Dog Walking 101: Essential Training Tips & Gadgets was previously published October 26, 2018 and has been updated with new information.
Dog walking can often seem like a chore or just another thing you don’t have time to do. But taking the time to walk your dog can be good bonding and training time for you and your pet, which makes it all the more essential. Here are a few ways to make it easier:
Allot Time for Your Walk
Dogs need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise time every day, with their ideal walking time being in the morning. You can track this time and your own personal exercise on your smartphone. Most smartphones come with health tracking apps, like the Health app available on the Apple iPhone, that allows you to track a variety of health related information.
Use a Walk as Training Time
As The Vets explain to us, “Taking the time to train your dog on your walks is a smart way to get them to see you as their leader“. Choosing when to reward your dog is one way to enable them to respect you. Be intentional about when you let them sniff around or relieve themselves. It’s important that you only allow this after they’ve behaved themselves while walking and that you don’t allow them too much reward time. Feeding your dog after your walk together is also a good way to teach good behavior. Your dog will behave more reliably in the future if they see their meal as a reward.
Rule the Walk
When you’re out walking your dog, make sure to always walk in front of them. This reinforces the idea that you are their “pack leader,” which encourages them to behave. Using a short leash is also important because it gives them less room to run around on you. If you have multiple dogs, using a tangle resistant, double leash is a great way to make sure there isn’t any squabbling or time taken from you walk in order to detangle them.
Gear Up with Gadgets
The unfortunate reality of having a dog is that they might get loose sometimes. Luckily, there are new collars that feature GPS trackers so you don’t ever have to lose your dog again. The Tagg GPS Pet Tracker sends you text and email alerts when your dog gets out. The Garmin Astro is geared more towards tracking hunting dogs, so it features a hand held GPS device and lets you see your dog’s movements.
Much like the fitness trackers for humans, the FitBark tracks your dog’s activity each day to make sure they’re living a happy and healthy life. It also tells you the last time they were fed right on your phone, so you never have to forget or overfeed again.
If you live in a particularly rainy, snowy or dangerously hot area and don’t feel comfortable dog walking outside on some days, look into getting a dog treadmill like the PetZen. If you already have a full-sized treadmill in your home, you can still practice healthy leader habits by setting up your dog’s treadmill right next to yours so you never have to lose a day of training.