Congratulations on your decision to adopt or welcome a dog into your home! Dog ownership can be a truly rewarding experience, filled with unconditional love, wet kisses, and relaxing strolls through the neighborhood with your dog trotting proudly by your side. 

At Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital, we absolutely love meeting your dogs—big and small, slobber and all!  And for anyone embarking on the journey of dog ownership for the first time, we have plenty of dog walking tips to help you master this essential aspect of canine care.

First: Gear Up

Walking the dog may sound as simple as attaching the leash and hitting the road, but there are a few other essentials you might not think of as a first-time dog owner:

  • A properly fitting collar with current ID tags (Collars with reflective strips can be helpful if you walk your dog at night.)
  • A fixed length leash (retractable leashes are a no-go)
  • Water and bowl for long walks
  • Waste bags
  • Treats (Got a veggie lover? Pack some carrot sticks or fresh green beans).
  • A tenacious dog can wriggle out of his collar. Talk to us about having your dog microchipped.

Next: Get Moving

Staying active is just as essential for your pup’s physical and emotional health as a well-balanced diet and plenty of TLC. Plus, walking the dog gets you moving, too!

  • Depending upon your dog’s breed and age, plan to walk your dog every day for about 30 minutes.
  • Lead the pack: Walk slightly in front of your dog (or side by side) so he views you as the leader.
  • Don’t rush the walk (or the potty break). All that sniffing gives your dog mental stimulation and tells him about his environment. 
  • Be a good neighbor and clean up after your dog.
  • Keep treats handy and reward your dog for good behavior, such as sitting down next to you when you stop at a crossroad. 
  • Protect his paws with booties or stick to grassy areas like dog parks when the mercury rises.
  • Your Bichon Frise may be a social butterfly, but always ask permission before approaching another dog.
  • Don’t talk on the phone unless absolutely necessary. This is your special time with your furry companion.
  • Switch routes occasionally to keep the walks interesting.
  • Make sure he’s properly protected in the great outdoors with lifestyle-appropriate vaccines and parasite prevention.

Put a Stop to Pulling

If you’ve followed all of our tips, but you’re still wondering, “why is my dog pulling when we walk?,” here is a strategy to help curb the habit: If your dog starts pulling, immediately stop walking and stay still until the leash loosens. Tell your dog to come back to you and sit. Reward him with praise and treats. You may have to repeat this, especially if you’ve adopted a dog who developed the habit while with a previous owner.


We can’t wait to meet your new addition and help him stay happy and active throughout his life. Please contact us to schedule a wellness exam, or if you have other questions about caring for your new pet.