Getting out in the fresh air is not only beneficial to our dogs but also great for us humans too! Here are my top five tips to help make your walks as fun, safe, and constructive as possible!
1) Ensure you are well equipped for your walk before setting off!
As a minimum, I would suggest you’ll need a suitable lead or harness, dog poo bags and your all-important positive reinforcers. This can be a special toy your dog loves or some tasty treats, or both! Barking Heads Meaty Treats are always a winner with my gang! Depending on the weather, you might also want to consider items such as water and a bowl, rain jacket or cool jacket.
2) Think about where you are walking. What will the environment and your surroundings be like?
If you are walking near wildlife or livestock, for example, you may need tools such as a long line to ensure you are able to keep full control of your dog. If you will be encountering new experiences with your dog, perhaps it’s their first trip to the seaside or first encounter walking in a busy town, you may also need to use your tasty Barking Heads treats to slowly introduce your dog to these environments and help them to find these new experiences positive.
3) Make sure you have taken your dog's life-stage and physical capabilities into consideration when planning your walk.
There are three key life-stages to consider – puppies, the adult dog in its prime, and our beloved OAPs. You also need to consider the medical needs and capabilities of your dog. Be sensible and go at your dog’s pace. Make your walks suitable for their life stage and physical capabilities. We want to exercise our dogs effectively but not place undue pressure or stress on them. Ensuring you are feeding a nutritionally complete diet can also help your dog to stay fit and strong, ready for their daily exercise. Barking Heads have a wide range of yummy food to suit all ages and types of dog!
4) Structure your walks and make them fun for the both of you!
Think of your walks like a gym work out! You’ll need to incorporate a warm up, a more physical main activity, and a cool down. For your average dog you could start with a gentle stroll, building up to a brisk walk. You may then choose to move on to playing a game together such as ‘fetch’, before your dog is then allowed some free time to ‘mooch’ and socialise off lead to cool down. Think about your dog’s energy levels, physical capabilities and breed characteristics and structure your walks so that you can make the most of your time together!
5) Consider using your walks as an opportunity to train your dog and build your bond.
Incorporating training and socialisation activities into your walk can help you to increase your bond with your dog and your understanding of each other. Remember to positively reward your dog using your Barking Heads treats for their good work! My top tip here is to say the command e.g. ‘sit’ as you guide the dog into the position using your tasty treat. You should then give your dog the treat within two seconds of them carrying out the action you have asked.