For your dog, it’s one of the most important events of the day, and something that he’ll be looking forward to from the minute you walk into the house – but just how do you get the most out of your daily dog walk?

Let dogs smell their surroundings

There’s nothing more annoying for a dog than being pulled away from an enticing array of smells. Since our canines primarily sense the world through their nose, sniffing is not a sign of “rudeness”, but a natural way for “seeing”. Give your dog the respect he deserves by letting him sniff what’s around him.

If you’re really struggling to get him in line, and his behavior is becoming troublesome, bring along a few treats, and use it to distract him from something particularly provoking. By and large, though, you should give the freedom to use his nose as its designed.

Not keen on buying treats from the store? Chop up some meat and keep it in a carry-bag.

Pack water for you and your dog

Be sure to pack water – especially for your furry friend. In the heat, dogs aren’t as good as us at cooling down, so they need plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated.

Of course, if it’s a ten-minute walk around the block it probably isn’t necessary to pack provisions, but you should really be aiming for trips that stretch towards the hour-mark.

Invest in a front harness

Dogs that pull on the traditional leash are straining to explore. A front harness neatly removes this temptation by having the dog behind you, in a position of subservience, or at least by your side.

There’s another good reason to get a front harness: it doesn’t hurt a dog’s neck. Any time a dog strains at a leash it’s doing itself a modicum of damage, and yet the natural instinct to pull ahead is hard to resist when the dog has no one in front of him or at his side, and seemingly the whole world to explore.

Avoid blazing hot pavements in summer

Grass is preferable to concrete when the sun is out and the temperature is baking because the sidewalk gets really hot fast. To check the temperature, put the back of your hand against the asphalt – if it starts to sting after three or four seconds, it’s definitely too hot for your dog’s delicate paws.

And finally…

…Get your dog microchipped

In the unlikely event you and your dog are separated during a walk, and your dog goes missing, microchipping is a secure way to ensure your animal is returned home.

Microchips comprise an ID code unique to your animal. Once your dog is found, a veterinary professional can scan the code and return the dog to your home.

Make sure you’ve registered the information in the relevant database, of course, or the microchip won’t be of use.

These small devices last the lifetime of the animal and are non-irritating.

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