5 Dog Walking Safety Tips for the Apartment Dweller

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5 Dog Walking Safety Tips for the Apartment Dweller

Staff Writer · Jun 2, 2010

Dog walking is a great way for you and the dog to exercise and have some fun. Dogs need the stimulation and exercise from walking outdoors. However, living in an apartment with other residents requires that you take certain precautions when walking your pet. The following 5 tips will help keep you and your dog and the other resident’s safe.

1. Always Use a Leash

For you, your dog and your neighbor’s safety, you should never walk your dog without having him on a leash. A leash prevents your dog from jumping into the street or running away from you towards other dogs or people. You can never predict any dog’s behavior, and a leash is the best way to control your dog against attacking another dog or running after a person.

The leash you use should be strong and properly attached to your dog’s collar. Although they are popular, retractable leashes give you less control when walking your dog and also snap more easily. Do not buy a very long or very short leash; the length of the leash should place your dog two steps away from you at all times. Additionally, using a harness rather than a collar is a great way to obtain more control over your dog’s movements.

2. Tread the Stairs Carefully

The place where your dog has the biggest chance of falling is on the staircase in your building. A small dog could fall down between the stairs and be seriously injured. For small dogs, it may be best to pick them up and carry them down the stairs. A larger dog could take up too much space on the stairs, making it impossible for others to use them at the same time. In this instance, teach your dog to walk slowly down the stairs and to wait to let other residents use them first before him. Be consistent with the lessons and, if necessary, practice them several times a day.

3. Never Approach Strange Animals or People

While you know that your dog is a sweetheart, you don’t know this about the other dogs you see on your walk. Never approach unknown animals or people with your dog as it may cause the dogs to become aggressive. If you cannot avoid an encounter with another dog, keep the leash tight and shorten it so that you can retreat if the other dog becomes aggressive. If a neighbor approaches you and begins to pet your dog, make sure to watch your dog for signs of aggression or fear, as in both these situations he may lash out at the person and bite.

4. Know Your Route

Prior to taking your dog on walks, know the general route you will take. This will prevent you from knowing what hazards you must look out for or avoid, such as construction, playgrounds with small children, or uneven terrain. Create two or three routes for your dog’s walk so that your dog does not become confused or overexcited and begins to pull on the leash or walk erratically.

5. Be Safe

As with any walk, it is important that you first consider your safety. Do not walk in poorly lit or dangerous areas or late at night. Be smart about where and when you walk and listen to your instinct; if your instinct tells you that something isn’t right about where you are currently walking, leave the area and go home.

Walking your dog is not only pleasurable for your dog but also for yourself. Be careful about where and when you walk and always make sure that your dog is properly restrained with a strong collar and leash.

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