(avery) #1
Unstructured walks lead
to anarchy; you don’t
want to be that dog owner
who never sees her dog,
from the moment he has
his lead unclipped until
whenever he deigns
to reappear!
But the glory of walks
is the amount of freedom
that your dogs enjoy. You
can have both, if you only
arrange the walk with all
the cunning and foresight
the versatile human brain
can deploy.
First of all, put the
headphones away and
switch of your phone,
because this is the most
joyful time you can spend
bonding with your dog,
and your full attention
is necessary; the rest of
the world can wait for an
hour. First your dog will
probably need to have
a wee, so there is no point
in trying to interact until
he is comfortable. Then
it’s good for him to spend
10 minutes or so having
a casual snif about,
learning who and what
has passed by recently.
This can be of -lead if your
dog is reliable, or on-lead
if he is a work in progress.
If the latter, have a treat
in your hand before you
unclip the lead, gain your
dog’s attention: ‘Petal,
look!’ and throw the treat
behind you. This brings
his attention back to
i nding proximity to
you rewarding, rather
than him charging away
to i nd entertainment.
For best results, some
of the walk should be
training, some reinforcing
training already complete,
some allowing the
dog to investigate his
surroundings, stretch
his legs, enjoy a plethora
of scents, and generally
unwind at his own pace,
and 15 minutes of calming
at the end of the walk.

Wildlife is a challenge at any
time of year; never forget that
dogs are hunters by nature, no
matter how gentle they may
be in the home. Ditsy young
animals may not recognise that
they are in danger from dogs
until it is too late, and there
are ground-nesting birds to
consider as well.
Keep your dogs out of the
undergrowth, and watch out
for them suddenly getting
a scent and disappearing after
it — easier said than done!
Livestock will have young
as well; keep your dog
on-lead near sheep, for many
a reliable dog with sheep can
be completely undone by the
shrill bleats and erratic leaps
of lambs.
Cows with calves will often
attack dogs on sight, so keep
out of their i elds even if it
means turning back. Horses are
generally l ighty, and can hurt
us without really intending to,
so it’s best not to go into i elds
with these either, whether or
not they have foals.
Joggers and cyclists will

More on how to get the most out of your spring/summer walks. June issue
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On your walk, avoid
standing water that
might be contaminated
by run-of from
agrochemicals or
vehicles, and keep away
from ponds and lakes
that might contain
toxic blue algae. Fresh
running water is safer,
but check i rst for
dumped litter that
might injure your dog.


enjoy longer daylight time as
well, and may suddenly appear,
provoking your dog to chase or
even nip. Watch out for horse
riders, too, who are vulnerable
if a dog runs at them. Horses
defend themselves i rst, and
don’t wait to see if a dog means
it or not. They can injure
a dog badly if they panic and
lash out, or they might bolt,
endangering themselves, their
riders, and anyone in their path.
With an unreliable dog, it’s

best to put him on a short lead
anywhere you might encounter
something he might chase.
Other things that can af ect
dogs include l apping kites,
loud bangs from agricultural
bird-scarers, adders, which will
try to avoid us but are torpid in
cooler temperatures, and scary
looking noisy things in the
sky, such as hot-air balloons,
paragliders, and hang gliders,
drones, or model aircraft.
A pocketful of tasty treats
can make most potentially
frightening things a lot less
worrying, but ideally you have
to start the treat process before
the dog becomes reactive, so
keep a good lookout.
Remember, too, that there
are other walkers to consider,
such as elderly people, who
don’t welcome dogs that might
knock them over, and the very
young, whose parents might
not have warned them not to
charge up to a strange dog.
The quote: ‘The price of
freedom is eternal vigilance’ is
just as apt for our little world as
it is for wider issues.

“With an unreliable dog, it’s best

to put him on a short lead...”

14 Your Dog May 2019

Given the choice, most dogs
would opt for a woodland walk.

10-12 YD Walks CS(SW)ok.indd 14 26/03/2019 09: