Walking your rescue dog can be a great bonding experience and a way to provide them with much-needed exercise, but it’s important to make sure that your dog feels safe and comfortable during walks. Here are some ways you can help your rescue dog feel safe on walks:
Use a comfortable, well-fitting harness or collar
A harness or collar that fits properly and doesn’t rub or chafe can help your dog feel more comfortable and secure during walks. When choosing a harness or collar, be sure to measure your dog’s neck or chest to ensure that it fits properly. A collar that is too loose can slip off or allow your dog to escape, while a collar that is too tight can cause discomfort or choking. A harness, on the other hand, evenly distributes the weight of the leash across your dog’s chest, which can be more comfortable for them and easier on their neck and back.
Use a short leash
Using a shorter leash can help you maintain better control of your dog and give them a sense of security. A leash that is too long can allow your dog to wander too far away, which can be stressful for them if they feel vulnerable or exposed. A shorter leash allows you to keep your dog close to you, which can help them feel more secure.
If your dog is new to walking or is anxious, start with short walks and gradually increase the distance as they become more comfortable. Allowing your dog to take things at their own pace can help them feel more relaxed and confident during walks.
Avoid crowded areas
If your dog is anxious around people or other dogs, try to avoid crowded areas and instead opt for quieter, less crowded routes. This can help reduce the chances of your dog becoming overwhelmed or anxious.
Reward good behavior
Rewarding your dog with treats or praise when they behave well during walks can help reinforce positive behavior and make them more comfortable. This can include things like walking calmly on a leash, ignoring distractions, or responding to commands.
Be aware of your body language
Make sure to use calm and relaxed body language during walks to help your dog feel more at ease. This can include maintaining a slow and steady pace, avoiding sudden movements, and speaking in a low, soothing tone.
Use calming aids
If your dog is particularly anxious, consider using calming aids such as a ThunderShirt or a calming pheromone spray to help them feel more relaxed. These aids can help to reduce anxiety and stress in your dog, which can make them more comfortable during walks.
By following these tips, you can help your rescue dog feel more comfortable and safe on walks, which will help to create a positive and enjoyable experience for both of you. Remember to always pay attention to your dog’s body language and behavior, and be willing to adjust your walking routine as needed to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable.