Walking with Your Dog on Trails
Spring and Summer months are the perfect time for both you and your dog to get some exercise! The extended daylight hours just beg for you to get out to the local parks and on the trail with your dog.
Before you hit the parks and trails, her are some tips to make your trip both enjoyable and safe.
Bring water for your dog, although most parks are very dog-friendly and do provide drinking fountains (and even doggy-height drinking fountains), be sure to bring your own water and water receptacle for your dog. There are many portable options, including collapsible bowls and water bottle/bowl kits. https://www.rei.com/c/dog-gear Dogs can become dangerously dehydrated and you don’t want to be caught without water.
Be aware of other dog…..just because a dog is out in public, don’t assume that they are friendly. Some park trails are very narrow and sometimes interaction is difficult to avoid. Nevertheless, never let your dog interact with another strange dog unless you and the other owner are both agreeable to it. If you have reservations about a strange dog (or if you have reservations about your own dog) then keep things moving. It’s not worth risking a nice day in the park to have less-than-pleasant interactions. So when in doubt, move over to the side of the trail until the other dog can pass.
Communicate to others that your dog needs space, If your dog is the dog with issues, walk on the trails in off-peak times. This will vary by each individual park, but typically off-peak times are early in the morning and later at night. Late mornings and early afternoons on the weekdays can also be good times, but be sure to locate trails with plenty of shade, as these are the hottest times of the day where the sun is at its highest point in the sky. If your dog is reactive to either people or other dogs, be proactive and move far off the trail when you see others coming. Don’t get caught on tight and narrow trails where interaction is inevitable. Be sure you have plenty of “trail shoulder” wherever you walk. It is also a good to contact Value Dog Training for a Walk N Train Session, Yes we do training on the trail.
Be sensitive to your dog’s paws, some trails are smoothly paved, but some trails are much more rough and rocky. A healthy dog’s paw pads can withstand a decent amount of uneven and textured surfaces. But if they aren’t used to walking on these types of surfaces on a regular basis, their paw pads can become cracked or irritated. Paved trails can become very hot in the summer (especially black asphalt trails and parking lots). Allow your dog to walk on grassy areas of the trail and park, when possible, to give their pads some relief for a while or consider some doggy booties to protect their feet. Value Dog Training recommends RUFFWAER https://ruffwear.com/collections/dog-boots Protect your dog from the inside out. Many parks and trails also include streams, creeks and even lakes. Pay attention to any signs that restrict you or your dog from entering these bodies of water. If there aren’t any restrictions and you’ve deemed it safe to let your dog explore the water, be sure that your dog is protected first.
What do your instincts say? – If you fear your dog having an uncomfortable or scary interaction in the park or on the trail, or you’re unsure how to handle an awkward situation, trust your instincts and avoid it until you can seek the advice of a professional trainer. Other reminders include bringing potty bags out on your walks, not to leave your dog in a hot car while you go do something else and, last but not least, avoid walking if it’s lightning out (just for good measure!).
This information is brought to you as a public service by Value Dog Training – In Home Dog Training. For more information, contact us at 916-201-7080.
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