Going for a walk with shelter dogs: tips

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If you don't have a dog but want to go for a walk, you can borrow a four-legged friend and do something good with it. Because shelters rely on voluntary walkers. Here are some tips for dealing with the "surrogate dog". Don't forget to take a walk: The dog leash - Image: Shutterstock / Ermolaev Alexander1

As a voluntary walker you should be at least 18 years old and have experience with dogs. Some animal shelters require short training with a dog trainer or introductory courses. Don't forget to bring your identity card with you and inquire on the website of the animal shelter or with a short call at what times voluntary walking is possible. Note that there is often a large crowd on Sundays and when the weather is nice. On such days it can happen that all dogs are already on the way when you report to go for a walk.

You should pay attention to this when going for a walk

If the shelter has selected a suitable dog after a short conversation with you, it is important that you follow the instructions of the shelter staff when taking the dog for a walk. Do not take the dog off the leash and avoid letting your companion come into close contact with fellow animals, other animals or people. It is best to make sure that the line is undamaged and that you can handle it before you set off. This is especially true for people who have little or no experience with dogs. Most animal shelters indicate that you are not allowed to take the dog on public transport, or to go to shops or bars. A trip to cool water is usually not permitted. To be on the safe side, ask animal keepers what is allowed and what is not.

If there are any incidents

If a shelter dog runs away while you are out walking, keep calm. Running behind usually only leads to the fact that the four-legged friend is looking even further. Go slowly towards the dog and try to attract him. If this is unsuccessful, inform the shelter as soon as possible. The same applies if there are brawls or other accidents while walking. Also report any kind of abnormalities that the shelter dog might show to the caregivers. These include limping, diarrhea, heavy panting, shaking of the ears or constant scratching.

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