How to Socialize Your Dog

Socialization is the process of exposing dogs to new environments and situations. It helps them to feel more comfortable when encountering new things, animals, people and experiences. It is important to socialize your dog so you can share the best quality of life together. Dogs are the most receptive between three to twelve weeks old to new experiences, but there are several ways to socialize them no matter their age.

Walk your dog daily or as frequently as possible. Dog walks are great opportunities for your four-legged friend to see and possibly meet other dogs and people.  It is a great way to practice proper behavior when and train them on new situations. Walking your dog on a regular basis will also allow them to work out their energy to make them calmer and more submissive.

Don’t pull back on the leash or yell at your dog if they bark or increase the excitement level while making your dog associate the experience in a negative way. Maintain a calm-assertive energy with a quick tug of the leash sideways, or touch. 

National Take A Hike Day is November 17th

National Take a Hike day is observed each year on November 17th.  With over 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there is no lack of opportunity to take a hike. Being one of the dog friendliest towns in the country, there are limitless outdoor options in Austin that include taking your fur baby along for day excursions.   

Take a nice hike and use #NationalTakeAHikeDay to post on social media.

Hiking can burn between 400-550 calories per hour.  So take a snack, bring your best buddy, and enjoy the fresh air in your favorite Austin scenic spot.  Here are a few of our favorite dog friendly spots in the area:

Dog hiking

Butler Hike Trail

 

This one is a 10-mile loop around Lady Bird Lake, stretching from MoPac on the western edge to Pleasant Valley on the eastern edge. This wide, flat trail passes numerous Austin landmarks, including Zilker Park, the Long Center, and the towers of downtown.

 

Walnut Creek Park Trails

 

This is 5 miles of mostly moderate shady trails with a few steep sections. Several of the trails cross the creek. This park has an off-leash area.

 

Bull Creek Greenbelt Trail

 

This is a great location with various bodies of water from creeks that run shallow and rapid in some spots, but collects in gentle pools in others with several waterfalls and swimming spots. The 3.5-mile trail crosses the creek in some areas depending on the time of year and recent rains.  

 

Barton Creek Greenbelt

 

Barton Creek Greenbelt stretches nearly 8 miles, making a V-shaped southerly dip from Zilker Park to the Lost Creek neighborhood in West Lake Hills with varied spots of wide and flat or narrow and rugged terrain. The trail is popular with mountain bikers, rock climbers and those who enjoy its seasonal swimming holes.

Share your favorite spot with us on social media and on this blog!

Where and How Far Should You Walk Your Dog

By: Amber Kingsley

The age-old expression “walk the dog,” actually has many meanings that don’t have anything to do with putting your canine on a leash. According to the Urban Dictionary online, it can also be an act of self-gratification that comes from manual labor or an acknowledgement of a request made from someone. But enough trivia, when we are actually exercising our animal, where should we take them and how far should we go with our four-legged best friend?

Obviously, much of this has to do with their age and possible health issues they could have. There is also their size and breed to consider. Think of it this way, walking a mile with a much larger dog, like a Great Dane, is vastly different for a Chihuahua to complete the same distance. Remember, you should always check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough for extenuated exercise sessions. 

Dog Walking

Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb for an average healthy dog to walk is about 30 minutes daily. So if the average human walks around 3 mph, if you do the math, you should be walking them about a half-a-mile per day. But then again, younger, more active dogs could go much further and may benefit from longer, more intense exercise sessions.

If you do have a more active dog, you could also break up these sessions up into more than one occurrence, say a 20 minute stroll in the morning followed by a more intensive 45 minute walk in the evening. A smaller or older dog could spend 15 minutes in the am and 15 minutes in the pm with you walking about. This will be beneficial for both of you in terms of exercise, activity and simply spending more time bonding with your pet.

The Great Outdoors

You always want to make sure wherever you walk your dog is safe, even a backyard or garden can present hazards for a pet. Birds, snakes, rodents, and many other different types of wildlife can be problematic for companion animals. Outdoor trails, beaches and other arenas can also be sources of unsafe conditions for dogs. When you are talking your dog out for a stroll, even if it’s an area considered to be an “off-leash” location, the safest place for them is at the end of a leash.

Living In Suburbia

When you live in the suburbs, taking the dog around the block is a common occurrence, and an average city block runs around 750 feet one-way. So if you complete one, large, city block, that’s equivalent to 3,000 feet (750 x 4) and that’s a little less than a half-mile, so you’re probably on track for a good, small, exercise session with your companion if you perform this feat daily.

Dog Walking

 

Weather Permitting

Always keep the weather and temperature in mind when you’re walking your dog. Obviously a hot summer’s day is much different when it comes to their endurance compared to a cold, winter forecast. In hotter times, keep walks shorter and during the hours when the temperature is much cooler, early in the morning and later in the evening.

In colder climates, remember to examine your dog’s feet for signs of distress that come with lower temperatures. In a suburban setting, their feet could come in contact with and retain chemicals such as salt that are commonly used for snow and ice removal. In country areas, check their paws for rocks, dirt and other debris they could bring home with them.

In any event or circumstance, it’s probably a good idea to wash their feet daily and check their paws regularly for possible injury from their walking excursions. Also keep up with your regular veterinary check ups to make sure they’re happy and healthy while walking with you.