We all know our own dogs, but when walking them on a leash, you have to pay close attention to your surroundings at all times.
Small animals can quickly dart out in front of you.  A cat may be hiding in the bushes; your dog knows it and is ready for the chase . Or, another dog and his owner may be coming in your direction, and lets face it, all dog owners don’t practice good behavior and etiquette while walking.

You have to be ready for the element of surprise!  If you’re not, you can easily get hurt.

On more than one occasion, I caught myself day dreaming and a chipmunk or a cat ran out in front of us, and both arms suddenly became a foot longer.  Trust me, in thirty years, I’ve hit the pavement more than once.  🙂

Whether you know it or not, obstacles are all around you and can present themselves at any given time, so stay focused.

We have acres of woods around our community along with some pretty nice trails to walk or ride a bike.

Once fall approaches and all the leaves have fallen, this is where me and the dogs do most of our walking; unlike spring and summer when the brush is too thick.

BAD Things Can Happen When You Become Too Comfortable

At one point I had three dogs and we would walk the trails daily. It was a little much for me to walk all three dogs together on a leash, so I would allow “Lady” my 13 year old collie mix and my older lab to walk beside me without a leash. Jenna, my dobe remained on a leash while we walked.

One day without warning, Lady decided to head off in a different direction towards the highway. She did not respond to my calls and before I knew it she was on the highway running down the street.

Now, I had my yellow lab and my doberman who were both on leashes at this point and we were running through the woods after Lady. This isn’t easy with two large dogs on a leash, believe me! I was very lucky that day that they were doing construction on the highway and one of the workers managed to grab and hold “Lady” for me until I got to her.

I became way too comfortable with our everyday pattern and this could have ended very badly for me. It wasn’t long after this incident that our little Lady started showing other symptoms of Cognitive Disorder.


It’s important that you remain alert, since many things can happen that are out of your control. More than once, we’ve ran into wild animals including deer, turkey, possum and ground hogs.

One day while walking, a deer crossed the path directly in front of us. The dogs were even more startled than I was, but didn’t react as much as I thought they would other than thrusting me forward a little. They were actually pretty calm about it. Whew!

Another Example Of The Element Of Surprise

Maggie darted from side to side sniffing as much she could along the way. I noticed that she kept looking to one particular area in the woods which alerted me to the fact that something was there.


I couldn’t see anything, but I was now on guard. As we walked further down the path I could now see two people taking pictures. Then I noticed a dog, then a second dog and a third. All three were running free and suddenly spotted us. Before I knew it, a German Shepherd, a Boxer mix and another mix breed were circling us and barking.

Dogs Are Often Leash Aggressive

Despite being a doberman, Jenna is lover and not a fighter. She is petrified at the thought of confrontation. She cried as soon as the dogs came near her. Maggie on the hand became very defensive and all three of the dogs were ganging up on her.

I screamed for the owner who was frantically running towards us. He managed to get control of his dogs even though he had no leashes. Everybody was o.k. and we headed back towards home.

My point is that you have to be aware of your surroundings at all times when walking your dog whether on a leash or not.

Here’s My 6 Reasons For Remaining On Your Toes While Walking Your Dog

  1. If you walk trails like we do, then it’s likely that you’ll run into a few wild animals.
  2. While walking the neighborhood you should remain on your toes for other dogs and cats that may cross your path or approach you.
  3. Be aware of others coming up from behind you. Dogs DO NOT like to be startled.
  4. Watch out for kids on bikes. Many dogs don’t like motorcycles or pedal bikes either.
  5. If you walk on small side streets without sidewalks, it’s important to allow yourself and your dog(s) enough room so that the dog’s aren’t frightened by the cars.
  6. If you’re not constantly aware of your surroundings when walking your dog, you risk being pulled or dragged to the ground should your dog see something that you didn’t.

Walking with your dog should be rewarding for you and your fur kid.  By keeping your eyes and ears open, it can be.



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Showing 9 comments
  • Amanda Smith

    Awesome article! I just found your website and I really like it. We have two dogs – our senior girl, Kally (terrier mix, 9) and our little one, Sophie (chihuahua/min-pin mix, 5). We love our daily walks and one of my pet peeves is when others do not leash their dogs and do not have control over them. I can’t tell you how many times random dogs have run up to us while we are walking ours. Kally is terrified of other dogs and Sophie is… feisty. We usually pick them both up while the other people laugh and tell us how friendly their dogs are. I usually respond by saying ours are NOT friendly. It’s funny how they think we are so scared of their dogs (sometimes, I am!) but don’t consider how grumpy ours might be. Yes, ours are small but Sophie would start a fight with any size dog. Thanks for this list and your website! 🙂

    • admin

      Hi Amanda:
      Thanks so much for your nice comment, I really appreciate it. Kally and Sophie sound like quite the team. I bet Sophie is protecting Kally which is common with the younger dogs. I see that you added your girl to our contest for senior dogs and she’s a real cutie. I love to read stories about adoption and I always like to personally say “thank you” Amanda for adopting a pet.

      You’re very welcome too and it’s my pleasure.

      Janie 😮

      • Amanda Smith

        Hi Janie!

        Oops, I just saw your nice response! Yes, they are quite the team 🙂 I didn’t know that it was common for younger dogs to protect older ones?? Sophie is very protective of Kally and of us. She loves her “big sister.”

        I love reading adoption stories, too! Kally & Sophie were both adopted. We also have three cats – one we adopted and two we rescued as strays. I wish I could adopt even more but I think 5 is our limit for now 🙂

  • Hawk aka BrownDog

    Hi Y’all,

    Great list. Even in our yard when we are walking, my Human is constantly on the lookout for stray cats, birds and gators, or in the mountains, coyote, boar, bob cats or bear . We also have to watch for snakes, although we use sulphur around the perimeters and the house.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    • admin

      Hey Hawk:
      Hows it going? Wow, talk about wild animals – you got em all! I’m just curious if you’ve ever ran into bob cats, bear or snakes? We have tons of turkey and I seen a fox recently. Nothing like what you have though…..

      • Hawk aka BrownDog

        Hi Y’all,

        Yep, I’ve met up with a couple of snakes. “Leave it” is the number one command I work on in training. A neighbor got photos of a black bear and her two cubs up on the ridge behind our house in the mountains. We hear and occasionally see the bobcats, but, like most wild animals, they avoid areas of human activity whenever possible. I’ve startled deer, turkey and the guy laying in the water up near our boat. You can see him here:
        http://browndogcbr.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-im-not-swimming.html He lurks in the waters of our low country house.
        I’m also not allowed to chase. My Human likes to photograph birds, so I have to lay behind or beside her and watch. The consolation prize is a bumper retrieve. 😉

        Y’all come by now,
        Hawk aka BrownDog

        • admin

          I’m not sure what a bumper retrieve is, but it sure sounds like you enjoy it! 😮

  • Jen

    That is a fantastic list! I can’t think of anything to add right this second, I’ll come back to add if I do!

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