|Alandea Muñoz and Teddy|
Walking with your dog or cat can be a fun and rewarding way to fulfill any intentions or resolutions you may have set for the New Year, whether that’s to spend more time outdoors, to exercise your body or mind (podcasts, audiobooks and walking meditations are great walking companions). Best of all, you can also support SVPP while you stroll, speed walk or hike.
For an easy way to give back to SVPP while logging your steps (whether you have a pet or not), download ResQWalk, a free mobile app for iOS and Android that lets you raise money for animal welfare organizations like SVPP, through its partnership with Best Friends Animal Society.Once you’re in the app, select Silicon Valley Pet Project as the organization you’d like to support. Throughout the year, Best Friends will distribute cash and other resources – provided by their corporate sponsors – toSVPP, proportionate to the total miles that the app’s users log in support of our organization. For more information on ResQWalk, visit the FAQs page.
- Choose your equipment wisely: Not all collars, harnesses and leashes are created equal. Make sure equipment fits securely, but comfortably. Avoid anything designed to use pain, pressure, or startle (like prong collars, choke chains, or electronic collars) to change your pet’s behavior. These tools can have serious, unintended consequences and there are safer alternatives.
- Make your walk fun for everyone: Your dog wants to sniff, so give them the opportunity. Your cat wants to explore, so be ready to follow. While walking for exercise and “getting your steps” is a great goal, make sure you are considering and including your pet’s goals, too. Take lots of breaks to stop and smell the roses!
- The right location matters: Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. Choose places to walk that are relaxing for both you and your pet. This might mean skipping the local park or crossing the street before passing that one neighbor’s house where their dog always barks at you. Consider driving to quieter areas or even just getting permission to explore your neighbor’s backyard.
- Ask for help: If your pet’s behavior is taking the fun out of your walks, consult with a professional who can teach you to use positive reinforcement to improve the situation.
Alandea Muñoz is an SVPP volunteer and guest blogger who enjoys long walks with her dog.
Jessica Char is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, and founder of Feline Engineering and Canine Engineering. She provides training and education for cat and dog owners and is an instructor for SVPP classes/webinars.