The dog should go for walks 3-4 times a day and spend a total of several hours outdoors to meet physiological needs, social needs, the need to play or explore the environment.
Such an activity with the dog should also be a time of relaxation, fun and rest for us. It is therefore not surprising that the owners of these four-legged friends usually choose places full of peace and nature to walk with their dogs. One of those places is, of course, the forest.
However, it turns out that some people feel that the forest is not suitable for dog walking. The famous veterinarian, Dorota Sumińska, recently gave her opinion on this topic:
“In general, I am an opponent of dog walks in the woods. The mildest dog is a harvester for a million small inhabitants of the undergrowth. I am not exaggerating. The current state of the insect fauna is only 20% of what it was 10 years ago. can’t help but mention the number of so-called wild mammals “- we read in” Wysokie Obcasy “in a column by Dorota Sumińska.
The problem is that the vet’s considerations focused on the situation where we let the dog loose during a walk. Then we don’t actually have full control over it, even if the “to me” command is mastered to perfection.
Is a dog allowed to be in the forest at all and under what conditions should we start with article 30 par. 1 point 13 of the Forest Law, in short, which clearly states: “in forests it is prohibited to let dogs loose”.
However, there is no ban on taking a dog into the forest, but why is it so important that the dog is on a leash during a forest walk?
We are not only in the forest, except for other hikers, dogs also live there, wildlife lives there. This is the first reason why our pet should have limited freedom of movement.
This prevents him from chasing a deer, a rabbit, or provoking a boar to attack. Like dr. Dorota Sumińska rightly points out in her statement, dogs become a threat to many lives when they enter the forest:
By keeping a dog on a lead, we minimize the risk of harm to an animal’s health or even loss of life. It is also useful to learn the commands “leave”, “yuck” to, for example, teach a dog to put its mouth in holes, dig up molehills.
The benefit of having to keep a dog on a leash in the woods is also… his own safety. Selfishly ignoring even the well-being of the permanent forest dwellers, while chasing animals, the dog may simply get lost, or run out of the forest under the wheels of the car.
The spring and summer period is also the time when snakes appear on forest roads, including the only poisonous species in Poland – the viper. With a dog on a leash and careful where both the dog and ourselves walk, we are able to spot the danger in our way more quickly.
The viper will usually run away from danger on its own and will avoid confrontation, but when stepped on, it will most likely attack in defense.
Also check: A rare sight in Polish forests. The forest rangers sound the alarm
However, many dogs show a strong need to run without a rope attached, with a human at the other end. So where can we give the pet a little more freedom?
In fact, pet owners have such a legal option only in the animal paddock. It is also sometimes said that we can let the dog loose in places where no other people come. However, remember that by giving your dog this kind of freedom, you must train your recall with him first.
Under no circumstances should a dog be on a leash that does not respond to its owner. This not only poses a danger to others, but especially to the dog itself.
Recall and obedience can be practiced on the training grounds of dog schools. It can also be an excellent way to spend free time with your dog – without a leash. Obedience training is fun for your dog and strengthens the bond with the owner, then what? Later on, the effects of such training can make the dog enjoy the lack of a leash on a walk.
Also see: Can a dog eat peanut butter?
Why are some owners dissatisfied with leading their dogs on a leash? A common reason is that the dog is pulled on a tight rope during the walk. Then the walk is actually not a pleasure but a torment for both parties.
However, it doesn’t have to be and the leash can quickly become a help, not an obstacle in communication with your dog. First of all, learning to walk on a loose leash should start with the puppy and reward the dog for any progress.
Perhaps it is also worth thinking about why our dog tightens the leash. The answer may be trivial: too short a rope.
A dog on a walk needs to explore the environment, sniff around. These are one of the dog’s basic needs which, if not met, result in the build-up of tension and frustration in the dog, who is supposed to walk at the owner’s feet for almost the entire walk.
A longer rope of 4-6 meters can help us train a loose line. A toy such as a cutter can also be helpful, which the dog can use to relieve tension while walking. Rewarding the dog with a moment when he pulls on the toy because he comes back to us to release the leash is a helpful part of learning to walk on a leash.
The flavors or dry food that we can take with us for walks work in a similar way – we reward the dog when he walks on a loose leash. On the other hand, it is not recommended to learn to yell at the dog on a loose leash and force it to pull. With patience and small steps we can achieve a lot… walking through life with your dog on a leash.
See also: Why protein is important in dog and cat food