Time for You and the Dog to Shape Up: Tips for Lakewood Dog Walking

As springtime arrives, many people become motivated to get into better shape. Most people do better with an exercise routine if they have a partner to keep them company. However, human partners can be unreliable. They have work schedules, appointments and families to disrupt their routines. Dogs, however, make great exercise partners since they are always ready to go, they never have appointment conflicts and they often nag you to get going.

Many folks have turned to dog walking as a means to become more fit. Not only does walking burn calories, but it provides other health benefits like reducing blood pressure. In addition to helping the owner, dog walking provides great health benefits for the dog. With a rising percentage of American dogs now considered overweight, dog walking is a "win-win" proposition. Here are tips to remember to become a better dog walker:

*ALWAYS PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET –You are responsible for cleaning your dog’s mess, so make sure to bring along a pooper scooper or some plastic bags. When the bag is placed over the hand you can pick up what you have to, turn the bag inside out, and tie the end closed. Be sure to bring multiple bags, as nature sometimes calls more than once, especially on longer walks

*USE COMMON SENSE -- Make sure your pet is properly trained. If your dog jumps on people (even if it's just being friendly), it should be kept away from pedestrians, especially kids and seniors. Also, if your pet is aggressive or overexcited toward other dogs, it should get training. There are many obedience schools in and around Lakewood.

*ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH –No matter how well you think your dog is trained, it is far too dangerous to let a dog walk off-leash. Our busy Lakewood streets offer numerous temptations for your dog to dart off – these include other dogs, cats, squirrels, cars, etc.

*VARY YOUR ROUTINE – With a town as walkable as Lakewood, you should consider varying your walking routine. Instead of walking the same route each day, try walking in some different routes. Lakewood has numerous fine quiet side streets for you and your pet to enjoy. Dogs enjoy visiting new streets because they can explore all the new sights and smells of each street. If your dog is very social, take him down one of Lakewood’s busy streets like Detroit or Madison. If he’s lucky, some human pedestrians may ask to pet him. Also, don’t forget that the nearby Metroparks offers fantastic scenery for a pleasant stroll (plus, the Lakewood Dog Park is nearby). However, Lakewood City Parks are off limits to dogs.

*GRADUALLY EXTEND YOUR WALKS – Just like humans, each dog has its own fitness level. If your dog is accustomed to 20 minute walks, it may not be a good idea to take him on a two hour walk across Lakewood. If your dog is older or overweight, you should ease the pet into gradually longer walks. Also, if you are going on a longer walk, take breaks. Lakewood's commercial streets (Detroit and Madison) have numerous public benches which offer an ideal rest stop.

*BRING WATER – Unlike humans, dogs cannot sweat, and are susceptible to overheating. Although hot summer days are the most dangerous, dogs can overheat in mild temperatures, too. So make sure that you bring along plenty of water for both you and your pet. Have a bowl or cup for the dog to drink from. Easy-to-carry collapsible dog bowls are available at most pet stores.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 2:11 PM, 03.15.2007