With the start of the New Year, folks across the nation are taking up resolutions to get fit and healthy. If you’re one of these who are seeking to turn over a new fitness leaf, one of the easiest ways to do so is to simply start walking more. And what a happy coincidence, it just so happens to be National Walk Your Dog Month. Perhaps your dog could stand to shed a few pounds or maybe they would love a bit more fresh air. Whatever your motivation, take advantage of this new month, and this national focus, to get on your feet and get your pets on their paws.
But what if your dog isn’t used to going on longer walks or even going at all? There are some dog walking tips from Rover.com that can help you get out and get moving with your dog successfully.
- Practice first and select the right leash: If your dog is brand new to walking with you, you’ll need to purchase a leash and train them on how to walk on it. Many dogs will take to it quickly, but some will need a bit of practice. Try putting the leash on them in your backyard and walking them around an area with which they are familiar. As they become more accustomed and follow your lead, shower them with praise so they associate this new thing around their neck with positive vibes.
- Think ahead and bring supplies: You should always carry bags to clean up after your dog as you walk, but there are other items to consider, depending on the length of the walk and the climate. If going long distances, bring a bottle or two of water and a collapsible water dish. Bring treats for short breaks and to reward good behavior.
- Try new locations: When getting started, it’s great to pick a route and keep with it for a little bit, so that your dog gets used to the leash, if it’s new to them. But once your four-legged pal is comfortable, try new routes and different locations. Dogs love to discover just as much as you do!
- Plan your route and know your limits: For new leash-walkers, it’s best to start slowly, in familiar territory and with shorter distances, just until they get used to walking on a leash. For everyone else, you should take into consideration the age of your pet, how short their legs are (they’ll have to move a bit more than larger dogs to cover the same distance) and any medical issues that may prevent them from going too far.
Want to add some additional warm fuzzies to your walk? Check out the app ResQ Walk. Created by Best Friends Animal Society, ResQ Walk is an app you download to your mobile device that allows you to raise money for select local animal groups. After you download the app, you can select from a list of animal groups and shelters local to you to receive donated funds. From there, simply turn on the app to track your walk and as you and your pet take a stroll, you raise money for animals near you who really need that support. Total win-win!
So, what are you waiting for? Get your walking gear together, download the app and get moving today – and Happy National Walk Your Dog Month!