Taking a walk out in the park or neighborhood with your furry companion is a great way to provide social activity, help your dog stay healthy and prevent obesity. Pets need regular exercise—such as daily walks—to keep at a recommended weight, plus walks allow you and your dog to get acquainted with other pets and pet parents. While dog-walking is a fun and worthwhile activity, it can also be full of potential mishaps that could adversely affect other park-goers if proper etiquette is not observed.
As an advocate of responsible pet ownership, Pet Food Institute, through its campaign “Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured” in partnership with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines, shares some tips for an enjoyable, worry-free dog-walking experience.
Make sure your pet is in good health
Before you step out with your four-legged friend for a stroll, ensure that your pet is in good shape and is well trained to meet different pets and people outdoors. There may be strangers, both human and pet, who will approach your pooch, so it is important that your furry friend already had its entire series of vaccinations.
Bring all the important things
Before you get to the door and begin the walk, make sure you have all the important things with you for a hassle-free adventure with your dog.
Water – Hydration is essential to your pet’s health and helps his or her body systems function properly. Your pup may get dehydrated after doing the occasional sprints and leaps, so a bottle of water is essential to keep Fido hydrated especially on hot and humid days.
Treats – A handful of treats will be helpful in getting you out of the most unfortunate pickle. Enticing a stubborn pet with a tasty treat will help shift their focus on you instead of unfriendly dogs or cats. Remember to treat responsibly, however, in order to prevent obesity. Treats should make up no more than 10 percent of a pet’s daily calories.
Dog tags – Make sure the leash and collar are sturdy and won’t slip off, that your pet is wearing identification tags with your address and phone number.
Poo bag – One of the most important items to bring is a waste bag to pick up the poo. It can be bothersome to see unsightly and smelly poo on the street, much more step on it. Do have the courtesy to clean up the waste with a sealable bag or paper and throw it in the proper trash bin.
Maintain a safe space
Keep a harmonious atmosphere by maintaining a safe distance with other pets. There’ll be many episodes of unfamiliar canines trying to get friendly with your dog by doing nose and butt sniffing, which is their instinctive and natural way of saying “hi.” But before they do, get a feel of your dog’s tension and energy if he/she is open for interaction. If so, then by all means let them get acquainted with each other.
Of course, you don’t want them to get sniffing too long. Not all dogs have the same disposition and some may value their own privacy more than the other. If a dog feels invaded or threatened, its natural reaction will be snarling, barking or biting, so keep the interactions short and sweet.
Take full control
Being the pet owner, you must have full control of the dog’s behavior. You may have gained familiarity of your dog’s movements and sensitivities, but also be cautious of its unpredictability. Start off with a good quality leash to lead on or lead away your pet.
Young Fido may be the friendly type of pup that wants to play with people, but keep in mind there are some individuals who are fearful of dogs. Having a shorter leash gives you a better advantage of controlling your dog, so in case when something or someone comes your way, your pet remains by your side. On the other hand, there are also dogs that are not too socially adept with people. Give the eager individual a friendly warning before he/she pets your dog.
When controlling your pet, do it calmly and quietly. Yanking the leash abruptly or calling your pet loudly translates differently with your dog and could be a cause of commotion.
Positioning is key
When you are walking your pet with other dog-walkers in the neighborhood, make sure your canine is positioned away from the fellow walker and his/her pet. The ideal image would be dog-owner, owner-dog to allow safe and peaceful walking. When walking on the roadside, ensure that the pet is led away from the vehicle lanes.
Let them do their business in a proper place
You may be prepared to clean up your dog’s dirty crime scene, but the bigger question lies on where it should take place. In many residential areas, this is the most important unspoken rule. Seeing someone else’s excrement is a big downer for property owners who have worked hard on their lawns and landscapes, so make a courteous gesture by averting your dog from trespassing and dumping in a private property.
It is best to train your mutt to defecate or leak in general areas such as grass strips in the middle of the sidewalk.
For more information on responsible pet care, visit www.petfoodinstitute.org and follow PFI on Twitter @USPetFood.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.