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Special Guest Post by Fancy Paws Dog Walking (Chicago)
1. ALWAYS WALK IN FRONT OF THE DOG
Walking in front of the dog makes you seem like the pack leader and shows who is the leader in the walking. Dogs are territorial and pack following animals, just like wolves (because they all belong to the canine family) and so, if you establish yourself as the leader, then your dog will always regard you as the master during the walk. You can also make it walk beside you but never in front, because if it walks in front of you, then it thinks that it’s in control. When you head out from your home for the walk, be sure to be the first one out the door.
2. USE A SHORT LEASH
Using a short leash gives you more control because your dog won’t be running about to a distance where you can’t control it. Dogs get excited and distracted easily, especially in open areas, where there are more stimuli such as other animals (including dogs), people, things to play with or chew on, etc. Therefore, putting a short leash will always put you in control. You should attach the leash at the very top of the neck of the dog to easily guide it during your walking. Of course, this rule isn’t always required once your dog is used to walking alongside you, and then, a slightly longer leash is preferable.
3. GIVE YOUR DOG SUFFICIENT WALKING TIME
Dogs are diurnal creatures—active during the daytime, just like humans, so the recommended time for them to walk is in the morning or afternoon. The daily recommended walking time for dogs in general is 30 minutes to an hour but it also depends on what breed of dog you have because certain dogs naturally have a lot of energy and require more walking time, so always ask your vet about it or look it up online.
4. REWARD YOUR DOG
Bring along a treat for the dog on the walk and if it behaves nicely, always reward it. You can also reward it by taking it to Kriser’s and letting it play around a little. The reward time should not be more than the actual walking time. Similarly, reward your dog after the walk so that it feels like it earned the food and water it receives. Rewarding the dog can be as little as just stopping and praising it by petting it.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DOG’S BEHAVIOR
If your dog gets distracted or scared by something along the way, always take the time to introduce it to that object so that it doesn’t become a hurdle the next time you go out for a walk.