It’s no secret that our four-legged friends love their dog walks! It’s the paw-fect opportunity to get out of the house and explore all the smells in the big wide world. However, for some, it can be a bit of a challenge, so we’ve pulled together our top tips to make walkies the best time of the day for you and your furry friend.
Dogs pulling on the lead whilst walking is a common problem faced by owners and dog walkers alike. Some of our furry friends just have that much energy that they want to go a bit faster, which is great if you’re up for a run but can make walkies that bit more difficult.
Want to enjoy a relaxing stroll? Then why not invest in a harness which will help to distribute the pressure of a lead and pulling, whilst helping you maintain control.
Another way to help promote lead training is to show your dog that they should be by your side, as opposed to out in front. Start by doing this without a lead with short movements around the garden or house, try using their name and carrying a treat to encourage them to stay by your side. Why not use our Naturally Meaty Treats to reward your dog when they stay next to you to reinforce their good behaviour?
Once they’ve mastered that, it’s time to use a lead. The aim of the game is to walk with a nice loose lead, and if they start to pull and the lead becomes tight, then you simply stop and stand still. Your dog will eventually learn that to get moving they have to walk nicely and stop from pulling on the lead. Over time, your dog will need fewer treats and will be able to walk by your side for a pull-free walk.
Are you a keen runner? When you’re happy to burn off some extra energy too, then try taking your dog for a run, starting at a leisurely pace. Our dogs need to build up their muscles, just as we humans do, so try shorter distances before building up to a lengthy run. Check with your vet if you want to run with your four-legged friend and they’re younger than 18 months old as their joints and muscles are still growing. The vet will be able to advise you if they’re ready to start running.
If your four-legged friend is anxious about venturing outside, it can make walkies less relaxing for you both.
Common signs of anxiety in dogs are:
• Fouling inside the home when they are trained to go outside
• Excessive barking, whining or howling
• Shaking or shivering
The first thing to do if you believe your dog is nervous about going for their walks is to identify what you think the cause is. Could it be meeting other dogs? Maybe they’re nervous about walking on a lead? Are they scared of people or loud noises? Take the time to work out what is causing your dog to be nervous, so you can put into practise our tips below.
Keep your walks short, both in distance and time, at first. That way your dog can get used to being out and about. Routine is also so important for anxious dogs. Try and be consistent in your route and walkies times so your dog will get used to their surroundings and their routine.
If your pup is not too keen on other dogs or people, try to avoid busy areas. It may also be worth taking your dog out earlier or later on, so there is less chance of running into other dog walkers and their furry friends. If you can’t avoid them, try crossing the road when you spot someone else, which will signal to them that your dog isn’t keen on socialising. Plus, take some treats along for the ride as they can be a great distraction and help to keep your dog calm, whilst rewarding them for being good.
Make sure your dog has a sturdy lead, collar and harness so if they’re spooked whilst out, they are safe and remain by your side. Also, make sure their tag details are up to date, should they get separated from you.
To help let other dog owners know that your dog may be anxious or wary of other dogs, you can get collars that highlight that your dog prefers their own space. Or even a yellow ‘I need space’ dog coat. You can find a wide range here.
If you have a nervous dog read our blog about life with a yellow dog for further tips.
Each and every dog is different and that’s what makes them special. So, for this reason, there is no perfect formula.
For adult dogs, it is recommended that they receive a minimum of 30 minutes a day of walkies. However, this will vary based on the size and age of your dog. You may want to split this into one or two walks. If your dog has energy to burn, then why not take a ball and play a game of fetch. That way they will be able to burn off a bit more energy.
Dogs should have a least one walk a day. However, if your dog is energetic and has strong joints and no health issues, they may benefit from more.
Puppies need shorter walks to start with. Check with your vet as they will be able to give you the best information on how to build up their walkies to avoid too much stress on their growing joints. As a general rule, softer ground has less impact on your dog’s joints. Plus a play around the local park is always high on your furry friend’s agenda!
We’ve all heard the age-old rumour about not swimming directly after eating. Well, similar rules apply to our dogs and walking. It is best to wait 30-60 minutes after a walk to give them their bowlful of Butcher’s. Wait at least an hour after feeding them before venturing outdoors. Dogs who exercise or bound about before or after eating can develop bloating. When they suffer from other digestion issues, strenuous exercise after eating can cause more problems, so it is best to wait for them to fully digest their food first.
Some of our furry friends suffer from sensitive stomachs at the best of times. If your dog does, then why not try our Simply Gentle range, designed for our four-legged friends who need extra digestive support. They’re made with easy-to-digest wholegrain rice, which is a great source of fibre with slow-releasing energy. Plus, Chicory which contains a prebiotic for a healthy immune system.
One thing to remember is that if you’re planning on taking your dog for a long walk and they’ve not eaten, they may not have the energy or fuel for a long walk. If your dog is hungry, then now is the perfect time to practise your recall, their tummies will be excited at the thought of one of our Naturally Meaty Treats. Make sure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh water at home and take some on your walks to keep them hydrated and full of energy.
We’d love to know if you try any of our top tips to make walkies your favourite time of day, for both you and your dog. And if you have any more tips, then make sure to share them with us on social media.
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