Woman dog walking in mud.

4 Dog Walking Disasters & How to Avoid Them

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Common Dog Walk Mishaps & How to Deal with Them

In theory, dog walking is simple. It’s a jolly jaunt with your best friend or a happy hike through the hills. But it’s not always a walk in the park. Every now and then, disaster strikes, leaving your dog wet, muddy, and perhaps even stinky. And if you have a new puppy that’s just learning the dog walking ropes, the last thing you want is for your four-legged friend to associate a friendly stroll with unfriendly results.

To keep your routine walks on the up and up, we’ve highlighted some common dog walking disasters and how to avoid them:

1. Skunked

Skunks stink. It’s a fact. But with a little planning and careful observation, you can reduce your chances of bringing home a rancid rover. If your dog gets sprayed, quickly blot the area with paper towels to remove as much as possible and follow proper skunk treatment. Finish up with an odor control shampoo to keep them smelling fresh.

  • Be alert – Skunks are nocturnal, so pay more attention at night. Avoid high grassy areas and look for den entrances. They’re usually located under wood and rock piles, hollow trees, buildings, porches, and rock crevices. And remember, if you smell a skunk, they’re likely near.

  • Bring a high-powered flashlight – Always try to walk your puppy in well-lit areas, but bring a flashlight when you can’t. It’ll help you spot those skunk dens that you want to avoid.

  • Distance. Distance. Distance – These little animals won’t spray unless they feel threatened, so maintaining your distance is key. If you find yourself face-to-face with a skunk, make sure to slowly back away. You don’t want to scare them with sudden movements.

2. Eating Something Bad

Dogs are naturally curious. And they love to eat—long grass, garbage; it’s all up for grabs. Combine curiosity with a voracious appetite and you have a recipe for trouble. Dogs that develop the habit of eating things on the ground put themselves at risk for ingesting poisonous or harmful hazards. To avoid this:

  • Bring treats as rewards – Distract them from sniffing around for food by giving them treats when they listen. Walks tend to work up an appetite and you get bonus points for using positive reinforcement.

  • Be the leader – It’s important to stay in charge. If your dog continues to get distracted and pull you, shorten the leash to give them less room to roam.

  • Feed them before walks – Your pet will have more energy for a walk and won’t be searching for food.

3. Mud and Burs

Anything can happen if you let your dog rule the walk. Let them roam and they’re bound to find that one lone mud puddle or bur bush. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Plan your route – You’ve traveled that dirt path before and the weather calls for rain. Maybe it’s best to stick to the sidewalk this time around.

  • Conditioner prevents burs – We’ll key you in on a little secret. Burs have a hard time sticking to well-conditioned fur. A 4-in-1 shampoo should do the trick.

  • Don’t let your dog off their leash – The best way to prevent them from venturing too far is to maintain control.

4. Stuck in a Storm

We know that storms can be tough. They might even be a dog’s worst nightmare. With a little planning and helpful advice, you can reduce the stresses of stormy weather.

  • Check for alerts – Sometimes, nature calls and you have to take your dog out. We’ve been there. But never underestimate the power of even a 10% chance of rain. Check the weather forecast first thing in the morning to guide your routine.

  • Don’t venture far from home – It happens to the best of us—we try to get that walk in before the rain and don’t quite make it back before the downpour. If you know it’s coming, change your route to stay closer to shelter.

  • Ditch the wet dog smell – It’s not exactly potpourri. If you do get caught in a storm, make sure to properly dry your dog. For a quick fix, try an odor neutralizer spray. It’s fast, easy and naturally removes odors without adding new scents.

Dog parenting can be fun, but we also know it can be a handful. Have some dog or puppy parenting advice to share? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and let us know. Find more tips and advice in the article section of our website.

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