Dog Walking Tips
One of the questions I get asked quite often by clients for Los Angeles dog walking is how should I walk my dog? Walking your dog should be pleasant for both you and your dog. It is your time to bond and explore your relationship in nature together. Before I begin to analyze the walking technique, the following are several questions I ask my clients to analyze their human-canine relationship. What type of relationship do you and your best friend have and what is the amount of mental and physical exercise received by your dog? Who will be walking the dog? Will there be several members of the household, staff or friends that will interact, walk or take care of the dog on a regular basis, or will it just be you? If more than one person is involved it would be necessary to observe and inform the entire family rather than just you. These questions are integral to understand before I make a plan on how to proceed.
Dog Walking in Los Angeles, Plan of Action
I have some basic tips that will help with dog walking. First, you must ask yourself, how often and how long do you plan on walking with your dog? Once a day for an hour, 4 times a day for 30 minutes each walk or only once a week? Only after you are able to figure out realistically what time you are able to allocate to your dog can you figure out a plan.
If you work long hours and do not have time for your dog before you leave for work or after you come home, you should consider hiring a professional Los Angeles dog walker. A dog walker should be able to exercise your dog both mentally and physically to break up your pet’s day and let him/her get some badly needed exercise and relief. In case you were wondering, letting the dog outside for 5 minutes to pee or poop does not count as a walk. What does count as a walk is what I call a “structured walk” or a “walk with a purpose”. A fun, gentle walk, with some basic training, and exercise mixed in with new routes, smells, stimuli, and adventures.
Most likely, when you go off to your daily job you are being fulfilled physically and mentally. You have a purpose in life and regardless of how much you enjoy that job, it likely fulfills your daily needs. When a dog sits at home and just goes outside to pee or poop for 5 minutes, he /she is not fulfilled. They have no job and are “unemployed”. This is when behavior problems start to manifest. I have had clients with high energy working breed dogs, bought purely for aesthetics that were tearing up their house. They hired me to “make it stop”. These two busy executives had no time to walk their dogs and thought letting them out in the back yard for 30 minutes a day was enough to fulfill them.
This is a common misconception that many people have. Dogs need jobs, even small jobs, and purpose throughout the day. Obedience training and structured walks help make them feel fulfilled and works out their body and mind. Other options you could do with your dog are scent work, agility courses or any type of positive reinforcement training. Have your dog work for their food. Use their food for dog training. Give their daily allocation of kibble as training rewards for learning new tricks and practicing fun games in the house and around town. This alone won’t stop destructive behavior but it will be a helpful component. All of these activities will help make walking with your pet a pleasure.
Once you have mentally stimulated your dog the next step is to exercise their body. Start your walk by having your dog relieve themselves in your preferred location before your walk begins. This teaches them that the walk is the reward for their quick elimination in your preferred location. Exercising the body does not mean letting the dog drag, crisscross and pull you around the block. A structured walk is asking your dog to sit at street corners, having your pup check in with you, and practicing eye contact with you. If your dog has a lot of energy, (taking into consideration your dog’s age, health, and breed) try rollerblading, biking, jogging, running or power walking. What is great about these exercises is that all of them will help you get into shape as well.
There is no better way to keep a dog balanced and fulfilled mentally and physically then to practice the above with them daily. Obedience training doesn’t have to be for an hour session, it can be while you are having your morning coffee, reading the newspaper, or even taking a shower (have your dog wait at the door and practice staying). Mental discipline taxes the mind while physical work releases their pent up energy and will make your pet feel as accomplished as you do when you feel productive and successful at work. Both animals at the end of the leash will be happy.