Every dog needs exercise. Most trainers and canine experts recommend at least 30 to 45 minutes of exercise for your dog (provided your dog is healthy enough to endure exercise) every single day. This can provide numerous behavior and health benefits. It should be noted that the walk is more valuable than other types of exercise (such as chasing the ball or running with other dogs at the dog park) because it offers training opportunities and helps to build the human and animal bond. However, proper dog walking is a little more complicated than just putting on the leash and heading out the front door. For the best results, consider some of the following best practices:
* Always walk with your dog beside you or behind you. You are the leader and the dog is the follower. When the dog is out in front, this helps reinforce the idea that they are in control of the relationship.
* Try not to walk your dog in the heat of the day. Canines do have sweat glands like people. In addition to that, they are stuck with a fur coat year round. As such, try not to walk them during the hottest time of the day, especially in the summer. It may not be a bad idea to bring water along for the dog to drink if showing signs of overheating.
* Do not play tug of war. There should typically be a bit of slack in the leash. If your dog is constantly pulling you and you are providing tension back - this is a behavioral issue that needs to be corrected. Consult with a trainer or professional if you are unable to remedy this yourself.
* Beware of other dogs. Do not let your pet approach other animals on a whim. Make sure that you have cleared it with the other dog's owner before allowing your animals to do a meet and greet. Just because your dog plays well with others does not mean that other dogs will respond in kind.
* Pick the right leash or collar. Not every leash / collar combination is perfect for every dog. Some dogs will view harnesses as a challenge to pull. Others may find a pincher collar to be too rough and painful. The collar that is typically the best fit for your dog is the one that provides the greatest amount of comfort while still generating the intended responses.
* Make sure your dog is wearing their tags. Even if you have the best behaved dogs, weird things can happen. You could be distracted and the dog may slip its leash chasing after another animal or something of that ilk. Make sure it is wearing its vaccination and identification tags to ensure the highest probability of its safe and timely return.
* Don't be afraid to make a pit stop. This is especially true if you are just starting. Your animal may need a break to rest and get a drink.
* Finally - have fun! The walk is a good opportunity for you and your pet to get exercise. It also represents a great bonding experience with your four legged best friend. They will appreciate it more than you will ever know.
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