One of the simple pleasures of being a dog is, being off-leash in a park or an open field and running and playing to their heart’s content.
Most dogs love to get outdoors to exercise, play, explore, and sniff new things.
Many dog owners like to take their pooches off-leash while walking or hiking in the woods. The woods are filled with different smells, scents, and lots of small and interesting critters dogs love to investigate. The woods can be fun, but they can also be hazardous if you’re not prepared.
In the woods, there are things that can harm your dog without them or you knowing it. So before you ‘release the hounds’, and take their leash off, make sure you are ready.
Below are tips to help keep your dog safe during Woodland Walks.
Establish Your Authority
In woodland walks, there is a need for your dog to stick to the path and not stray too far. In some areas, the ground might not be stable, and if it rained the night before, it could give way under the weight of your dog.
Unstable footing is especially true around the edges of paths and rivers. So, before you head into the great outdoors, you need to establish your authority as your dog’s pack leader.
Basic obedience will strengthen the bond with your dog and ensure they are well-behaved and under control even when off-leash.
If you want to let your dog loose off-leash, it’s essential to teach your dog to come to you when called.
Start with your dog on a leash and place them into a sitting position. Tell them to stay and walk a short distance in front of them. Call them to you and reel them in with your leash to ensure success. Reward with verbal praise, physical affection, play, and treats.
Repeat this over and over and gradually increase the distance between you and your dog. Eventually, you will remove your dog’s leash and continue to practice the here command.
A solid here command will make your woodland walks safer. If your dog is in danger or wandering too far out in front of you, call your dog back to you with confidence, and don’t forget to praise them for listening to you.
Wash Your Pooch
Woodland walks will result in a happy and tired dog when it’s time to go home. However, being exposed to mud, water, wet moss, and rotten wood can result in your dog acquiring ticks.
Thoroughly check your dog after each woodland adventure. Bathing or at least rinsing your dog after every outing is recommended.
A good wash will remove mud and irritants and gives you a chance to feel for ticks on your dog’s neck, ears, tail, belly, inner thighs, armpits, and legs.
If you find a tick or ticks on your dog, don’t try to take them out yourself. Pulling a tick out of your dog may remove the body but leave the mouth of the tick behind, leading to further inflammation.
Give your dog a chewy Nexgard Spectra treat, once or twice a month. It combats ticks, fleas, and allergy dermatitis. It’s also good protection against mites and worms.
The biggest fear dog owners have about woodland walks is their dog chasing after a critter. If your dog takes off, the key is to stay calm.
If your dog is chasing after something, their instinctive prey drive has kicked in. Your dog may not respond to you calling them because they are focused on the chase, or they don’t hear you due to distance.
Try to keep your dog in your line of vision and repeatedly keep calling your dog as loud as you can. When the chase ends, and the adrenaline subsides, your dog will snap back into their sensible self. When they finally come back to you, please don’t make the mistake of scolding them for running off. They will think you are punishing them for returning to you, which will make them less likely to comply with your here command in the future.
Woodland walks provide exercise, fresh air, and adventure for you and your dog. Spend the time implementing basic obedience commands and taking precautionary measures after every woodland walk outing to keep your dog safe and healthy.