Walking Your Dog in Westport, MA: Are You Doing It All Wrong?

All dogs are not created equal. In fact, different breeds require different things with regard to care and feeding. Studies also show that dogs of different ages and stages have different requirements as well. Pure breed or mixed breed, your dog has inherited genetic traits that determine what will help him to thrive. This includes diet, exercise, discipline, and training. Every dog is different. Westport pet owners need to learn as much as they can about the breed so they can provide the proper care in return.

That being said, a visit to your local veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth can provide you with a lot of valuable insight. Some dogs have pre-disposed traits due to their breed, such as a dog scared of loud noises. There can also be anxiety issues in dogs, either due to experiences that they had prior to adoption or from an accident or another incident. Thunder and lightning are common triggers for dogs and behavior issues, as well as firecrackers around certain patriotic holidays. The more you know about your dog, the better.

Why Walking is Important
When it comes to raising and training a dog, walking can be extremely important. Westport pet owners would do good to walk their dog daily, weather permitting. Some dogs don’t even mind a walk in the rain or on the snow, just make sure that you take proper precautions to protect their feet and the pads on their feet from damage. For example, walking a dog on extremely hot asphalt or on freshly salted sidewalks will do a lot of damage to their pads. It pays to err on the side of caution or invest in a good pair of foot protection if your dog enjoys all-weather walks.

Walking is an activity that provides a wide range of stimulation, both mentally and physically. Regular daily walks help prevent your dog from becoming bored, which is the number one cause of destructive behavior. In other words, if you don’t want Fido to “eat” your couch while you are at work, make sure that he is being properly stimulated when you are at home. If that doesn’t help, there’s always crate training. Many dogs have instincts that are not being satisfied living as pets in a comfortable home. Chasing down prey, herding sheep, safeguarding a home – these are all traits that have been bred into the various breeds, and if their needs aren’t being met, a variety of bad behaviors and anxiety issues in dogs can arise.

What You Need to Do
Regardless of the breed, there are three things that you need to do in order to properly exercise your dog. The first is to walk your dog routinely. While you might not be able to do it every day, you should at least do it a couple times each week. You also need to make the most of the activity and use it for training purposes. The more time you spend with your dog working on the basic discipline of walking, the better off he will be. The third thing that you need to do is to teach your dog what is known in the dog training business as “basic leash manners,” which are extremely important to the benefit of your dog.

When it comes right down to it, there are four primary reasons why it is good to walk your dog. Exercise and training are first and foremost. While you might think that urinating and defecating are important, and they are, these things can be done in the backyard off-leash and do not require a walk around the block or the park. The fourth benefit is to engage your dog mentally, allowing him to sniff the outdoors, other dogs, places where other animals have been, and learn basic socialization with people and pets. Walking is really an important part of dog ownership. If you don’t have time to walk your dog, you might want to get a cat.

Teach Your Puppies Well
The best time to teach a dog how to be a good walker is when they are puppies. That being said, older dogs CAN learn new tricks, especially if you have adopted a senior dog or another type of rescue. These dogs are extremely grateful to have a caring and loving home situation, and will often respond well to any kind of training. Give them time to get used to the new rules and routine, but keep up with the training each and every day. Start by getting them used to the new collar or harness, the feel of the leash, and the basic rules of obedience.

Westport pet owners should commit to bringing their new puppy or dog to visit the veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for regular check-ups, vaccinations, and other routine visits. If you are experiencing anxiety issues in dogs, displayed either in behavior issues or outright fear, such as a dog scared of loud noises or other animals, you will want to speak with the vet about finding a solution. In some cases, behavioral training, prescription medication, or a combination of both, can do wonders. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about all of the services that we provide.