Dog-walking safety: stay in control, protect against other dogs, predators

e9d139fa-031a-41e4-ae30-4c5ff95227c0All dog owners love the chance to let their dog have a good run and get some exercise.  But save any off-leash running for the dog park as letting your dog out of your control just anywhere could result in serious injury or worse.

When walking your dog in public, make sure you have complete control.  This means the leash – no more than SIX FEET in length – should be firmly in your hand.  Avoid using a retractable leash unless you are in a fenced-in yard or dog park.  Even though you may be comfortable with, and trust YOUR dog’s behavior, you cannot control OTHER dogs who can quickly approach and distract your dog.

If you have a SMALL dog (or any pet), say 15 pounds or less – be on the lookout for birds of prey, like hawks, that can quickly snatch small pets.  When hungry, hawks and other predator birds are not intimidated by humans and can act in the blink of an eye with heartbreaking consequences.  Also be on the lookout for coyotes and foxes that are becoming more prevalent in urban and suburban areas, especially during dusk and dawn hours.

Finally, avoid using your cell phone while walking your dog.   This includes talking, texting, tweeting and all cell phone activity.  It can and will distract you from all of the above.  It can also take your attention away from oncoming traffic.  Instead, enjoy this time with your pet.

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