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July 7, 2017

5 Dog Walking Tips Every Pet Owner in Atlanta Should Know

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Walking your dog can be a fun activity – or a stressful chore. It all depends on you: the cues you send to your dog, the type of gear you use, and of course, your ability to handle your dog safely on a leash. Even the most experienced Atlanta dog walkers can slip into bad habits, so whether you’re a veteran pet owner or a new doggie parent, it never hurts to brush up on your knowledge. You might be surprised at how drastically a simple change can reduce your pet’s problem behaviors. Keep reading to learn five simple tips that make dog walking easier (and more enjoyable) for both you and your pet.

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5 Best Tips for Walking Your Dog on a Leash

Before you take your dog for that next stroll around the block, read these five easy dog walking tips from our Atlanta dog sitters. Whether you’re dealing with a teeny Terrier or a massive Mastiff, these tips are sure to make your next walk go smoother.

Tip #1: Set a Schedule

Dogs are creatures of habit, so setting a consistent schedule for feeding and walking will help ensure that your pet needs to “go” whenever it’s walk-time. Creating a schedule will also help you control the duration of each walk, so that you don’t accidentally run out of time mid-session. Make sure you leave adequate time for completing each walk you plan, keeping in mind that most people walk at a speed of roughly three miles per hour. That means a mile-long walk (half a mile each way) should take you roughly 20 minutes.

Tip #2: Get the (Right) Gear

You don’t need to spend a fortune buying the most expensive or cutting-edge gear. However, you do need to make sure you have the right gear. Here are three factors to keep in mind before your next trip to the pet store:

  1. Leash style. You have two basic options: a fixed-length leash, or a retractable leash that can extend or retract into housing. Most experts recommend using fixed-length leashes on walks, because they give you more control.
  2. Leash length. The shorter the leash, the easier it will be to control your dog. Of course, you don’t want the leash to be too short, either. Most leashes are somewhere between four and eight feet, so ask your veterinarian for a recommendation about the ideal leash length for your dog’s height and weight. Your veterinarian can also help you determine whether a harness or special collar, such as a Martingale collar, would be appropriate.
  3. Leash color. Do you go for lots of walks at night, or before dawn? If so, consider getting a leash that’s brightly colored or, better yet, reflective. You can find plenty of reflective dog leashes online for less than $20.

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Tip #3: Lead the Pack

When you picture a dog walker, what do you imagine?

Now, freeze that image in your head. You probably pictured the person walking behind the dog, while Fido was a few feet ahead on his leash, right?

Not only is this a classic mistake – it’s also the complete opposite of what you should be doing. Most experts recommend walking in front of your dog, which makes it clear that you’re the pack leader.

Remember, dogs are pack animals by nature. When a dog feels like no one is in charge, Fido feels pressured to step up and take the lead. That can produce lots of stress and anxiety, especially in highly submissive dogs. By taking control, you’re putting your dog into a more relaxed mental state, which decreases the risk of confrontations with other animals or people.

Tip #4: Beat the Heat

Summer’s in full swing here in Atlanta, and you know what that means: sweltering heat and punishing sun. When the temperatures soar, you need to take some extra precautions to protect your pet from the heat.

  • Be careful of hot pavement. Hot, sunbaked asphalt can easily burn and injure your dog’s sensitive paw pads. If the pavement’s too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet. Fortunately, there are three ways around this problem: walk your dog in a grassy area, walk at a cooler time of day, or invest in dog booties for hot pavement. Summer dog booties only cost about $10 to $40, but many dogs won’t tolerate them, so be prepared with a backup plan.
  • Stay hydrated. This tip applies year-round, but is especially important in the summertime. To reduce the risk of overheating, always bring a bottle of cool, fresh water for your dog – and grab one for yourself, too!

Tip #5: Reward Your Dog

Rewards are great for reinforcing positive behavior in dogs. If your dog did a good job on your walk, make sure he knows it! Just be sure to choose healthy dog treats that aren’t loaded up with excessive calories or sugar. (Showering your dog with praise and affection is another great way to show your approval, too!)

Hire an Atlanta Dog Walker from Critter Sitters Near You

Life is unpredictable. But whenever you have a last-minute change of plans, Critter Sitters will be standing by to handle all your dog-walking needs. Our caring, reliable, and experienced team provides pet sitting, dog walking, and puppy walking services throughout the Atlanta area, including:

If you live in the Atlanta area and need to hire a professional dog walker on short notice, Critter Sitters has you covered. Just pick up the phone, and we’ll pick up the leash. Call us today at (404) 973-2541 to get started with a free dog walking consultation.

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