One task synonymous with owning a dog is going for walks. It’s actually one of the many mutually beneficial tasks a dog and his owner can do together. From better heart health to mental stimulation – going for walks with your dog is a great way to bond and get fresh air. But is it as easy as it appears?

Animal experts and canine behaviorists recently sounded the alarm that many dog owners are walking their fur babies all wrong. So, how does one incorrectly walk their dog? Well, according to the experts, it’s walking while distracted.

What does it mean to walk your dog while distracted?
Just like it sounds, walking a dog while looking at your phone or listening to music/audiobooks is more dangerous than it may seem. Distraction occurs when something takes your attention away from your dog while taking your walk.

Experts note that even though our days are jam-packed, walking a dog while distracted can send mixed signals and, at worst, put your dog and you in potential danger.

What can go wrong if I walk my dog while distracted?
It goes without saying that just about anything can go wrong when you are doing any task distracted. That same logic holds up for when you walk your dog, but common concerns include:

·       Your dog eats something while you’re not paying attention. This could potentially be something toxic or a foreign object that causes upset and potential vet visits.

·       You may not notice potential threats or behavior triggers. Perhaps you’re walking in an area with bicyclists and while you text on your phone, your dog wanders into a biker’s path. The potential outcomes can be serious. The same can be said for leash reactive dogs who do not like being near other dogs on walks.

·       You could trip over objects on the sidewalk, walk into fences, poles, etc. Let’s face it, most of us are a bit clumsier when distracted and not paying attention to where we’re going.

·       You miss changes in your dog’s body language. Dogs speak using their bodies, and if you’re not paying attention to them you may miss signals he sends to show he’s tired, hurt, distressed, or angry.

How do I avoid walking my dog while distracted?
Luckily, the trick to walking your dog without distraction is quite simple. Make a conscious decision to put your phone away when out on a walk. It’s nice to have it in case of an emergency but keep it in your pocket or bag through the duration of your stroll.

While you’re at it, keep the headphones and earbuds at home. There is so much that can go wrong when your hearing is impaired in public. Instead, dedicate your walking time to be a distraction-free time as best you can. Focus all your attention on your dog and enjoy the time together.