January is National Walk Your Dog Month so let's make your walks more enjoyable for you and your dog.
Be confident. Your dog will appreciate your confident body language. Head up, shoulders back, and your dog is walking with you. Encourage your dog to walk by your side, and if your dog pulls ahead, encourage him to return to your side with a yummy treat and praise.
Practice leash walking lessons. Choosing the right leash for your dog will make walking easier and finding one that you're comfortable holding will make it good for you too. A six-foot leash is a good length for walking your dog, and remember to keep moving so your dog doesn't get distracted. The leash is to communicate and practicing to have a loose leash will make your walks more fun. Practice polite leash walking and toss in some short training sessions on the trails too. Remember frequent, short sessions with low stress are best. Again, reward your dog with treats and praise when he stays by your side.
Bring supplies. Carry along poop bags for cleaning up after your dog. Bring along water for you and your dog. Dogs can drink water by lapping it from your cupped hands, or you can carry a collapsible water bowl, and some dogs like drinking from your water bottle. Remember to bring bite-sized treats for rewarding good behavior or because you have a good dog!
Variety is the spice of life. Make your walks more fun by going to new locations or taking different routes. You could set a goal to walk in each park in your community and once those are done start walking in other cities. If your dog is comfortable with other dogs, you could set up a walking group to explore new locations.
Know how far to go. How much walking is the right amount for your dog? Like so many things, it depends. Consider are your dog’s size and how long his legs are, the breed, age, overall health and where you are walking. Keep an eye on your dog, and if they're slowing down or panting, you've probably gone far enough.
Most of all, enjoy your walk, you’ll be glad you took the time!