Walking with a stroller is great exercise. If you have confidence in your dog's leash manners, combine the two tasks into one fun stroll. These easy hints help you hitch up Doggy and Toddlums and hit the road.
Things You'll Need
- Retractable leash
- 6-inch carabiners
- 3-inch carabiner
- Poop bags
Plan a short walking route in your neighborhood. The first trek should be short so you are near home if problems arise. Take the usual toys or snacks for your toddler. Pack poop bags and dog treats for the dog. Be sure your stroller rider is seat belted securely. Select a walk path with room for the stroller and dog.
Hitch your dog's leash to the stroller. A 6-inch carabiner or snap clip is available at many home improvement and pet stores. Attach the carabiner to the stroller and then slide the leash handle through the snap latch. Clip the carabiner at the top stroller handle for the first few walks so that you can easily reach the dog. Later you can add a second 6-inch carabiner at the front of the stroller for buddy walks. Many dogs and stroller riders like the company of walking in reach of each other.
Use a retractable leash if possible. Retractable leashes are easier than regular leashes to use with a stroller because the spring automatically adjusts tension between the stroller and dog. If the stroller hits a bump, the dog is not pulled off balance. If the dog walks slower or faster for a few steps, the leash keeps the same tension and does not pull the stroller off track. If the dog does not behave, set the leash short and lock the retractor. Walk faster for a few minutes so the dog must keep up. Most dogs quickly learn good behavior on stroller walks.
Attach a regular leash if it is your only practical option. Loop the leash to the stroller by wrapping the leash loop around the stroller handle and dropping the snap end through the loop. Attach the snap to the dog. In this method, the dog has no flexibility. Watch carefully so the leash is not so tight it pulls the dog's feet under the wheels or so loose that the leash gets caught in the wheel.
Fasten the dog to your belt if you want the dog at heel. Hands-free leashes are available at pet stores. These leashes are like a belt with a built-in leash. The belt wraps around your waist so the dog walks or jogs with you. You can also hook a small carabiner or double snap swivel around your belt loop and attach the leash.
Walk at a steady pace. The dog will quickly learn to walk with you and the stroller. Stop now and then for treats and chats all around. The stroller storage bins should hold a toy or snack for Toddlums. Add a bag or holder for the poop bags and a few treats for Doggly. When you see a pedestrian, dog walker or another stroller, use good manners. Pull to the side and stop. Doggly should sit quietly or move off the walkway. Toddlums should sit quietly or snooze. Enjoy your strolls!
Tips & Warnings
- If your walk area has a bench, stop for a minute--even if you are not tired. It is a good time to provide toddler praise and "good dog" time.
- Good behavior by the dog and the toddler is essential. This is a wonderful time for both to observe the outdoor world.
- The small umbrella strollers are not as stable as bigger walking strollers. Be cautious about hitching a big dog, even well-trained, to a small stroller.
- Photo Credit Photo by Phyllis Benson