5 Leash Walking Habits Every Dog Parent Should Have
Fall is perfect dog walking weather.
The temperature is just right, the pavement is cool for your pup’s paws and the smell of pumpkin-and-peanut butter treats is in the air. But before you head out your next walk, check out this list of leash-walking habits every dog parent should have.
Holding the Leash Properly
It’s tempting to wind the leash around your wrist or slip your hand into the handle, but it can cause injury to both you and your dog, when, you know, squirrel. To hold the leash properly, loop the handle of your leash over your right thumb and close your fingers around the leash. If your leash is too long, gather the extra length and also loop it around your thumb, then close your hands back around the leash. Need a visual? Check out a demonstration of this form here.
Mixing Up Your Walking Pattern
Avoid a boring walk and stimulate your dog’s mind by being just a little bit spontaneous. Zig-zag. Speed up. Slow down. Stop. Walk circles around the mailbox. You can also check out this handy post on how to have more fun while walking your dog.
Adding variation to your walk keeps your dog’s focus on you and she’ll never know what’s coming next. Remember to reward good walking behavior with a treat, praise or a quick sniff of a nearby mailbox.
Avoid Distracted Walking
Texting. Talking. Facebooking. Multitasking while walking your dog is risky business. Leave your phone at home and follow your dog’s lead. Well, not literally, but be present in the moment just like he is. This is important not only for safety, but also for quality time with your pooch.
Look ahead, to both sides and behind you so you’re aware of approaching cars, dogs, runners or lurking cats. You don’t need any surprises, and your hands should be free and ready to react, just in case an irresistible distraction appears.
Asking Before Approaching Other Dog Walkers
Even if your dog is well behaved and friendly, it’s respectful to ask other dog walkers if you can walk nearby or approach their pup.
Your neighbor’s dog may not be as dog friendly as yours or, if they have a large dog, it can be difficult to hang on when the pooch is eager to play with his potential new friend.
Before approaching or walking close, ask if it’s okay. You can also check out this post on how to introduce your dog to a new friend so the two can get off to a good start.
Attach a Waste Bag Dispenser to Your Leash
It happens. And you should be prepared. Attach a waste bag dispenser to your leash so you never forget the number one thing you need to clean up number two. Not only is it just good etiquette, but your neighbors will also thank you for not leaving behind stinky landmines while they enjoy their own autumn stroll.