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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Walking Your Dog

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Jack Russell terrier wearing red harness to show mistakes to avoid when walking your dog

Spring is just around the corner! Many people are outside with their dogs, walking the neighborhood trails and playing catch with them! To get the most enjoyment from walking your dog, here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Playing Follow the Leader

Allowing your dog to lead the way on a walk sends him the message he is in charge. This can affect other aspects of your relationship. Remember! Who’s walking whom here?

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Not Picking Up After Your Dog

It is nice to have your dog take care of his business in YOUR yard before you depart for your walk, but have potty bags handy in the event your dog decides to leave his mark elsewhere while on your walk.

How embarrassing would it be to have your dog make a deposit on your neighbor’s lawn and have no means to pick it up and dispose of it?

Too Little Tension On the Leash

Having little to no give on the leash can actually create stress for your dog, which leads to unwanted pulling and added strain. Relax, yet remain assertive. The best leash position is loose by your side with relaxed shoulders.

Using Retractable Leash

These leashes are dangerous in many ways. I’ve found them harder to hold onto than regular nylon leashes.

I’ve also had a retractable leash wrap around my hand, and on another occasion around my leg.  They cut through the skin, which is very painful!

I’ve had trouble getting them to lock the few times I’ve been forced to use them.  This can prove deadly, especially if your dog decides to run too close to the road.

A safer alternative is a nylon leash (1-2 inches wide, depending on size of your dog), that’s 4-6 feet long.

Nylon leashes have a loop to put over your arm to give added security so your dog doesn’t get away. Many are reflective which makes it easier for you to be seen in the dark.

Ill-Fitting Collar or Harness

An ill-fitting collar or harness can do more damage and make an otherwise fun walk quite unpleasant. When walking small dogs in particular, harnesses are a good investment.

If a small dog pulls, the collar can injure his trachea. This often results in coughing, a warning sign of potential injury.  Wearing a harness protects the dog’s trachea from injury.

To determine the right fit before purchasing a harness, use a tape measure to identify your dog’s throat and chest (where the harness would fasten behind the front legs) size. There are many options available, I got a velcro step-in version, since my dog doesn’t really like things that go over her head.

Allow a small amount of space (should be able to slide fingers underneath it), but not so much the dog could slip out of it.  It’s a good idea to take your dog with you when picking out a harness. Try it on your dog first to ensure the fit is correct before purchasing.


If the weather is optimal for getting out there and walking your dog where you live, then I suggest you get to it! You will have fun, get some exercise and maybe even meet someone new!

Need some help walking your dog during the day while you’re at work?  We can help you with that!  For information on our dog walking and other services, go to our Services page, we’d love to hear from you!







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