Autumn, my favourite season, is once more closing in and the fields and lanes lay golden with leaves in the weakening daylight. Walking alone with dogs through the seasons really provides you with a special view of nature. From the birds preparing their nests for winter to the blackberries ripening on the bush - we are so lucky to live in this beautiful town with such richness in the natural world around us.
It helps to take a walk in nature whether you're a dog walker or not! Walking is good exercise for the body and mind, and helps you to not only bond with your pet but meet other people and socialise your dog/s with theirs.
If you want your dog to have a great experience on their walk and for you to enjoy and take advantage of the benefits of a peaceful stroll in the countryside, it is important that a few basic guidelines are followed:
- Be aware of other dogs and people near you so you can be prepared for any unexpected situations.
- If a dog is approaching you on the lead, be sure to put yours on also to avoid any on/off lead aggression. It may be that the other dog is not good with contact or is unwell or recovering from injury and if you allow your dog to bound up to them (no matter how friendly), this could cause many problems for both parties so be polite and considerate of others' needs.
- If it is your dog who struggles with other dogs' contact (and it's very common, especially with rescue dogs), there are a things you can do; 1) Have your dog wear a product from Yellow Dog UK who raise awareness for dogs who need space - visit their website, it's a great resource for owners of nervous dogs but can also educate the rest of us. If we truly love dogs we should all support each other to ensure ALL dogs can live a peaceful life. And 2) Politely ask the owner to keep their dog on lead just while you pass as yours is nervous/injured etc. I've had mixed responses to this second approach as some owners cannot understand why they should help to manage interactions so a combination of both approaches along with a friendly, calm conversation should do the trick.
- Carry plenty of treats for bribery/distraction!!