The most important task for a dog owner is walking the dog. It ensures regular physical exercise, a change of environment, a chance at fresh breath, interaction with peers and most importantly a cleaner home as the dog is then free to have regular bowel movements. It would be incorrect to call it a task, as this activity is just as fun for the owner as for the dog itself. The owner gets his daily dose of physical exercise and fresh breath and a break from the daily grind. But beyond that, the time you get to spend with your furry friend can absolutely relieve you of all your day’s stress. Also, one’s social life also expands; you meet new people, as your dog will attract many more passerbys than otherwise. But as a responsible dog owner there are certain things that one must follow while doing this activity.
First and foremost, make sure the dog is walked everyday without fail, preferably twice a day. This prevents the dog from suffering from lethargy. Consistent physical activity also keeps it active and healthy. One must also try to keep the time slots consistent every day. This is not only convenient for the owner, but the dog also gets used to the schedule and subsequently can accordingly control his bowel movements. As a result there is no need of taking any extra efforts for cleaning up, nor would you have to keep letting it out from time to time within the day.
One must always try to walk the dog themselves, instead of transferring this responsibility over to someone else, such as the family help or trainer. This is important to reinforce the sense of security in the dog with respect to the owner, and make him feel wanted. At the same time it helps in maintaining a connection between the dog and its owner. It is also critical, as the owner can then make out if the dog is experiencing any heath issues which may not be apparent otherwise.
One must take special care in the summer months. The walk times could be altered so that the temperature outdoors is at its minimum. This is comfortable for the owner and the dog. At the same time, one must try to ensure that the surface on which the dog walks is cool and not heated due to the sun. Preferably one must let it walk in the mud. It is a naturally available cool and safe material, and typically is favored by dogs. One can’t expect the dog to walk over hot surface with ease just a person would find it difficult to walk over such surfaces barefoot.
Once the dog starts to get comfortable with the walking routine, one can try to accommodate frequent small bouts of running. This is a much effective method of exercise, beneficial to both the dog and its owner. The increased blood flow and heart rate is good for the overall health and helps in losing the monotony of a walk. But at the same time one must make sure that you are not overdoing it. The dog should not get exhausted after runs, so one must keep a constant check on the dog’s behavior and temperament.
One must also take breaks after regular intervals if the duration of the walk is too long. This ensures the dog doesn’t get too tired and lethargic. Especially when there is running, it acts as a buffer time zone for the dog and the dog to catch their breaths. One needs to rest, preferably on a cool grassy surface for some time especially after the walk, to help the dog to cool down and relax.
Ideally a dog should be trained such that it doesn’t need a leash to be kept in control. If not, then the dog on the leash should walk right beside you, neither leading ahead of you, nor lagging behind you. One must not need to be constantly tugging or pulling at the leash to make the dog go where you want to take it. The comfort level should be established such that the dog doesn’t feel like it is being forced.
Ensuring the dog’s comfort is of utmost importance. This strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner. The more it is comfortable; lesser it will bark or growl at the owner or passerbys. One must also ensure the dog doesn’t take sudden sprints towards other people or animals-pet or otherwise. One must consider that not everyone is fond of dogs and might take offense at being attacked, even though the intention was absolutely harmless.
Any kind of training should only involve love and affection. Certain owners tend to carry sticks when taking their dogs for walks, which they use to hit it with when the dog disobeys. Violence only makes the dog fearful not disciplined. Fear often leads to disrespect and aggression which might cause problems for the owner. Love shown by means of gentle words, petting and patting is the most effective way to train dogs for everything. The love is returned manifold, and dogs have their own special way of showing gratitude and respect towards the owner when treated in a similar fashion.