If you have a four-legged, furry roommate, you know he requires lots of care and attention. It can be difficult to own a dog when you live in a city because you can’t just let him loose in the backyard for an hour to expend all of his energy. While there are often dog parks available, you may have to purchase a membership. Many owners walk their dogs on their lunch hours or after work. Dog walking etiquette is especially important when you live in a city because there are so many people and pets around. To turn yourself into an expert dog walker, follow these four tips:
1. Keep Your Dog on a Leash
No matter how well-trained your pup is, it’s important to keep him on a leash when going for a walk. You never know if something will catch his eye or if he will begin to feel anxious when seeing another dog, so it’s best to keep him close by your side. Some cities even have laws that require you to keep your dog on a leash when he’s not on your property, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you are teaching your pup to be leash-trained, begin by holding the strap close to your body so he is walking right next to you. This will teach him not to stray far ahead or behind during walks.
2. Be Aware of Possible Problems
When walking your dog, you’ll need to be extra aware of your surroundings and anything that may irritate or upset your furry friend. If you know that Fido gets skittish around kids, scan the area and try to spot them before he does so you can cross the street or at the very least do what you can to preemptively calm him down.
3. Clean Up After Your Dog
Aside from exercise, one of the main reasons for taking your dog on a walk is so he can go to the bathroom. Be sure to clean up after him, or you will incur the wrath of your neighbors. Always bring some plastic bags along, even if you’re just going for a quick walk around the block.
4. Master Basic Commands
When you take your pup on a walk, it’s a good idea to have a few basic commands in your back pocket so you can maintain control. As you take him through the training process, be sure to work on “sit,” “stay,” “heel,” “come” and “leave it.” They will all come in handy when you go on walks together.