Is it YOUR walk or THEIR walk?

Often we say “I need to walk the dog” or “I’m taking the dogs for a walk”, but who is the walk really for?

Our beloved furbabies wait for their food, wait for us to come home and wait for us to take them out on a walk. I feel the least we can do is give them a little bit of control as we walk to allow them an opportunity to explore the world in their way!

A couple of months back I saw a very old, slow dog walking with their pet parent. I loved how the pet parent would walk behind his dog, just giving his dog time and space. It was beautiful seeing such a patient and kind pet parent. It wasn’t about the pet parent pulling his dog along while he got his exercise and the dog just tagged along, it was for the dog and about the dog. It was beautiful.💕💕

dog on lead looking at owner

Just recently I saw a female pet parent walking her dog on the footpath. As I parked my car ready to see get out and see my patient I waited to see what would happen. The lady walked forward slowly as her dog had stopped behind her, the dog actually had edged toward the curb pulling the lead taut. The pet parent turned back and I was so close I could hear her say “You want to cross the road, ok” and then she and her dog did. Such a refreshing thing to see, as opposed to the many (myself once included) who pull them in the direction we want to maintain the speed we want to cover the path in the time we want.

Certainly now I am also more mindful of pulling their lead to make them move in my direction because I don’t also want to injure their necks/shoulders. Of course I still have set paths, this is because I have a plan for different exercises. One day we will go one way with a hill and another day we will go another wat to a quiet street to do curb walking. Also, I still make them cross the road if I see dogs ahead on our side! (Walking two 30kg dogs when they see other dogs is just too hard for me so I avoid at all costs!)

The way I have changed my perception of the walks is to intentionally give them the time and space to smell and move where they please. Of course safety first and I’m not silly enough to let them choose a path they, or I, could get hurt on, but it makes the walk more pleasant when the goal is for them to get out and explore as opposed to me getting my half hour walk!

dog walk

So, take home messages:

– it’s THEIR walk, it’s not all about us!

– let them explore (safely)

– if they’re not in any danger, don’t pull on their lead with great force to make them change direction as this may cause injury

– Allow them the time to smell outside messages and leave lots of their own!

Here’s to helping your dog live and move well,

Kylie ❤ 🐾

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