Today marks the beginning of National Walk Your Dog Week! And here at Saltsox, we know a lot about dog walking, in fact it’s something we are quite passionate about. So why walk your dog? Where do you take them? Do you go too often? Not often enough? Who do you walk with? Besides being a great source of exercise, there are many other perks to taking a walk with your dog.
“Walk like a dog; they will lead you in the right direction.” Pawsh Magazine
This quote is funny to me because I know that whenever I walk a dog I think to myself, who is walking who here?? I’m sure lots of people think that way. Well no matter who is leading who, just make sure you are both having fun and on the path that leads to happiness. Walk time is also the ideal time to bond with each other. Your dog is getting out of the house doing one of his favorite things and you get to hang out with your best friend at the same time. It’s a lovely thing! Plus one of the simplest things we need right now during these abnormal times is routine. Humans and dogs alike can benefit from a routine and if that routine is a walk, the more the merrier! It’s good for you and your dog. Exercise as part of a routine is great for the both of you and has a plethora of benefits. Spoiled Hounds explains that walking is excellent for your dog’s health mentally and physically, helps control their weight and promotes healthy joints. All good reasons to hit those paws to the pavement!
“Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?” Robert Brault
It really does make you wonder, doesn’t it? If you didn’t have a care in the world and no where to be, where on Earth would your dog take you? Might be worth trying one time. If anything, walks build a dog’s confidence and helps build their focus. While pulling the leash back is a natural thing to do especially when you are working on behavioral training, don’t forget to let your dogs be social, safely of course. It builds their character and confidence and adds to their contentment. Rufus and Delilah explains that a dog’s mood can most definitely be boosted by taking a walk. What a powerful thing that doesn’t cost you a dime.
“Long walks are just better with a dog by your side.” I Love Dogs
No doubt about it. And something tells me that they don’t mind having you there either. Whether a walk is short or long, make sure that it is the right amount of exercise for you and your dog. You definitely don’t want to stress them out over too many walks or make them overly tired by going too far. A walk should be a fun and happy time and should not cause stress. If anything, walks should decrease stress for the both of you. Remember that too much of a good thing could turn bad so walk in the middle of the road when it comes to walk frequency and length.
So we know that walks should be fun, but where should we take them? The obvious walking route is your neighborhood but you should try to change it up once in a while. Spoiled Hounds suggests trying dog-friendly city and county parks and trails or even other neighborhoods! Keep your walks exciting and interesting; you and your pup will enjoy experiencing different sights and smells. Further, mix up your walking crowd! Change it up and add in a walking buddy once in a while. You can even try searching the Internet for your city or town name and then the words “Dog Walk Club”. For example, since Saltsox is based in Chicago I thought I’d search too to see who I could find. To my delight I found a group with a very clever name, the Chicago SociaBulls, a dog walking group that meets for weekly pack walks in parks across the city. (You can find them on Instagram!) And then I thought who better to ask for dog walking tips than a dog walking group!?! Here’s some tips from the experts:
Safety First: Check your equipment (leash, harness, collar, etc) for any damage, and whenever possible, have two points of attachment in case one breaks or your dog wriggles out of one. Also make sure your dog is microchipped and that their microchip information is up to date.
Carpe Diem: Use walks as training opportunities and make sure to bring treats for positive reinforcement (high value if you’re in a distractible area). You can practice tons of skills on walks beyond just heel or loose-leash walking.
Find Friends: A structured pack walk is a great opportunity for all dogs to practice walking skills. Leave at least 6 feet between dogs and order dogs in the pack strategically, so that more reactive dogs are spaced out (and therefore less likely to set each other off). Perfect for this day and age!
Ask for Help: Dogs are individuals, and what works for one dog might not work for the next! Always seek the advice of a licensed trainer if you need help managing your dog’s behavior. We recommend looking for positive reinforcement trainers.
Dress for Success: In cold weather, that might mean a sweater, puffy jacket and booties. In warm weather, you might consider a cooling bandana or jacket, and it’s always important to bring water for your pup.
Saltsox takes pride in offering paw protections from dirty and possibly dangerous walking environments as well as protection from salty and freezing cold sidewalks. Fall is here but Winter is right around the corner so remember your pet’s paw protection during all the seasons. Saltsox and Lavasox are sure to make your pup’s walk that much more enjoyable.
While National Walk Your Dog Week is celebrated only the first seven days of the month, as dog parents we know that almost everyday is a pawfect day to take a stroll with our four-legged friends. Get active, reduce your stress and make a few new friends along the way. Happy Walking! -Team Saltsox