Master the Art of Dog Walking: Essential Tips for Dog Owners | Dr.Shiba
Taking your dog for a walk is undoubtedly one of the most delightful activities you and your furry best friend can share. Not only does it offer your beloved pooch an opportunity to explore the great outdoors and bond with you, but it also provides both of you with much-needed exercise and mental stimulation to melt away the stress of a busy week.
To ensure that you and your dog make the most out of every walk, we've compiled some helpful tips that will elevate your dog-walking experience to new heights. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with your canine companion!
GRWD (Get Ready With Your Dog)
1. Prepare the Essentials
Just like humans, dogs need their walk essentials, too. Before heading out, prepare a "walk kit" containing everything your pup might need, like a collar or harness, leash, healthy treats, poop bags, and outdoor toys. Don't forget to plan appropriate walking outfits for you and your little buddy, too!
2. Choose the Right Collar, Harness, and Leash
Make sure your dog is comfortable with their collar and leash, and choose a leash length that's easy to handle. For example, if you have a small dog that likes to explore, a retractable leash might work best. On the other hand, if you have a strong, large dog, a sturdy, fixed-length leash will give you more control. A harness can also be a great option, especially for dogs that tend to pull, as it distributes the pressure evenly across their chest and back.
3. Reward Good Behavior
Treat your furry family member to healthy, yummy snacks when they display good behavior, and bring out those chewy toys during breaks for some extra fun. This not only keeps them engaged but also reinforces positive behavior. For instance, if your dog walks calmly by your side or sits patiently while you chat with a neighbor, give them a treat and praise them for being a good boy or girl.
Finding Dog-Friendly Places Near You
1. Research Dog-Friendly Locations
Familiarize yourself with dog-friendly places in Metro Manila and in other locations in the Philippines, like dog-friendly trails, parks, and shopping centers. Always check the specific requirements of the park before bringing your dog. Some parks may require vaccination records or a pet ID, so it's essential to be prepared.
2. Create a Dog-Walking Bucket List
Make a list of dog-friendly places you'd like to visit with your furry friend. This can include local parks, beaches, and even dog-friendly cafes or restaurants. Having a variety of options ensures that you and your dog will always have a new adventure to look forward to.
Poop Bags are a Must
1. Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Allow your pup toilet breaks during walks and be a responsible owner by picking up after them. Carry a poop bag holder and dispose of the filled bags in public garbage cans, or bring them home for proper disposal.
2. Get to Know the Local Regulations
Familiarize yourself with local regulations and etiquette when it comes to picking up after your dog. Some cities may have strict rules, while others might be more lenient. Nonetheless, cleaning up after your dog is not only considerate but also helps keep public spaces clean and enjoyable for everyone.
1. Establish Yourself as the Pack Leader
Establish yourself as the pack leader by walking in front of your dog, keeping them close to you with a short leash, and training them to stop and sit at intersections in busy areas. This will make your walks safe and enjoyable.
2. Train Your Dog to Heel
Teaching your dog to walk calmly by your side without pulling on the leash is essential for enjoyable walks. Start by teaching the "heel" command in a quiet, familiar environment. With your dog on a leash, hold a treat in your hand and use it to guide them to your side. As they follow the treat, say the command "heel" and reward them once they are in the correct position.
Practice this regularly, gradually increasing the difficulty by adding distractions and walking in more challenging environments.
3. Adapt to Different Walking Scenarios
Be prepared to adjust your walking style depending on the situation. For instance, if you're walking in a crowded area, keep your dog close and use a short leash. In more open spaces, you can allow them more freedom to explore, as long as they remain under your control.
During rainy weather, make sure you and your dog are dressed appropriately for the wet weather, with waterproof gear and non-slip footwear. On hot summer days, consider walking during cooler times of the day, such as early mornings or evenings, and keep your doggo hydrated..
Handling Worst-Case Scenarios
1. Stay Alert and Observant
Remain vigilant for potential distractions and hazards while walking your dog. Stay close to safe, less crowded areas and monitor the weather to ensure an enjoyable stroll.
2. Prepare for Emergency Situations
In case of an emergency, like your dog getting injured or coming across an aggressive dog, remain calm and take control of the situation. Carry a small first-aid kit for minor injuries and be ready to contact a veterinarian if needed. If you encounter an aggressive dog, calmly and assertively guide your dog away from the situation while maintaining a safe distance.
