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Exercise and Your Dog

Walking Your Dog

A walk allows you to practice obedience skills with your dog to increase the reliability of training. Reviewing the basic commands also increases the benefits of a walk because your dog is not simply ambling along, but is performing additional tasks. Taking your dog for a walk provides mental stimulation through territorial investigation. Nose to the ground and alert to the sights and sounds of the neighborhood, your dog gathers information about how its territory has changed since the last walk.

Along with the emotional benefits, there are physical benefits. Walking your dog is the best way to exercise a dog that may not move about much in your home or even in your yard. Aging pets must be kept as agile and fit as possible but may not be inclined to exercise without encouragement. Even if your pet is active in your yard, it is more active during a walk. The pleasure of your company is one of your dog's greatest motivations to exercise.

If you pass by another dog or person along the way, your dog has an opportunity to socialize. Dogs are social animals. It is in their nature to investigate unrecognized or recognized individuals. Puppies should be encouraged from a young age to appropriately greet and interact with other dogs and people while on walks. These positive experiences help the puppy behave appropriately when greeting visitors to your home, or when the dog is with you anywhere else. If a dog does not have the opportunity to socialize, it will not interact appropriately with people or other dogs.

Walking your dog is one of the best ways to prevent behavior problems. At least two walks daily help prevent elimination problems, destructiveness, separation anxiety and other common behavior disorders. Walk your dog soon after each meal, as this is the time it is most likely to urinate or defecate, and you can direct the dog to an appropriate location. Praise must be given immediately to be effective. If you simply let your dog out in the yard, you lose an opportunity to reinforce desirable behavior.

Allowing a dog to roam freely is dangerous both to the dog, other pets and people. It also gives the unsupervised dog freedom to regress to unacceptable wild behavior. Your dog's life could depend on its obedience to your warnings. Restricting some activity cannot be unkind in view of the possible consequences.

How to Walk a Dog

  1. Pick up your lead/leash. This signals to the dog that it is about to go for a walk. Make a dog sit patiently as you clip on the lead. Use a treat to lure the dog to sit if you have to. Make sure you only clip on the lead when the dog is sitting still, going for a walk is on your terms, not theirs.If you do not have a collar and/or leash, take a trip to the pet store, or any store that sells pet products, and buy one for your dog. Make sure it is the correct size for your dog; they usually have the weight or size requirements on the package.
  2. Walk him over to the door, ready for the walk.
  3. Make the dog sit. Tell them "wait". Make sure the dog waits inside as you step outside, and then say, "Ok come on!" and allow the dog to walk outside. Never just let the dog burst outside. Wait is basically stay, except the dog is expecting you to release it from the wait soon. Wait can be very useful when you answer the door and your dog obediently stands inside without you having to hold their collar.
  4. Open the door. Take the dog outside. Be careful, because the dog may pull on the leash when it sees that you are going outside.
  5. Always make sure the dog is behind you, or at your side. Do not to pull on the lead. Your dog will walk at its own pace, which may be faster than you. In that case, don't let the dog pull you. If the dog is pulling on the leash, tug back on the leash ever so slightly, and not to keep a constant strain on the dog's neck.
  6. Do not let your dog off the lead. Only do this in parks (dog parks), and/or on the beach (if allowed). There should be a sign saying whether or not your dog is allowed off the lead in that particular area.
  7. Continue the exercise when you get back home. Take the lead off your dog (making sure it sits still) and fill a dog bowl up with water so that your dog can have a drink.