Some of you may already have a retractable leash and love them. Most dog trainers and professional dog walkers do not recommend retractable leashes for a number of reasons. This type of leash puts your dog in control instead of you. Your daily walk is meant to be enjoyable and stress-free, but your buddy also needs structure and training, which can be a challenge with retractable leashes. There is a greater tendency for getting tangled up in the cord or getting rope burns. “The most common are neck injuries, since a pet might start to run before the owner can lock the leash,” says Dr. Duffy Jones, a veterinarian from Georgia. “Many times, the dogs have a full head of steam before the owner locks the leash, so it creates a good deal of force on their collar when the leash finally locks.”
Need we say more? If using a leash is Rule No. 1, this is Rule No. 1B. Bring a minimum of two poop bags with you on every walk you take. Not only is leaving the mess rude, but it is also bad for the environment. According to theClean Water Campaign, just one gram of pet waste “contains an average of 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, some of which cause diseases in humans.” Just don’t be the neighborhood’s inconsiderate jerk. Scoop the poop!
If your dog is getting up there in age, it’s important to monitor your dog’s breathing – especially in the warmer months. Yes, your dog may be a bundle of energy, but the purpose of the walk is mutual enjoyment. If your pooch is panting more than normal or the breathing is irregular, stop for a rest. Find some shade and let your buddy cool off before continuing. Knowing how long your dog is capable of walking is important.
Carry a bottle of water and a collapsible water bowl with you if you are taking a longer walk – or if it is a hot day. (Chewy has a wide selection.) Dogs need to drink around one fluid ounce per one pound of their weight a day. Like humans, dogs get dehydrated when exercising. Do your buddy a favor and carry fresh water while you walk. d
Your walk is not only a great way for the two of you to exercise and bond, but it is also an excellent time to reinforce training. Your buddy should know the basic training commands (come, drop, leave it, heel and sit-stay). During your stroll, take the time to test your dog’s ability to obey these commands. After successfully following the command, give your pooch a small treat and continue the walk.
Sharing your life with a dog is rewarding. But it is also a responsibility. Daily walks will strengthen your bond -- and you will both benefit from the exercise!