3. Gear Up for Rainy Strolls
If you decide to venture out on a rainy day, make sure both you and your dog are well-prepared. Here are some tips to keep your walks enjoyable and safe:
- Dress for the weather: Wear a waterproof jacket and non-slip footwear to stay dry and comfortable. For your dog, consider a waterproof dog coat and booties to protect them from the rain and cold.
- Choose a short, sturdy leash: A shorter leash provides better control and helps prevent your dog from wandering into puddles or muddy areas.
- Opt for well-lit, paved routes: Avoid muddy trails and poorly lit areas. Instead, choose familiar, paved paths with proper lighting to minimize the risk of accidents.
- Towel-dry your dog: When you return home, make sure to dry your dog thoroughly with a towel, paying special attention to their paws, to prevent discomfort and potential health issues.
3. Prepare for the summer season
During the summer months, taking care of your dog requires special attention to ensure their well-being. Hydration is of utmost importance, as dogs can easily become dehydrated in the heat. Always provide fresh and cool water for them to drink, and consider adding ice cubes to their bowl to help keep it chilled. Avoid taking your dog for walks during the hottest parts of the day, opting for early mornings or late evenings when the temperature is cooler. Provide shaded areas in your yard or patio where your dog can rest and cool down. Never leave them in a parked car, as temperatures can rise rapidly, leading to heatstroke. If your dog enjoys water, you can set up a small kiddie pool or mist them with water to help them cool off. Lastly, be mindful of hot surfaces like asphalt, which can burn their paws.
Important Reminder: When the weather is particularly severe, such as during a typhoon, it's best to stay indoors for both your and your pet’s safety. You can still keep your dog engaged and active with these indoor exercises.
Fostering Social Skills in Your Dog
1. Socialise Your Dog
Train your dog to comfortably mingle with other people and pets to make interactions during walks more enjoyable. A well-socialized dog is less likely to exhibit fear, aggression, or anxiety when meeting new dogs or people.
2. Introduce Your Dog to New Experiences
Expose your dog to various environments, people, and other animals to help them become more comfortable and confident in different situations. Start slow and gradually increase the level of difficulty. Always reward positive interactions and be patient as your dog learns to navigate social situations.
Dog-Friendly Places in Singapore
1. Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park Dog Run
This is one of the most popular dog parks in Singapore. It is located in the heart of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and is easily accessible by public transport. The park has two fenced areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. There are also water bowls and benches available for pet owners.
2. Tiong Bahru Sit Wah Dog Run
Located in the heart of Tiong Bahru, Tiong Bahru Sit Wah Dog Run is a perfect spot for dogs to hang out, make new furry friends, and get their exercise on. It's got a water bowl and a couple of benches where you can chill while your pet has a blast.
3. Jurong Lake Gardens Dog Run
This dog run is situated on the west side of Singapore. It's one spacious park for our furry pals to go wild and have a blast! It's got a secure fenced area where dogs can run and play to their heart's content. Plus, you'll find a handy water bowl and a handful of comfy benches for us pet owners to take a breather while our furry friends have a ball.
4. West Coast Park Dog Run
This dog run is located in the west of Singapore. It is a large park with a fenced area for dogs to run and play. Do note that some dog parks may have restrictions on the size or breed of dogs that are allowed. It is always best to check with the park management before visiting.
5. Sembawang Park Dog Run
This sweet spot is nestled in Sembawang Park, so you know it's got some prime real estate! It's a dedicated area where our canine buddies can let loose, run around, and have the time of their lives.
Taking your dog for a walk is a fun and enjoyable thing to do. It helps you and your little fur ball of sunshine to become healthy—physically and mentally. It also gives you time to bond with your four-legged friend.
To make the most of your time together, it's important to put in the effort to ensure each walk is safe, engaging, and memorable. By being prepared and mindful, you can transform every walk into a cherished experience with your beloved pet. So go ahead, take that time off, and start planning the perfect adventure for you and your best friend!
Q. How many times and for how long do I need to walk my dog?
The number of walks your dog needs will depend on their breed, age, and energy levels. Generally, dogs should be walked at least once a day for 30 minutes to an hour.
Q. How can I stop my dog from pulling on the leash?
To stop your dog from leash pulling, use a no-pull harness, train them with the "heel" command, and reward good behavior with treats and praise.
Q. How can I walk multiple dogs at once?
Walking multiple dogs can be a challenge, but it's doable with some practice. Use leashes of equal length, assign one hand per dog, and consider using a coupler or multi-dog leash to make things easier.