Fabulous Five Dog Walking Tips

by Steph Mahrle

Here are my fabulous five pro tips for a relatively chill walk with your dogs. 

1. Before you even touch their training equipment (dog leashes, e-collars, prong collars etc.) Let the dog(s) out, for potty break first. Once both of my dogs poop, I will start prepping myself for their walk. I live in the burbs now, so garbage cans are few and far between. I am not a fan of schlepping bags of poop around. If you get the potty shenanigans out of the way first, you can all focus on the walk, instead of marking up the neighborhood. -For the folks that live in the city, I suggest going to your dog's typical potty spot, before starting your walk. Dogs love routine. Meet those basic needs first. 

2. Walk in an area that is busy (if you can). I gravitate to walking on streets where there is reliable traffic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the dog can practice heeling in an area with a fair amount of distractions, and secondly, people in residential neighborhoods that live on busy roads are less likely to leave their dogs out and unattended in their front lawns. That means a lesser chance of a surprising dog-on-dog confrontation. 

3. Don't be a hero. If you see someone else walking their dog, cross the street. I do this everyday as I walk my own dogs. Trained dogs are rare. Suburban dogs see other dogs on leash, less frequently and as a result, they tend to be reactive (barking, lunging, growling etc). Just avoid threading the needle, be a courteous neighbor, protect your dog from the excited dog and keep on walking. -Remember your goal is to walk, not stop and kibbutz with every furry character and person you encounter. It's BAD ADVICE to make your dog sit and feed it "high value" stuff as it watches another dog walk by. 

4. Ear buds! I use my music wisely. If I'm on a stretch of the walk where I don't really need to do a lot of listening to my surroundings, I rock out. Lately, I've been really into Die Antword. Totally off topic but they're weird, and sometimes, I like a lil weirdness in my life. My point is, sometimes music can be a great accompaniment to the dog walking experience. Sometimes it's a drag though. Things like traffic, runners, and even off leash dogs can pop up out of nowhere...especially if you're rocking out and not hearing any incoming distractions. If you're confident you and your dog can hustle through surprises, cool! Ear bud-it-UP! 🙂 If your dog has more nuanced behavioral issues, I still recommend putting ear buds in, just don't turn your music on. Decoy ear buds make you look like you're listening to something, this way you look somewhat unapproachable. Other people are less likely to interrupt your walk. 

5. If you've got a dog that has massive issues with people and/or dogs, avoid walking the dog between 12 am and 3:30 am. Some of the most gangsta, dangerous, unbalanced dogs I have trained with were walked during those hours...it's not super safe out there. Schedule training with a balanced trainer near you. That way, you'll get actual results and be able to walk with your dog during daylight. 
Those are my fabulous five walking suggestions! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I'm happy to help with suggestions to improve your walking experiences.