As September rolls around, the weather begins to cool off a little and many of us see a meaningful change in our routines as schools return after the holidays, and parks and other popular walking spots become quieter.
This means a few things for dogs and dog owners; an opportunity to make some changes to our dog’s walks, and in some cases, the unavoidable need to do so as our own routines change as well. Cooler weather as September proceeds also opens up more opportunities for where and how you can walk your dog, and all of these factors can be put to good use.
Take September as an opportunity to make some useful changes to your dog walks, to get them ready to face winter safely and happily. Read on to learn more about five positive changes to make to your dog walks in September.
September is one of the main points in the year at which many dog owners will need to or have to change their dog walking routine after the summer, for a couple of reasons. One of these is if you have children returning to school. The other is that as we come out of summer, our options open up more in terms of the times of day that dogs can be walked safely, and we begin to regain the option to go out with the dog at more or less any time of the day.
This makes September a good time to start to segue your dog’s walking routine into a pattern that will meet both your and their needs over the winter. This will include potentially factoring in school and working hours times, and trying to avoid walking your dog in the dark when the nights close in if possible.
Many dogs gain a little weight over the summer, for a variety of reasons that we’ll outline shortly. However, dogs also tend to hold onto weight in winter as an evolutionary survival mechanism, and the combination of these two things can result in many dogs gaining a little weight each year that they never lose, ending up in middle age to old age being undeniably fat.
Dogs often gain weight in summer due to reduced energy levels and the need to avoid exertion in hot weather. In some cases, they might also have gained weight from more treats and snacks from summer barbecues and the children being around to feed them things too!
This means that September is a good point at which to assess your dog’s potential summer weight gain, and nip it in the bud and reverse it with meaningful exercise, before the weather starts to get cold and shifting the weight becomes harder.
The hot summer season means that many dogs miss some of their walks entirely, have far shorter walks, or cannot exert themselves anywhere near as much as they usually would want to or be able to because it is simply too hot to do this safely, or for your dog to want to do this.
As the weather cools off into September, this means you can pick things up again and begin to get your dog moving with a little more enthusiasm, taking longer and more active walks. Even just picking up the pace a little for a few minutes at a time helps!
Once more, over the summer your dog’s rules and boundaries and how strict you are about ensuring them follow them properly might slip a ways, and the worse this gets, the harder it will be to correct down the line.
Take September as a good month for your dog to go “back to school” in a way, as well as the children, by refreshing their training and using some of your time on walks correcting issues that may have developed or responses that are a bit slower than they should be.
Finally, connected to the training and responsiveness topic, if your dog got into the habit of going swimming in open water in the summer, they might also have got into the habit of heading straight for it and getting in without waiting for permission.
This is bad practice in a training sense, but can also be a safety issue; particularly as water that may have been warm enough in summer begins to cool down quickly from September onwards.
Correct this, and recall your dog if they head for water without a command; which may well mean working on their general recall skills, which is always time well spent and useful for a huge number of different applications.