What ever the weather, it’s always important to take water out with you for your dog on walks. Dogs get thirsty the same as us and often are running about more. You might say “but my dog doesn’t drink on walks”, continue reading to find out why that might be.
If you don’t have water with you, dogs can end up disappearing in search of water, possibly drinking from a puddle or worse a stagnant ditch. Now don’t get me wrong some dogs just love drinking dirty water, and different water sources can have different minerals that they could be potentially seeking. However having a fresh safer options on you, is far more preferable.
Have you ever been training your dog and they stop taking the treats? This could be because they are thirsty and it’s not rewarding, when you have a dry mouth to take more food, especially if you are using the dry biscuit type. Therefore it could become punishing to the dog to perform the behaviour you are actually training at the time.
Water is also another resource you can use as a reward for recall, as we all know if we are thirsty having a drink feels good. What is important however is never withhold water from them for training purposes!
Dogs with anxiety or ones that find some experiences outside stressful, often drink more water. So it’s vital when working on behaviour rehabilitation that these dogs are offered water on a regular basis, or you may find they switch off from treats quicker.
I have been told on a number of occasions by dog guardians, that their dog will not drink water when out on walks, this maybe the case however the first questions I ask is:
“Has your dog drank from the bowl or bottle that you’re offering them to drink from when outside before?”
“Was enough time given to your dog before the walk to be come familiarised with the item, to enable them to feel comfortable with it?”
You will be surprised how many dogs I see that are actually scared of the water bowl/bottle dispenser that is being offered to them, or the way in which the water is presented to them. For some dogs it can be quite unsettling to be suddenly introduced to a weird novel object, then to have said object enthusiastically thrusted into their face or under their nose, this can appear to be somewhat threatening to a dog.
It’s really important with all equipment, that your dog is actually comfortable drinking from it, so it should be introduced in the house first with them happily using it, comfortable with you approaching them with it and then taken with you on the walk. Always get your dog to walk towards you rather than you moving to them with it in your hand. Normally they drink from a stationary bowl at home, and you are now moving towards them with something odd, sometimes in a forceful way (because you care), as you can see they are thirsty.
Another factor is how much water is dispensed, licking shallow water or dribbles out of a bottle doesn’t quench thirst and therefore some dogs do not bother. Dogs use the back of their tongue like a scoop, lifting the water up and into their mouth see the following video https://youtu.be/63Ch2pNkZwU so ensure you have poured enough out before calling your dog over.
If they generally do not drink outside and also rarely do at home it’s worth considering the following, mains water in different locations can be highly chlorinated which can prevent dogs from wanting to drink it and actually can have other adverse effects. This is why some dogs prefer filtered or natural spring bottle water.
Dogs can also be getting lot of moisture from the the food/treats they are getting, so it consuming it that way.
an option for these dogs not only to take water just incase, but also more watery treats like melon, cucumber any juicy fruit to provide a refreshing alternative, of course that’s if they like fruit, and it’s provided in moderation.
What ever dog you have, it’s vitally important that dogs have the option to drink whilst they are out.
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