May is National walking month and with the weather getting a little better we are hoping it is here to stay and we can get our walking boots on!
We have put together a few tips for walking with your dog. Dogs are the perfect walking companions; they are always ready and waiting to go out and never in a rush to get home or see friends.
The first thing you need to remember is to always make sure you have poo bags with you at all times. Before heading off on your walk make sure you have given your dog plenty of time to sniff and look around the new area before heading off, this gives them chance to go to the toilet before you head off. Mental exercise is just as important as physical, on lead quick walk and focusing on the activity is very beneficial.
Always remember to plan your walk and check that dogs are allowed on the route you are planning to take. We would always advise you to call or check websites of any national parks ahead of your visit to check for any restrictions. Remember to tell somebody the route you will be taking in case you have an accident or are later returning home, should anything happen and you cannot call for help they will be able to follow your route. On that note it is best to remember to take a fully charged mobile phone with you so that you can be contacted or you are able to contact somebody in case of an emergency.
Before taking your dog on a long walk you need to consider their age and how healthy they are. You might be excited and looking forward to going for nice long walks with your dog and I’m sure your dog is just as excited as you are but are they healthy enough to go with you? Make sure that the route is suitable for your dog and for if your dog is not used to very long hikes etc. we would suggest that you build up your walks on a daily basis gradually taking longer walks each days to build their fitness just like us.
When you take a drink from your water bottle remember to offer a drink to your dog, they cannot tell us when they are thirsty but if you offer them a drink on a regular basis you will soon learn how much exercise your dog can do before needing a drink. Don’t forget to take a collapsible bowl or a doggy sports bottle with a special spout on the end, these can be found at most local pet stores and are great for keeping your dog hydrated.
Make sure when planning your route, you remember to add in some rest spots along the way. Dogs cannot sweat so to keep themselves cool they pant, find them a shaded spot to take a break or allow them to walk in water. If you are planning a route near water you could find them a safe place to go paddling avoiding lakes or rivers that you are not used to. It is also advised to keep dogs on lead around cliffs and high platform, many dogs will not distinguish between different heights and this can end in tragedy.
Your dog should always be wearing a collar with their name tag and a contact number attached at all times, microchipping is compulsory so you should make sure that your dog is microchipped and all details are up to date. Whilst out walking with your dog it is advisable to carry a clear recent picture of your dog in case they go missing whist you are out walking. You can show the picture to fellow walkers going past in the hope of finding your dog.
You must remember if you are walking with your dog off the lead you must be in full control of them. This is possible through training, either with an instructor or videos online and even books, there are many great training guides available. Do not walk your dog off the lead unless they are trained to respond to simple commands such as sit, come, wait etc. The law now states that someone only has to be in fear of a dog for action to be taken, a dog running loose can even be considered out of control so it is advisable to out your dog on lead when passing other walkers.
It is also important to keep a dog on lead when around livestock; farmers are legally allowed to take action in order to protect livestock from dogs. Livestock can become easily scared and even die from being panicked by a dog, there have even been cases when sheep have fallen of cliffs after being chased. Please also close gates and take home any rubbish.
And finally remember to have fun and take lots of photos to share your journey with friends!
Why not take a look at our other blog post!
Don’t forget to tag us in your photos!
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