Walk your dog mindfully – Ditch the cell phone

dog with cell phoneIf you had children that stayed at home all day while you were gone, would you choose the time you spend with them to talk on your cell phone, work, listen to music and do other things? Or would try to give them your undivided attention and listen to them when they spoke? When you arrive home at night and take your dog for a walk, do you give your dog your full attention, or are you distracted with things like phone calls and MP3s?

Dogs may not be our children, but they miss us when we’re gone and want our attention, too. Walking your dog mindfully and understanding this can both improve your dog’s safety and your relationship.

Distracted Owners

Many owners put the dog harness on their pet, hook on the dog leash and head out the door, already punching buttons on their cell phones. Calls, texts, videos and email are taken care of while walking their pet. While many people do like to multitask, and that walk is a chunk of time that you could use to do so, there are good reasons for avoiding it.

First, if you’re looking at your cell phone and giving it a lot of attention, that’s less attention your dog is getting. That also means you’re less likely to notice an approaching person, dog or car. Can your dog reach the street? Could he dash in the path of oncoming traffic? Could you get so distracted that a firm tug against the leash would yank it out of your hand?

Aside from these potential accidents waiting to happen, there’s the matter of bonding with your dog during this time together, too. If you’re texting, you can’t be praising or talking to your dog in anything more than a superficial way.

One on One Relating with Your Pet

Try to look at the evening walk or anytime you’re out with your pet as relationship time. You can still hook up the dog harness, then power walk and get your exercise while you walk your dog, but headphones that block everything else also separate you from your pet. Why not talk to your dog while you walk. React to things he reacts to. Comment on things he wants to stop and sniff. Be engaged.

Your dog has missed you, just like kids would miss you. Make it your time and your dog’s so your pet can get some of the undivided attention he’s been craving. And since interacting with our pets lowers blood pressure and relieves stress, it’s good for you, too.

EzyDog hopes you and your dog have a nice relaxing walk the next time you go out!