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People all over the country walk thousands of miles each day, exercising and entertaining mankind’s furry, four-legged friends. Whether walking alone, with a friend or a colleague, dog walkers everywhere deserve a little extra gratitude! Many days we all need that extra push and a little self-discipline to get out and give Fido, and ourselves, some needed exercise.

Always have your dog on a leash unless you are in a dog park. Make sure your four-legged friend is wearing a properly fitted and comfortable collar allowing you to slip two fingers under the collar. A good fitting harness is very acceptable also. The best way to train your dog is with the use of their favorite treats and lots of healthy positive reinforcement. With these techniques, your dog will follow your pace and walk on your preferred side, in time. Most dogs will want to smell the neighborhood, mark their spots, and greet pedestrians along the way. Giving them the ability to do this will set the tone for better manners and make the walk more enjoyable for them.

Cleaning up after the dog is a no-brainer. Be prepared with poop bags so that none of your neighbors find an unpleasant surprise package in their yard. Keep in mind, everyone does not love dogs and some people do not even want a dog walking on their property. Vacant lots, wooded areas or even the road works out well for Fido to take care of his business.

Be on guard for other dog walking teams who might be passing by. Some dogs enjoy greeting other dogs along their walking path, but others may not be as cordial. It is always best to keep moving and keep dogs apart. No body wants to see or hear a dog fight; most importantly, you do not want your four-legged best friend to get injured or harm another dog.

Do not forget, walk time is bonding time. If you commit to a daily walk, you are ensuring your pet’s health and happiness. Our best friends have enriched our lives in so many ways and a long walk is a win-win for you both.

In the event you need some extra help in controlling your dog while leash walking or if you just want to help your dog learn to be more obedient, consider signing up for training with the Heartland Dog Club. Training is beginning on Tuesday, September 8th at the Highlands County Shrine Club. For additional information, call 863 – 368 – 1781.