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A Stroll in the Park: Six things to consider before walking with your dog and your baby

Jen Shryock on August 04, 2010

As the mother of four I can assure you that I know the value of walks and outings. It is wonderful when we are able to include our dogs in this part of our day but there are situations where including our dogs may cause more stress then enjoyment for all. Planning and preparing ahead helps to make outings more successful and relaxing. Know your dog and their behavioral patterns. Sometimes it is not a good idea to include your dog on your stroller walks, but rather enjoy a peaceful baby free walk with your dog while your spouse watches the baby. Consider the following six points and your dog as you think ahead about your fun times out and about.

Dog and baby in the park

1. How does your dog react to other dogs passing by?

If your dog has leash aggression behaviors then this can make for quite a challenging walk with a stroller. The tools you use and the skills in managing your dog will need to be evaluated for the safest situation that does not encourage your dog to practice this behavior. Many dogs can learn to walk politely by others on a walk but you will not want to tackle this with your baby in the stroller.

2. How does your dog react to a person approaching you while on a walk?

Nothing attracts admirers more then a dogs and babies. If you have both then you are sure to be approached by an admirer of sorts while on a walk. If your dog is reactive to people in a threatening way of any kind then you will need to decide if it is worth the risk of an admirer approaching your stroller, you and your dog while out on a walk. If your only option is a high traffic area then it may be best to play it safe and save your walks for when you and your dog can go solo. That way you are able focus completely on your dog’s behavior without also tending to your baby.

3. Does your neighborhood or where you would walk have a loose dog problem?

Nothing could be worse then having a dog fight while on a walk with your baby. If you live in a neighborhood that has loose dogs then you will want to consider this when walking with your dog and stroller. What will you do? How can you handle your dog and the stroller? Plan ahead and think it through.

4. Never, ever tie your dog to the stroller!

What if your baby decides to scream as if being tortured during your walk? It happens….trust me! What then?

This is an all too familiar situation for me and one that many parents encounter. I am not one who can listen to my baby crying much before I must hold her. I have carried her on many walks. It is possible to put the baby in a carrier and use a waist leash and push the stroller but….this may not work if your dog is not a well mannered walker or is reactive to other dogs or people. Keep in mind that you have just 2 hands and if your baby is unhappy on a walk it is hard to enjoy a walk and sometimes the solution is to carry the baby for a bit. Think ahead, prepare and have a plan or leave your dog at home for your longer walks and bring them for short strolls.

5. Is your dog reactive to bikers, scooters and kids playing in the street?

Some dogs like to chase moving objects or people walking. If your dog is one of them then this may be rather challenging while managing a stroller. If your dog is a fan of things that move fast then you may need to work with a professional to eliminate such a strong response so that you can enjoy your walk

6. Is your dog “picky” about the environment and pace of your walk?

Is your dog sensitive to changes in surface? Temperatures? What about sewers or other things in the environment that may cause stress? If so then you will need to work on these behaviors prior to introducing the stroller and walks. Knowing your dog’s sensitivities helps you to decide if a walk together is a good plan or not. What about the dog that does not have the desire to walk or keep up? Some dogs are not huge walkers and can be quite happy with a short stroll instead of a power walk. These dogs may really enjoy games and tricks rather then a walk and that can be a great option for them. Exercising your dog’s mind is extremely important along with their body. Hide and seek, kibble fetch, kibble catch, name game along with puzzle toys all can meet many dogs needs for activity and mental stimulation.

We encourage you to include your dog in daily baby activities. Walking with your dog can be relaxing when planned out and prepared for. Our goal is to get you thinking ahead of time so that you and your pup can go strolling along happily.

For more information on dog and baby fun and safety visit www.dogsandstorks.com

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