The new Pokemon GO app is just about the most popular thing ever, and it may be the most successful fitness app of all time. People everywhere are getting off the couch and walking just to find those cute little monsters. It’s no surprise that people are also walking their dogs more often as an excuse to get out there and catch some ‘mon. It’s great to get more exercise with your pup, but walking your dog with your eyes glued to a phone screen has its drawbacks. There’s a right way to do things and a wrong way. If you want to be the very best like no one ever was, or if you just want to catch ’em all, make sure you’re not giving up the safety of your real life Pokemon–your dog–just so you can catch fake creatures in the game. Here are some tips for how to play Pokemon GO while walking your dog safely.
1. Pokemon GO Isn’t For Every Dog
If your dog pulls, is prone to leash aggression, or needs more attention than average, it’s not safe to play the game while out for a walk with your pooch. Know your dog’s needs. If being distracted even while you’re stopped and off the footpath is going to be a problem, don’t risk it.
2. Stay Alert
The game gives you a warning right off the bat to stay alert of your surroundings unless you want to walk into the mouth of a hungry Gyarados. A more realistic threat is traffic from cars, people, and other dogs, not to mention all the other normal dangers you can face while walking your dog, like food or trash on the ground, wildlife that may make your dog pull, or broken sidewalks that can trip you. If you’re moving, your phone should be put away.
3. Use The Battery Saver Mode
— Steve Gaynor (@fullbright) July 11, 2016
The game’s built-in battery saver mode lets you flip your phone upside down to darken the screen, but it will still vibrate if there are Pokemon nearby and count your steps so your eggs will still hatch. That means that you don’t have to hold your phone in front of your face with your eyes down while you’re walking. Keep the phone in your pocket and your attention on your dog.
4. Plan Your Trip And Don’t Wander Too Far
Take a look to see what Pokestops are near you that you’ll want to stop at. Knowing where they are beforehand will allow you to walk without checking your phone every second to see if a stop is nearby. Save the exploring for when you’re on your own, and your dog will be less nervous and excited about being in a new place. And if you’re tracking a Pokemon, be aware of your surroundings and your dog’s needs. If you’re going a mile out of the way to track an Abra and your dog isn’t capable of walking that far, it’s time to let Abra go.
5. When You’re Moving, Put The Phone Away
If you’re like me, you get a little thrill every time the phone vibration lets you know a Pokemon has appeared. But before you check to see what creature has popped up, pull over to a safe space away from foot traffic and cars. Come to a stop and let your pup sniff around while you catch the ‘mon. Same goes for Pokestops. And you may want to skip the gym battles entirely if they take too long and your pup is restless. Walking while distracted is very dangerous. Don’t risk your dog’s safety for a video game.
6. Pick Routes That Aren’t Crowded
A busy city street is not a good place to play Pokemon GO with your dog. There are too many people and too many things that could go wrong. And there aren’t many places to pull over and get out of the way so you’re not blocking the path for non-Pokemon players who, apparently, still exist. Find a quiet park that allows dogs or a relaxed neighborhood. Your dog will be more at peace, and you’ll have more time to catch Pokemon.
7. Stay In Dog-Friendly Areas Only
Some parks and playgrounds don’t allow dogs, and some people are very nasty about you cutting through backyards or private property. Stay in areas that you know are dog-friendly, even if Pokemon are leading you somewhere you shouldn’t be. Planning your trip should help with this.
Hopefully if you follow these tips, you can reduce distractions while catching Pokemon and having a fun walk. What are your tips for walking your dog and playing Pokemon GO? Let us know in the comments below!