Walking our dogs is a great way to share time with them, connect, get fresh air, and even burn a few calories. Unfortunately, if your dog is reactive or has trouble going for walks: it can be difficult to enjoy this wonderful ritual.
These are some of the best dog walking tips and tricks and why walking our dogs is such an important part of our relationship with them.
The most important thing you can do when training your dogs to be good for walks is to ensure you have their full attention at all times. One of the best ways to do this is to keep a baggie of high-value treats in your bag at all times. This can mean something different for all dogs, but one of the best things you can have is plain unseasoned cooked chicken breast that’s been cubed.
Once your dog realizes you have this in your pocket, anything you do or say is infinitely more interesting to them. Make sure to let them know it’s there, and give them treats whenever they’re doing things correctly.
Watch your dog as they react to things around them. This could mean anything from other dogs to people running by to cars. Is there anything that sets them off or makes them react? Using a good dog harness will ensure they don’t pull out of your hands at these, but it’s also vital that you pull their attention back to you when they see these triggers. This is a good time to pull out a chunk of chicken and get their eyes on you again.
It can take dogs a while to learn and figure things out! Don’t rush your pup; instead, give them the time to learn and figure out the right behavior as smoothly as possible. If they’re struggling to keep their eyes on you, take extra steps to gain their attention and confidence.
For some dogs, it can take a couple of hours; for others, it can take a couple of weeks, depending on their personal temperament. Be patient, and remember why you’re doing this with them.
When working with any dog, it’s vital that you take your time and use a consistent approach the entire time. They need help forming patterns and habits, so show them that this is the way, and help them catch on. If you change things up too often or aren’t consistent in how you train them, they won’t be sure what’s important information and what isn’t, leading them to ignore you or ‘misbehaving’ in ways that you don’t want them to. Reward good behavior, don’t be too harsh about bad behavior and guide them into the walking patterns you want to see.
If you find yourself dreading dog walks or avoiding walking when you know distractions will be out and about: it’s time to reconfigure how you do walks. Make walks exciting for both you and your pup with these tips and tricks!