Why read a book on a “simple” activity such as dog walking?
All you need is a dog, a leash, and a collar right?
Theoretically, yes. But to fully engage yourself and your dog in public, there are many factors that will need to be addressed. Some factors will be obvious, such as how to keep yourself and your dog safe. Some factors will be subtle, such as the need for socially accepted manners in interactions with others on your route. Some factors will be complete surprises, such as walking route dangers, hazards, and encounters.
I have been a daily dog walker for almost thirty years. I have never found a comprehensive guide for all the situations I have found myself in with my dogs. City (urban) and neighborhood (suburban) walking is rife with complications that present confusing scenarios for all dog owners. Our duties as sensitive pet guardians encompass:
- making sure our dogs are safe
- ensuring a fun, positive and pleasant form of physical and mental exercise for them
- making sure our dogs’ behaviors (and our own) are socially responsible
Walking outside of your dog’s natural environment
Walking dogs in environments meant for human habitation means that our dogs are forced into unnatural environments for their species. Dog walking is not “easy” every day, or in every scenario. This book is a culmination of experiences I have had—and learned from—in which I felt uneasy, unsafe, or unknowledgeable. Because my dog families have encompassed a wide variety of breeds, ages, sizes, weights, and intelligence levels, I gathered what I believe is a comprehensive package of advice for dog walkers who truly wish to provide their canine exercise buddies with the most rewarding, deeply bonding and enjoyable experiences.
In this book I cover the history of dog-human companionship, the development of shared living environments and lifestyles, what dogs need in those lifestyles, dog-human partnership philosophy, equipment needed for safe and enjoyable walking together, dog-human communication, community manners, and dog-human safety. I discuss encounters with automobile traffic, environmental hazards, bicyclists, skateboarders, runners, wildlife, and other dogs (on-leash, off-leash, stray, shy, aggressive, friendly).
Being Safe, Having Fun
I hope that this information will help you provide your vulnerable dog with the protection, enjoyment, companionship, and advocacy every dog deserves. My goal is to help you see the human world through your dog’s eyes so that you will be prepared to plan for your dog’s needs. Although many people love their dogs as their children, they must see the world as their dog does— which in many cases is not that different from the way a toddler sees.
Trusting, naïve, vulnerable and focused on you, your dog will need you to see before she sees, and need you to understand how she mentally and emotion- ally processes novel stimuli. You must also be prepared to advocate for your dog and protect her.
I hope this information helps you become the benevolent leader your dog deserves. She trusts you with her life and addressing her needs should be your top priority.