Walking your dog safely: The 3 rules

Walking your dog regularly is a necessity for his well-being, that's a fact! However, it is preferable to follow certain rules for the safety of our dog so that everything goes well during our walk. In addition to not endangering our dogs, we must be careful not to embarrass the walkers and/or their dogs. Once we know these few rules, everyone can enjoy a pleasant walk.

Walking your dog safely: The 3 rules

Provide conditions of safety and freedom during walks.

Do not neglect the learning of the recall 

The dog needs to be free to fully enjoy his walk. However, for this to be possible, it is important that he has a very good recall. This command must be worked on in all circumstances from a very young age. We start learning recall in places that are not very stimulating, and then we increase the environmental stimuli crescendo. You should not hesitate to use a lanyard to be sure to control your puppy completely.

Avoiding bad situations 

It's best to avoid situations that could set the puppy up for failure and give him the opportunity to not return to the recall. For example, if you wait too long to reattach your puppy when you pass people, he's likely to run to greet them and ignore your calls. Every time he is given the opportunity to sniff a dog, people or run after a bike, the puppy is reinforced in his lack of recall. That's why it's best to anticipate potential encounters by reattaching him.

In addition, we must be aware that our dog, even if he is still a puppy, may scare the person or the other dog in front of him. They may have had a bad experience with a dog and have retained a trauma. In an encounter with another dog, yours may be friendly and sociable, but the dog in front may not be. This dog could be aggressive with your dog. Moreover, if he is in the process of rehabilitation, it is better not to provoke him. In any case, we must make sure that we control our dog and do not bother the walkers.

Have the right equipment to walk my dog.

Choose the right equipment: Leash, harness, or lanyard 

Always make sure that the leash, collar, lanyard, and harness are of high quality. It is best to avoid using cheap accessories, especially if the dog is strong or pulls a lot on the leash. When a dog pulls a lot on the leash, it can be difficult to control him. In this case, it is advisable to use an anti-pulling harness to better manage him. However, it is important to check that the harness is well adapted to your dog's morphology. A poorly adapted harness loses its effectiveness.

As for lanyards or leashes, choosing them flat rather than round is better. This way, they are easier to hold in the hand and they will have less tendency to slip.

Choose the right place to walk.

Rule 3: Choose open spaces for your dog 

Walks should be a moment of pleasure for both the dog and its owner, which is why the location of daily walks should be chosen as well as possible to avoid conflicts. If you want to be able to let your dog loose safely, it is better to go to open places, the plain for example, where you can see far away. In the case of a dog with strong predatory instincts that like to chase a game, it is best to avoid walks in the forest. The temptation to chase the game and not listen to the recall would be too great.

If your dog doesn't like walking on a leash, choose walks where he can enjoy a moment of freedom, again, provided he has sufficient recall to control him. Or, if your dog is aggressive to other dogs, choose to walk him in areas where there is very little traffic and where he can find some peace and quiet.

A final word 

To walk your dog safely, you just need to know these three rules to have a good time. It is also important to respect your fellow man by not letting your dog run loose without restraint or control. Here is an adage that sums it up: "One man's freedom ends where another's begins" by John Stuart Mill.

Written by Romy Crétiaux - Canine educator-behaviorist at L'Essentiel canin.

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