January is Walk Your Dog Month, so what better time to make sure to take your furry best friend for plenty of walks this month. Maybe you already do so or maybe it's a great time to start a new healthy habit to continue on throughout the year! Even if you have a large yard, walking your dog on a leash is a great training opportunity for them to socialize with other people and dogs, as well as improving communication between you and your dog while in new environments.
January is Walk Your Dog Month
Before you can take your canine for a nice stroll, make sure you have a leash that works best for you and your dog. Leather leashes feel great in-hand and communicate clearly to your dog when correcting, but if you live in an area where rain and snow could be likely, a waterproof leash may make more sense for you. Nylon and rope leashes are also a nice option and very convenient since they are lightweight and pack away very easily. Practice using your leash with your dog so they know how to walk without pulling.
If your dog has a tendency to pull, you may want to try using a dog harness for more control and less stress on your dogs throat area.
A martingale collar is also a great option for making humane corrections while walking your dog. Martingales apply more even pressure around your dog's neck and with limited travel while corrections happen, as opposed to traditional "chokers".
Summon your inner leader when you walk your dog. Your body language should be confident and your dog should be walking beside you with eye contact frequently. Reinforce their good behavior with treats when they are walking by your side and that will help them be on their best behavior.
Bring the necessities to help make the walk pleasant for you and your dog. Always carry water for yourself and your dog, especially if you’re in warmer weather. To help your dog drink water on the go, you may want to bring a collapsible water bowl with and your favorite water bottle. Also, remember to bring bags for cleaning up dog waste.
Challenge yourself and your dog with new routes when you go for walks. It will make the walks more exciting for your dog (and you!). Try walking with a friend, go to a dog park, or just travel off the beaten path. Your dog will love the new sights, smells, and sounds at different locations and it will strengthen the bond between you and your dog when new experiences arise.
Pay attention to your dog's capabilities so that you push them beyond their limits. Every dog needs a different amount of exercise depending on size, age, breed and general health. If your dog starts slowing down or panting excessively, it's time for a break or may be time to be done. Find the joy of getting tuned into your four-pawed walking partner and it will be that much easier planning your excursions ongoing.
It's a new year, so let's kick it off to the fullest - Walking in nature with our dogs! Is there a better way to start off 2024?