5 Tricks for Walking the Dog Like a Pro
Taking the dog for a walk can be a great way to introduce children to the responsibilities of caring for animals, but the job comes with some ground rules.
Because of the amount of rain we have had lately, I have been walking my dogs instead of taking them to local dog parks.
The dog park we usually go to has been flooded, and as much as Grayson and Kaiah love being dogs and running through the water, I don't love it and the dogs can get sick from it. So, being the overprotective mom that I am, we have been walking around downtown Dunedin instead.
Yesterday, I saw a little girl walking her dog. Some of her actions made me wonder whether she had been taught things to do and not do on a walk with her dog.
I was walking my two large dogs, and this little girl came across the street with her wire-haired Dachshund. You could tell it was a friendly little pup, bouncing around, happy as could be; however, with Grayson and Kaiah, you cannot tell whether they are friendly because they just stand there.
The little girl came walking up behind us quickly with her dog on a retractable leash. She would let the leash out, lock it, pull her dog back and repeat. She allowed her dog to come over to Grayson and Kaiah without asking how friendly they are with other dogs. It was then that I realized that children need to be told how to handle a dog on a walk, as they don’t know until someone tells them.
Here are some ideas for what to tell children when they want to walk the dog:
- Make sure to ask other dog owners whether the dog is friendly and if it is OK for the dogs to meet.
- If using a retractable leash, make sure you have complete control over the dog at all times.
- Pick up the stool after your dog uses the bathroom. This is how dogs pass diseases onto one another.
- Don’t allow the dog to control the walk.
- If the dog shows aggression toward another dog, separate the dogs to prevent a fight. If the dogs begin fighting, don't try to break up the fight alone – call for help.
Don’t assume that children automatically know what to do; they are just learning things as they go along. It's our responsibility to teach them how to be good companions for animals.