A daily walk is crucial in building trust and in fortifying the bond between dog and dog owner. The optimal duration for a dog walk should be about 45 minutes, but if you don’t find that much time on busy days, don’t worry; you can always take your dog for a 10 to 15-minute run, instead. This should not be seen as a tedious chore but as something to be enjoyed with your furry companions. So, get your leashes ready, and prepare to lead the walk!
The ultimate rule to follow when walking your dog is to lead the walk yourself and to not let your dog do that. To ensure that the dog follows you, try to calm the dog down before leaving the house. The sight and sounds of the collar and leash will get the dog very excited, and he/she will usually be difficult to pacify. It is therefore helpful to wait for the dog’s excitement to subside before you open the door. When the door is opened, you should be sure to step outside before your dog and to urge him/her to follow only after you have stepped out. If your dog pulls you out of the front door, he/she will keep on pulling you throughout the whole walk, so make sure your dog learns to wait. When taking your dog someplace new, it is imperative to ensure that you go in first and that your dog follows. If your dog is leading the way, he/she might become agitated and may lose control if someone approaches him/her. You leading the way guarantees a calm dog and an enjoyable time.
With a confident pace, you are now ready to lead the walk!
During the walk, do not let your mind wander; this activity demands your full concentration. Try not to use your phone or to let your gaze drift upon people strolling on the sidewalk. If you see your dog wandering away from you, focusing on some cat, or sniffing around, snap him/her out of it and get them to continue walking beside you. After several consecutive minutes of moving, stop and let your dog sniff around. Practicing walking your dog in this manner trains the dog in staying alongside you in future walks. The walk is essential in building trust between dog and owner and in providing an outlet for your dog’s energy.
It is a great pack leadership habit to wake up and take a dog for a walk as this is what dogs instinctually do: they wake up and search for food, be it by hunting or scavenging, therefore making the act of moving before eating a necessity. My personal preference is to walk my dogs twice a day and feed them after returning.
Always keep in mind that some dogs are much more energetic than others. It is essential that you match your dog's energy to completely fulfill their needs and to achieve a balance in their health and fitness.
Keep calm and lead the walk!