If you play soccer, you need cleats and shin guards. If you ride horses, you need a helmet, boots, breeches, and chaps. What about a dog walk? What do you need, and what does your dog need?
Whether you’re walking or running with your dog, it’s exercise for both of you. It helps if you dress like you’re working out, then you will treat it just like a trip to the gym but with the benefit of being outside. I always put on running shoes. It’s better for my knees, feet, and makes me really work at the walk. The rest, is up to you. Start with the shoes though.
Your sweet pup needs to be outfitted to keep him safe and ready to work out, too. In another post, we’ll talk about training your dog to walk well. First you need the right gear. Your dog should always have on a collar with tags. If you want to use a harness as well, then go for it. Oliver and Buckley are harnessed, but Daisy and Lily are not.
Besides a collar with tags, the most important tool you need is leash. I recommend a 4′ nylon or leather leash. Most leashes you’ll find at PetsMart and other major stores are 6′. Those are fine if your dog stays close and rarely pulls. Retractable leashes are not a good idea, as they give your dog the idea that he is in charge of the walk. They can be very dangerous and counteract any work you do to show yourself as the leader.
Your dog needs a walk, just like you need exercise. For a dog, however, the walk is a physical and mental exercise. Sometimes we think letting our dog out in yard is enough. We see him chasing a squirrel and think that’s all he needs. Most of the time, a dog in the yard lays around or digs, and both of those are signs of boredom.
Do your dog, and yourself, a favor. Put on your running shoes, grab your leash, and head out to explore Houston by paw!