When I take my older dog to the dog park, I often see dogs pulling their owners when their on a leash. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is walking who! Since it is Walk Your Dog Month and I have lots of experience as a dog walker in Atlanta, I thought we would give you some tips to make walking your dog a little easier.
Things To Do:
- When you and your pooch are getting ready for a leisurely stroll, call the dog to you – do not go to the dog to put his leash on. Have your older dog sit quietly before putting on his leash or walking handle. You should be the first one out the door and be the first one to return through the door. It is important to establish yourself as the “leader of the pack”.
- You want the dog to focus on your commands versus the sights and smells around him. Hold the leash by the handle, letting approximately six feet of leash between you and your dog. Start walking. If he starts tugging, give a slight pull and direct him back to you by changing direction.
- Numerous times during the walk direct your dog to “heel.” Your dog should be walking by your side or slightly in back of you. Your dog may try and walk in front of you – it is his way to establish himself as the leader. Because you are the leader, walk confidently with your head held back and shoulders squared.
- Ideally, a dog should get a walk or some form of exercise every day. And unexercised dog is more likely to get in trouble as a result of being bored.
- Be wary of other dogs who are walking with their owner if you’re not familiar with them. You know how your dog may behave, but not the other dog.
Things you shouldn’t do:
- Never let your dog walk in front of you – it gives him the impression he is the top dog.
- Do not let your dog drag you along on his leash.
- Don’t let your dog mark everywhere just for the sake of marking.
- Retractable leashes can be dangerous and may make it harder for you to control your dog.
- Don’t let your dog roam freely unless you are in an off-leash dog area.
- Don’t take the same path everyday … mix it up! Your dog will love exploring.
Helping older dogs to maintain their mobility is a passion of Help ’Em Up™. That’s why we developed a walking leash, shoulder strap and walking handle to go with our unique dog lifting harness.