Keeping Others Safe: How to Walk a Dog Safely
When you own a dog, taking it out for regular walks is an important part of making sure your pet gets the exercise and mental stimulation it needs to stay happy and healthy. Walking your dog also helps socialize it so that it better understands how to appropriately handle new people, other dogs, and new situations. But as you and your dog get out and explore the world around you, it’s very important that you take steps to make sure the people you meet along the way are protected from being bitten by your dog.
Get Familiar With Your Area’s Leash Laws
Michigan’s leash law states that all dogs need to be kept on a leash when it’s off the owner’s property, with exceptions being made for hunting dogs and working dogs who are working in the capacity they are trained to serve in. However, some cities have further requirements for dog owners regarding the types of leashes that need to be used. If you have any questions about the leash laws in your area, contact your city hall or a local dog bite lawyer.
Finding the Right Leash or Harness
The right leash or harness is one of the most effective ways to maintain control over your dog and protect other people. However, the right type of leash or harness largely depends on your dog and can take some trial and error to figure that out. For example, some dogs simply don’t like harnesses while some types of dogs might need harnesses if they have respiratory issues. The American Kennel Club has a guide to different types of leashes and harnesses so you can get an idea of which one might be best for your dog.
Generally speaking though, dog leashes should be between 4 and 6 feet long and made of a sturdy material. Retractable dog leashes often aren’t well suited for taking dogs on walks. A lot of dog owners get retractable dog leashes because their dog tends to pull on regular leashes, but retractable leashes actually encourage dogs to roam away from you. Retractable leashes also make it harder to maintain control over your dog and reduces your ability to get them out of a dangerous situation. You also can’t rely on the lock for a retractable leash to keep your dog safe — they have been known to break if the dog pulls with enough force.
A simple walk around the neighborhood can be extremely exciting for a dog. With so many things to see, dogs can easily get worked up about every bird, squirrel, person, or other dog they come across. Basic obedience training can go a long way in helping make your walks more productive and reducing the possibility they might bite someone else. Simple commands like “sit” and “stay” are commands every dog should know.
By keeping these simple steps in mind, you’ll be doing a lot to keep your dog and the general public safe at the same time!