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How to tailor a dog walk to meet your dog’s needs

Dogs of different ages, breeds and health have different requirements. When it comes to a dog walk, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. Here are some things to consider before you set out.

A puppy’s requirements

Unlike older dogs, puppies should only take short walks so that they don’t tire too quickly. Whilst on a walk, you’ll want to consider training them as part of the outing. Make sure you have everything you need with you before you set out, whether that’s a clicker or treats, to teach them the basics.

A senior dog’s requirements

Similar to the requirements of a puppy, a senior dog may need shorter walks than a younger, more active dog, especially if they have joint problems or a pre-existing medical condition. Consider where you are going to walk your dog and make sure you are able to cut the walk short if your senior dog seems to be struggling.

Interactive toys

Many dogs might find just walking boring, so to keep them entertained on the walk, take toys to play their favourite outdoor game whilst you are out on the walk. This could be a ball, frisbee or tug toy.

Walk speed

Make sure you walk at your dog’s pace, rather than forcing them to walk at your pace. This might mean you need to walk slower than you are used to for puppies, older dogs or small breeds. Many dog owners like the idea of running with their dog or getting their dog to run alongside them whilst they cycle. Only do this if your dog enjoys it and has the energy to keep up.

Walk route

You can choose where to take your dog for a walk, but it’s a good idea to let your dog choose the specific route so that they can get the most out of their walk and the most enrichment from it. This means that rather than forcing your dog to stick to the path, allow them to wander to investigate the undergrowth or choose which path you both take. Dogs get enjoyment from being able to investigate the environment around them. Turn the walk into an adventure by exploring new places or wooded areas that offer lots of places to explore and things to climb on.

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