Small dogs need as much exercise as large dogs, or even more. Despite their size, small dogs are more prone to heart disease and obesity compared to large dogs. Walking the dogs will help them to keep fit thus preventing them from developing health complications.
Small dogs are also known to be temperamental due to the famous “Napoleon’s Syndrome” Exposure to new people and animals and objects will help to eliminate fear aggression in your dog. Walking with the dog will help to stimulate its mind and this, in turn, prevents behavioral issues. Fortunately for American citizens, many cities in the USA are becoming more dog-friendly with the establishment of more dog parks and more cafes that accommodate people and their pets.
It does not matter how big your apartment is because your dog will still need to go outside. Walking small dogs is not as easy as it sounds and there are several factors you need to consider to ensure that you and your dog do not encounter any trouble along the way. Here are a few useful tips on walking with small dogs in the city.
Keep Your Dog Leashed At All Times
A leash will enable you to be in control of your dog when it acts out. Your dog may be alarmed by sudden noises and movements which are common in the city. The leash provides you with a means to pull your dog back when it suddenly charges at a person or when it attempts to get away from the noise, and this ensures the safety of your dog and that of passers-by. Also, ensure that the leash is not retractable because then you will lose control of your dog.
The leash should be held securely in your hand so that it doesn’t get pulled out when the dog runs after someone or something. And, if your dog is not friendly you can use a yellow leash or attach a yellow ribbon on the leash to notify people not to pet it.
Let Your Dog Walk Ahead Of You
Dogs are usually trained to walk at the left side of their owners. Many people think that a dog shouldn’t walk in front of its owner because it is a sign of dominant behavior, but this is not always the case. There are many reasons for the dog to lead the way and it is advisable to let your dog walk slightly ahead of you so that you can have a full view of the dog and monitor its every movement.
Avoid Busy Sidewalks And Roads
Small dogs should not walk on busy sidewalks because people might not see them which might lead to them accidentally stepping on them. Your dog might also be anxious when it is around too many people. The best solution is to walk with your dog in areas with fewer people, or if you do need to use the populated sidewalk, you can carry your dog until you reach a less populated area.
If you have to cross a busy road teach your dog to wait for your cue before crossing. The dog should learn to wait at curbs until it is safe to cross to avoid getting hit accidentally by moving vehicles.
Bring A Dog Carrier Backpack
Dog carrier backpacks are a must have for all small dog owners. A dog carrier backpack comes in handy when your dog is fearful or aggressive. The carrier backpacks are also excellent if you are walking over a long distance or if you want to go outside with your dog but don’t want it to walk. There are many varieties of backpacks for you to choose from and you can go for one that best suit your needs as well as those of your dog.
Clean After Your Dog’s Mess
No one has a problem with a dog pooping in public – they are answering to nature’s call after all. The problem arises when dog owners do not clean the mess after their dog is done. No one wants to step on it or smell it. Your dog might need to go doo-doo at some point during the walk, and you should be prepared. Always carry a poop bag with you to pick up the dog’s mess and throw it in the nearest trash can because who would want to walk around the city with a used poop bag?
Keep The Weather In Mind
Unshielded sidewalks will most likely become way hotter especially during the hot summer sun, and this can cause damage to your dog’s pads. Avoid walking with your dog during the hottest part of the day. If you really have to walk under the hot sun use sidewalks that are shielded from the sun or have your dog wear protective boots designed for dogs. You can also carry your dog to cooler paths.
During the winter you should also avoid the sidewalk since most cities use chemicals to remove the ice and these could be harmful to your dog. You should also discourage your dog from running as this might cause you to slip and hurt yourself.
Lose The Phone
Walking with your dog means you need to give it your full attention. This is the time that you spend quality time and bond with your dog. Mobile phones have been known to cause a lot of distraction and the consequences for this can be regrettable in the city. You might become too occupied with your phone while you are walking your dog and you won’t be able to prevent it from getting into harm’s way, for example, a speeding car. Therefore, you should keep your phone away unless it is really necessary to use it.
Don’t Leave Your Dog By Itself
You might need to pick something from the store which unfortunately does not allow pets inside. It might seem harmless to tie your dog to a pole and rush into the store quickly, but we strongly advise against doing this. Leaving your dog alone might cause it to become nervous; it might escape its collar and run away. Some people might also steal your dog when they find it by itself. Find somewhere safe or a trustworthy person to leave your dog with.
Ensure that your dog has undergone proper obedience training before going with it for a walk. Obedience training should be done at a young age to enable the dogs to learn at the right place. An obedient dog will not give you a hard time while walking with it, and this is exactly what you need when in the city. Also before you head out, make sure that you know where you are going with your dog and the policies of the place concerning dogs, that way you can be mentally prepared and know what to do in case the policies do not favor dogs.