Sat September 8, 2012
Walking the Dog
Taking your dog for a walk may seem like a nice thing to do for your best friend, but it can have benefits for you, as well!
A friend of mine is trying to lose some weight by cutting back on calories and increasing her activity. Her dog is more than happy to help with that second part, because my friend is taking her pet out for longer and more frequent walks. She benefits from getting more exercise and so does her furry little companion.
When walking a dog, the first thing you need is the right equipment – that would be a good leash, and a collar or harness. The leash should be sturdy enough to control your pet but not too heavy if it’s a smaller dog. The collar or harness should fit well enough that the animal can’t squirm out of it, but not so tight as to cause discomfort.
Even though your pet is on a leash, it should have some identification. An ID tag is a good idea, but tags and collars sometimes come off. Having your pet microchipped can provide additional identification in the unlikely event the two of you become separated.
If you want to be a good neighbor, clean up after your friend. You can invest in a fancy pooper scooper, or just carry a plastic bag. Almost any small bag will do – like those with a zip-type closure, or plastic grocery bags, even the bag your newspaper was delivered in. Just put it over your hand, scoop, and turn the bag inside out as you pull it off your hand. Zip it or tie it closed and dispose of it when you get home.
As you walk, pay attention to your surroundings. If you encounter people or animals, or have to walk close to traffic, shorten the leash to keep your pet close to your side where you can maintain control and protect your furry buddy.
Walking is good exercise for humans and pets, but like any activity you should start small. Take short walks at first, and gradually lengthen them as both of you build stamina and endurance.
My friend is finding that walking her dog has another benefit; spending time together in a shared activity is strengthening the bond between them. Companionship – that’s what it’s all about, when you’re speaking of pets.