How to Make Sure Your Dog Is Getting Proper Walks

List: Posted: 12/10/10

Going for walks can be one of the best parts of the day for both you and your dog.  These jaunts offer you the chance to spend quality time together and offer you both the opportunity for exercise.  The key, of course, is in making sure that you are offering your dog exactly what he or she needs in terms of walks.

One thing that every pet owner should keep in mind is that a dog needs to be walked every day.  No excuses.  Even if you have a large backyard, your pet sees this scenery frequently and it no longer offers interest or challenges to him or her.  Going for a walk offers stress release and satisfies your dog’s need to travel, socialize and explore.  Your dog should ideally receive at least thirty minutes of walking time every day, regardless of whether it is raining. Dogs who are infrequently walked suffer boredom and stress, and behavioral disorders such as obsession, chewing, neediness, separation anxiety and depression can become chronic if your dog has nothing else in its life apart from you and your home. Just like you, it needs to get out and blow off some steam every once in a while!  

When training your dog to walk, it is ideal to purchase a training leash that gives the dog only a few feet of freedom.  This will make it easy to control the walk and will teach the dog to walk at your side.  Use commands such as sit and stay even when they are not needed for safety reasons so that your pup can get used to following commands.  If he or she tries to wander, give a small, smart tug before letting the leash go slack.  This will signal to the dog that they need to pay attention and obey your commands.  Be firm, but don''t be harsh and you will find that training is much easier.

It is also important that you establish yourself as the pack leader when walking your pet.  You should be the first to leave the door before any walk, and your dog should heel, sit, and stay on command.  You should be able to ensure that your pet will not pull to the side or wander off of the path, and this means taking the time to train him or her properly.

Signs that your dog is not being walked enough can include anxiety, pacing, dominance, destruction of your property, under or over-eating, and an obsessive personality.  By establishing yourself as the leader of the pack and ensuring that your dog is being walked often enough, you can keep your dog happy and both mentally and physically healthy.

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