Dog walking is not always what you want to do first thing in the morning or after a long day at work, but it is essential for your dogs well being, both physically and mentally. If you can’t take your dog for a long walk everyday, try to do a one or two hour walk on the weekend, or when you have a day off, to make up for it. Your dog will appreciate it very much!

If you’re going on a longer walk, make sure that you’re prepared since you won’t be right around the corner from your home. Below is a list of five tips for walking your dog to make it fun for the both of you.

1. Sniffing

Walking your dog is great for exercise, however, dogs require mental stimulation too which can be achieved through sniffing. Dogs have an immense need to explore their surroundings to understand what’s going on in the world which can be achieved by sniffing.

Of course, the entire walk shouldn’t be about your dog sniffing. Just make sure to loosen the leash in safe, but not busy, area several times during your walk. Dogs need to stimulate their minds just like people and they do so by exploring the neighbourhood through smells to understand their surroundings.

2. Front Clip Harness

If your dog pulls on the leash frequently during your walks, make use of a front clip harness as opposed to dog collars and harnesses that clip on the back. In fact, other harnesses and collars can increase the amount of times your dog pulls on the leash because when you tug on it to get your dog’s attention, they will be distracted by something else.

Keep in mind that a front clip harness won’t fix everything. You still need to take the time to train your dog to walk at a relaxed pace and not get distracted easily.

3. Hot Surfaces and Salt

Dogs don’t wear shoes like we do, they’re always walking on the bare part of their paws. In the summer, hot pavement, sand or any other surface can be harmful to your dog’s paws. Avoid walking your dog in extreme heat or hot surfaces, try to go to the park instead where there is less harmful surfaces such as grass.

If you’re ever unsure if it’ll be okay for your dog, put your bare foot on the pavement or other surface to test it. If it’s uncomfortable for you, it’ll be uncomfortable for your dog.

On the other hand, there is lots of salt on the ground during the winter to control ice and snow. This salt can hurt your dogs paws because it is coarse. There are protective booties that you can buy for your dog, although, not all dogs enjoy wearing them. Try to find paths that have the least amount of salt for the winter time.

4. Water

Hydration is very important for both you and your dog, especially for long walks on sunny days. Although, dogs especially need water because they have a harder time regulating their heat. Dogs sweat out of their mouths, as opposed to their skin, which is why they’re so prone to overheating.

There are a variety of products out there for providing water for your dog while walking. Often, these specialized products make it easier for your dog to drink out of compared to a regular water bottle.

5. Bring Treats

Not only will your dog get hungry on long walks, treats are an incentive for your dog not to get distracted by every little thing. This is particularly effective for certain breeds of dogs like the Siberian husky puppies. Dog treats can be expensive, try feeding your dog fruits or veggies, some dogs end up loving them!