Read time: 7 mins
17 Aug 2020
By Team Butternut
It’s that time of the day again. The very moment you jangle their lead and call out that immortal word - “walkies!” - your four-legged pal lumbers over to head out the door. They know what to expect, they know what’s coming.
But this time, it’s different.
Why, you ask? Well, you’ve read through the dog walking tips in this article! You won’t simply be walking them through the same park, past the same post office and back home through the same alleyway anymore.
Just as you get tired of doing the same thing on the daily, your dog is going to get bored with that same walk every time they step out of the house. But there’s more to giving your dog great walks than just changing up the route every so often. From keeping them socialised to ensuring they’re well fed and watered, your dog’s walks are super important. You should definitely be making the most out of them.
Your dog’s exercise needs will differ based on a variety of factors - mainly their size - but the majority of dogs need between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise a day. That means that their walks are usually the only time they have to experience all of the good stuff outside their home.
We’ve all had those days where we barely leave the house, only once rolling off the sofa to wander down the street and back to grab some snacks from the corner shop. While that’s nice every so often, imagine doing that every single day! It wouldn’t be fun for us, so why do we think it’s okay for our dogs?
It’s time for a change. When you head out, really try to mix your walks up as much as you possibly can by going to new places. For your dog, a walk isn’t just a physical exercise, it’s also an important time for them to stimulate their mind by being exposed to new smells, sights and terrain. Go to a popular park and they might even make a few friends.
Walk in different parts of town, head out of the city and into the country, or even take a trip down to one of the UK’s many dog-friendly beaches. If you need a bit of encouragement, make every dog walk a bit of a mission. We know you’re not Tom Cruise - don’t worry - we’re talking missions like ‘Go to the Post Office’ or ‘Pick up a coffee from the cafe’. Now, you don’t have to be Ethan Hunt to complete those successfully.
Visiting all these new locations is sure to keep them interested, but your dogs will be just dying to get out and explore. If they’re a pooch that does well off-lead, let them roam free and have a sniff around - that’s definitely going to get their tail wagging. Of course, to make them even happier, you could always bring some toys along too. Something as simple as a tennis ball and a good throwing arm can add endless fun to your dog walks - plus your little friend will tire themselves out so much faster.
While a few toys and balls are good to have, remember that your dog is going to be happiest when playing with other pups. Head over to a park frequented by fellow dog walkers and let your pooch make some friends. They’ll have a great mental workout playing games with all those dogs, and that socialisation is going to give them the happiest walk they could possibly have.
It’s also really important to do this with puppies. The younger you get your dog exposed to, and socialising with, other dogs, the better they’ll be with any they meet in the future. Now you actually have a good excuse to hang out at that puppy park and meet all those little pups that you’ve been dreaming about for Lord knows how long.
A really good dog walk doesn’t require the kind of tactical planning needed for an Everest climb, of course, but it still pays to bring the best equipment for the job. Don’t worry, you can leave the hiking boots at home (most of the time). The most important weapon in a dog walker’s arsenal is a good lead.
You’ll need a lead that doesn’t hurt you or your dog, but that offers the control needed to wrangle your dog when necessary. Ideally, that’ll be a short, taught lead that makes sure that your dog walks at your heel, while also being long enough to give them a little bit of freedom to sniff around.
We really wouldn’t recommend extendable leads. On the surface they seem great Your dog gets to run off but you still have the control to call them back when necessary, right? Well, not exactly. These leads encourage dogs to pull because they always expect to be able to run and can cause really bad injuries to both pooches and they’re parents. For a walk that both you and your dog will love, bring a short lead and let them run free when you have the space.
Depending on the weather, there may be a couple of extra items you should bring along to have a great dog walk. For those hot summer days - as rare as they may be in the UK - take a bottle of water with you; nothing says happiness like a hydrated pup. On the other hand, in our little island you’re far more likely to encounter winter conditions that can hurt your dog. From all that industrial salt on the roads and pavements to ice and snow hurting their sensitive feet, winter walks often require that little bit extra. In those winter months, why not get some dog boots">dog boots? It may seem utterly ridiculous to wrap up your pooch’s feet, but it can save them from a lot of pain further down the line.
Although it’s not necessarily ‘equipment’, it’s always a good idea to bring some treats when you’re on a walk. We’ve all seen the power that a few Scooby Snacks hold over everyone’s favorite animated dog, and much like Scooby himself, your dog will certainly appreciate - and be encouraged by - a few tasty treats. Going for a good walk is always a great time to train your dog. Whether you’re training them to walk off-lead, to be a bit friendlier with other dogs or simply to learn a few impressive party tricks, good treats are the key to success.
While you may be doing just about everything else on this list perfectly and it’s really important to make sure that your dog has a good time, they still need to know who’s the boss. There’s nothing more annoying than having a lovely walk ruined by a misbehaving dog - and that’s made even worse when that dog is your own!
So, for a good walk, you need a good dog. The best way to do that is by making sure that they know you’re the leader. Walk in front of your dog, make sure they know that they have to stay near you if they’re off the lead (this is where those treats come in) and assert that you’re the boss. You can still be as loving and affectionate as ever, but a disciplined walk will just make for a better overall dog walking experience.
Always let them have a lot of fun when you’re out, but ensure that it’s you who chooses the route and stops them from pulling. Reward good behaviour with plenty of belly rubs or treats (or both). Just don’t forget to lead other dog walkers by example and always carry a few doggy bags behind to pick up after them. Unfortunately, no matter how well you train them, your dog will never be doing that by themselves. Once the walk is over, make sure that you’re the first back in the house so there’s no doubt in their mind that you’re the leader of the walk. Once they know you’re the one they need to listen to, any future walks will go off without a hitch
All that walking has brought on quite the appetite, so to keep your pooch all fuelled up, why not try a Butternut meal? Our delicious, nutritious meals are cheaper than a cup of coffee. Build your box!