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How to Properly Walk a Dog

  • Last updated on January 24, 2012

1. Collar & Leash

Get a properly fitted collar and leash. When around the dog’s neck, two fingers should fit between the material and the dog. The industry standard dog leash is six feet long. A dog needs to be obedient to be placed on a longer, retractable leash. Call the dog to you and have them sit calmly before putting on the leash. When exiting, go outside before the dog and only after the dog calms down. If the dog is overly excited and wants to lead you out the door, they will want to lead the walk as well. Being the leader is stressful for the dog and may cause them to develop behavioural problems. Once you’re outside, allow the dog to follow you.

2. Harness

If the dog tends to pull, using a harness allows the pulling weight to be properly distributed across the chest and shoulders. However, its important to train the dog not to pull. Keep the lead high up on the neck, just like in dog shows, to give more control with less effort.

3. Backpack

Putting a dog backpack filled with water bottles on a dog is a great way to give them a job to do, letting them feel fulfilled. The added weight gives them a better workout, which is even better for active breeds.

4. Puppy’s First Walk

The first time the puppy is taken for a walk on a leash, be compassionate and supportive. Show the puppy what to do, let the puppy lead, and then lead the puppy. 

5. Love

Always offer the dog praise and love for walking with you and doing their business. Give them treats, and if they’re thirsty (their tongue is hanging out) give them some water.

6. Mental Stimulation

Try different routs, parks, lakes and pet stores. Allow your dog to sniff, explore, and use their natural instincts when off the leash in a leash-free area. They’re also social creatures. Allow them to interact with people and pets. 

7. Leader

Be the leader of your pack by keeping the dog walking beside you and exuding a confident, strong energy. Dogs can sense energy. If the dog gets in front, stop moving wait for them to stop, walk to their side, clearly command, “heel,” and resume walking. If the dog gets distracted, make a noise to get their attention. By being the leader, it allows the dog to relax instead of being worried about leading. It also prevents the dog from attaining any behavioural problems such as hyper activity, neurotic, and/or obsessive compulsive.

8. Business

Be sure the dog does its business before going home.  The leader decides when the dog is allowed to do his or her business. Remember, it’s an offense not to pick up after your dog so be sure to bring along doggy bags.

9. Off the Leash

A dog can still be lead by a human when they’re walking off the leash. Take the dog off the leash and see if they will heel while walking beside you. If so, then they will listen when given the commands to explore and come back to you.

10. Home

Praise the dog when returning home. Make sure they have access to fresh water and a comfortable place to rest.