Walking a dog does not just mean taking them down the street and letting them do their business. There is much more to it than that. The walk should be a relaxing time for your animal, by always doing what is best for your dog.
This article will explain 5 things you do wrong when you walk your dog, so that you can try to avoid them and change your walking habits for the better.
1. Not allowing your dog to sniff
It is normal to suffer a slight feeling of rejection when you see your dog sniffing dog-walking areas and dirt on the floor, it is normal. Of course, you must understand that this is part of a dog’s nature. When this behavior is carried out, two very important things happen:
- Relaxation: For stressed dogs or for those who are very restless, sniffing freely is very beneficial. It allows them to relax and to channel their nervousness.
- Surroundings: Urine informs your dog about who lives in the same area and whether they are males, females or puppies. All of this will help your dog to orient itself in its surroundings and better understand where it lives and who passes through their area.
If your dog is properly vaccinated there is no need to worry as it will not contract any infection. Indeed, you can choose to stroll through more wooded areas to avoid excessive dirt from the urban environment.
Why doesn’t my dog sniff around?
If your dog shows no interest in smelling other urine, flowers or street corners, it could be suffering from stress. Does your dog look nervous or in distress to you? Teach it how to sniff using food:
- Go to a wooded area, or relatively clean location, not in the middle of a city.
- Search for rough terrain.
- Spread its food out, covering one square meter.
- Wait for your dog to find the food by using its nose.
2. Pulling the lead when your dog pulls on it
To be honest with you, you won’t achieve anything by tugging on the lead. We are tired of seeing bad advice circulating on the Internet. Believe it or not, jerking the collar creates stress and health complications such as intraocular pressure or throat problems. Stop doing this immediately.
What should I do if my dog pulls on the lead?
First of all buy a non-pull harness just like you see in the image. Next, change your walking routine by following tips to prevent your dog from pulling on the leash.
3. Yelling at them or hitting them when they confront another dog
Of course, this attitude is totally unacceptable: you should never beat a dog. If you see your dog barking or trying to attack other dogs you must seek professional advice promptly, or at least become informed about the guidelines that should be followed, always using positive reinforcement.
Just as you would a child, try to make your dog feel good and help it overcome problems or fears in an appropriate manner. If necessary, go and see an ethologist. Using aggressive techniques will only make your dog worse over time and its relationship with other dogs will not improve.
The best way of educating a dog is to teach them how to behave. If you are nervous, tense and aggressive during the walk, the animal itself will pick up on it and and follow suit. It is better to give your dog a quiet and relaxed walk whilst avoiding situations which may trigger a negative reaction.
4. Not allowing interaction
Excluding dogs who have aggressive behavioral problems, it is very important to let your dog interact with other dogs. It is essential that animals are able to interact with each other besides us.
You can go to an off-lead area or simply find a dog in your area who will walk with you. Sometimes, conflicts will arise but that is not always a bad thing, it is very important to ensure that your dog remains social and affectionate.
5. Walking your dog too little or too much
You must understand that each dog is unique and has specific walking needs: The most nervous dogs will require more time, elderly dogs will need a peaceful walk and those with labored breathing will need less exposure to intense heat (such as in the case of pugs).
You must specifically analyse the needs of your dog and exercise it if need be using a variety of physical activities, always suited to it and its pace.
Usually, the dog walk should last between 20 and 30 minutes and should be repeated two or three times a day. Strive to provide a suitable walk for your dog and you will see an improvement in its behavior, attitude and happiness.