog, tends to translate over to your body language and other subtle physical cues that dogs are naturally keen to notice. If they sense that you’re stressed while walking them, this may put them in an overly-defensive state, causing them to lash out at anything they perceive to be a threat to your well-being. Keeping your attitude positive when taking your dog out for a walk helps to ensure that your dog is as relaxed as you are, and will approach potentially stressful situations with less aggression.
If your dog does encounter another pet or person and reacts aggressively towards them, it’s important to react to the situation calmly. While most people’s initial reaction may be to shout at the dog, yell, or generally cause some commotion, doing so may only exasperate the problem and escalate your dog’s overly-anxious behaviour. As we just mentioned, dogs are attuned to our emotional states, so if you want your pet to calm down quickly, it’s important that you’re doing the same.
Make some friends
Often times, the root cause of most anxiety issues with your pet is that they are reacting to an unfamiliar situation in a way that makes the most sense to them. Therefore, it’s a wise idea to take the time to properly socialize your pup, preferably from a younger age, when they have fewer established aversions to other animals. Doing so allows them to get acquainted with other animals and learn how to calmly handle stressful situations.
Do you have any other suggestions for ensuring a stress-free walk with your dog? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments below! Also, we’re always on the look-out for great photos from your latest outing with your pet, so be sure to share them with us on Instagram, using the hashtag #FirstMate. We look forward to seeing your adventures!