Dog Walking with Cotswold Outdoor Experts guest blog from Cotswold Outdoor This month we have teamed up with Cotswold Outdoor to talk all things dog walking! We're also giving you the chance to win a pair of Meindl Response GTX walking boots, perfect for exploring with your four-legged friend. To enter click here. We’re pretty sure you don’t need us to tell you how to walk your dog (if you’re doing it at least once a day, you’re probably pretty well-practised!) but with a wealth of experience getting outdoors with and without their four-legged friends, Cotswold Outdoor experts have a few tips and tricks on how to make the most of the time you spend outdoors with your dog. There’s more to walking your dog than meets the eye, so here’s what the dog walking experts had to say. What would you say is the essential kit for your dog-loving customers? Having the right footwear for the current weather that fits properly is so important, even for dog walkers. Next most important are waterproofs - tops and bottoms - and insulation, to protect you from the elements, however hard you try to predict the weather! Having kit that keeps you comfortable will mean you enjoy your walks much more. Next thing to consider would be bags and packs. Depending on the length of your walk, having a small pack can be useful to carry essentials if you’re out for a couple of hours or more. Finally, accessories are key, including hats and gloves for the chillier days and sun hat and sunglasses for when the weather warms up. What do dog walkers need to know before going outside with their dog? The most useful thing you can do is to match what you wear with the weather. If it’s wet, wear a jacket or shell – ideally something like GORE-TEX which offers guaranteed waterproofing - and wear waterproof boots or wellies to keep your feet from getting damp and cold. If it’s dry and sunny all day, consider taking an extra layer in case the wind picks up later on, and some suitable sun protection including a hat, sunglasses and sun cream. You should also double check to make sure you always have enough poo bags and possibly a couple of treats in case of any troublesome terriers! Finally, if you’re going for a long walk, consider how you can offer your dog water, particularly if it’s hot. You can carry it in a flask or bottle, so you keep hydrated too. My last tip is that if you come by our stores, bring your dog and they will always get lots of attention from the staff! What would be your top tips for your dog walking customers? Looking after your footwear, cleaning and reproofing it regularly is essential, and having the right pair of walking socks will be the difference between bliss and blisters! Dog walkers are some of the most hardwearing on footwear because they walk so much, so it’s best to spend a bit more on your boots to get more wear out of them and help them to last longer. Some boots will give you 2-3 years as a regular dog walker, whereas other brands and models will only last 6 months. It’s good to have that expert knowledge when you’re shopping for footwear, so you don’t end up having to constantly replace them! Something like the Scarpa Terra or Merrell Bhutan are a reliable choice that offer comfort and durability for the regular dog walker. Another tip is that it’s often useful to have two pairs on the go, particularly in the wet weather. This allows one pair to dry out properly before it’s used again, to prevent extra wear and tear and soggy feet! Any tips for people who run with their dogs? Most runners will use a waist bungie lead, but I think that’s a personal choice, and it’s not for everyone. However, runners do need to remember that if they need water, energy gels and such on an extended run, make sure you have both for your dog because they’ll need it too! Also make sure you have poo bags and use them: just because you are running doesn't mean you don't have to pick up the poo! Visit Cotswold Outdoor here and view their range of walking boots, jackets and everything else you may need for dog walking.