Gotta Walk Them All!

Pokémon Go has captured the attention of anyone with a smartphone this week. As one tweet put it "It took eight years for Michelle Obama to get kids to go outside; Nintendo did it in 24 hours." As you head outside to catch your fill of Pokémon, try to take a real pet with you.

Your dog is a pack animal by instinct and walking your dog not only helps them get exercise and work out some of their energy but it can strengthen the bond you share as a pack. Make sure to always walk your dog with a leash since a dog's chase instinct may get the better of them if other dogs or animals were to cross your path. Practice walking side by side or with you leading your pup instead of them dragging you. The more under control you keep your pup, the more they must focus to stay within the boundaries you set as the pack leader along your trek. Walking your dog takes practice and training and in definitely takes time. Just as your Pokémon won't be the best when you first catch them, neither will your dog.

We are in the midst of summer, factor that in when you go for your daily walks. Reach down and touch the pavement. If it feels hot and uncomfortable for you to keep your hand on for any length of time, it will also feel that way to your pup. Walking on grass or a trail is better in the hot months if you want to go for a walk in the day. Early morning or evening walks will generally be cooler and more comfortable on your pups paw pads. If you are planning on walking farther than a couple blocks, make sure you carry, or can easily find, water for you companion. Dogs cool themselves through panting and laying down in a cool place. If you see that your pup wants to take a break, let them rest. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion is a risk in dogs as well as humans. Certain breeds with flatter noses and stockier builds should not go outside in high temperatures. Keep your English Bulldog at home while you go on your Poké-adventure this season.

Walking around at night while trying to catch Pokémon may be fun but bringing a dog along may keep you safer. Already some people have been injured by real world obstacles while others were targeted by thieves. Your dog can keep you attuned to your better judgement by not taking your companion places that would be difficult to get in or out of or would get you both in trouble. Who wants to go the the ER or be caught trespassing with their dog? No thanks. Also, thieves looking to rob my not want to deal with the barking or potentially vicious dog by your side. They may be a lover and not a fighter but a stranger won't know that.

Good luck to you and your pups as you wander around, catching them all. Be safe and aware of your surroundings. Although you are looking for your perfect Pokémon pet, you might already have one right next to you.

For more on how to train your dog to walk see