Tips from our Trainer: Master the Dog Walk
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, but physical activity alone isn’t enough to stave off the side effects of dog boredom. Your dog needs consistent mental activity to remain engaged, and a daily walk is the perfect opportunity to provide your pet with a mental reboot. Add these easy tips to your daily routine for high quality walks your dog will love:
Reduce leash pulling by letting your dog exert some physical energy before the walk. 15 minutes of playing fetch or tug can remove pent up excitement. If your dog still pulls once you start the walk, don’t pull or yank back. This just gives your pet more incentive to pull. We recommend keeping high value treats in your pocket to help lure your dog’s attention back to you. Once your dog has returned to your side, reward him.
Practice makes perfect. Practice walking your dog in the house, backyard, front yard, or other areas that have fewer distractions. You want your dog to get in the habit of walking by your side and not running off after every sound, sight, or smell. Use high value treats as a reward for walking by your side, and use verbal praise and a training clicker to validate good leash behavior.
Your dog was born with a powerful sense of smell for a reason, and this means you need to provide your pet with opportunities to sniff and explore. However, letting your dog’s nose lead the way for the entire walk could negate any previous leash training. Offer intermittent sniff and bathroom breaks, and make sure to reward your dog for staying focused on you.
Before heading out, check to be sure your dog’s identification tags are secure and remember to always bring water, treats, and waste bags on your dog walk. For additional training fun and a full schedule of training classes and programs, visit the Happy Paws website at happypawstraining.org.