Dogs don’t naturally know how to behave. Accordingly, their owners have to teach them. Here’s how to make dog walking easier.
All dog lovers can agree that caring for a dog is one of the most fulfilling things they’ve ever experienced. When you see owners who happily walk their dogs around the neighborhood, it can indeed look like they have the most solid relationship. After all, the health benefits go both ways.
However, what outsiders don’t realize is that it took those fur parents a ton of patience and hours of practice to achieve that kind of trust. See, dogs don’t just naturally know how to behave accordingly. Their owners have to teach them the right ways to act.
Becoming The Pack Leader: You Are In Command
Being a responsible dog owner goes beyond feeding your dog on time and giving her lots of cuddles. It also involves keeping your pooch healthy by providing her with lots of exercises.
Depending on your dog’s energy levels, you may only have to do it once per day, or you may have to do it twice. And, if you’re a new dog owner, you’ll quickly learn that walking a dog may not be as easy as it seems.
While walking feels very intuitive to both humans and dogs, you can’t just attach a collar and leash to your pooch and expect things to go smoothly. After all, dogs can easily get distracted by all the stimuli in the environment.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a slave to your dog’s pulling powers. Listed below are 5 tips that can make dog walking easier and more enjoyable for both you and your pooch:
When your dog has already associated her collar and leash with going out, she may get over-excited once she sees you holding it. As you may already be aware, this excitement can extend all the way to the walk itself, with your dog pulling you in all sorts of directions.
To keep your dog calm, put the leash away when she starts jumping and barking at you. Then, turn around and ignore her for a while. After at least 3 minutes pass, get the leash again, but only put it on when she’s calm. If she’s not, repeat the process until she’s behaved.
Bring Your Pooch’s Favorite Reward
This one is critical if you’ve just started training your pooch to go on walks. Remember that praise should only be given if your dog displays desirable behaviors.
For instance, if she walks next to you without pulling for 5 or more steps, praise her. If she keeps this up, reward her repeatedly. If she stops at the right moment and looks at you, as if to ask for your permission, reward her.
Use A Front-Clipping Harness
You may be having second thoughts about going for dog walks because you constantly have to stop your dog from lunging at its leash. While your instinct is to pull the leash back to keep your dog closer, this isn’t going to get your dog to stop.
That’s because dogs have what is called “opposition reflex.” This means that their reflex is to fight any force that’s working against them. Hence, you may have a much better walk session if you use a front-clipping harness, as it puts just enough pressure to encourage your pooch to walk slower.
Don’t Move Forward When Your Dog Is Pulling
Thus, if your dog is pulling on her leash, stop on your tracks. Don’t move anywhere until she understands that moving forward means giving the leash some slack. This is especially helpful if you’re not using a front-clipping harness.
Give Sniffing Breaks
Dog walks aren’t just about keeping your dog in shape. It’s also about keeping her mentally stimulated. You can do this by giving her sniffing breaks at designated spots.
Once she has permission to sniff, give your command, such as “go sniff!”. Then, when it’s time to move forward, tell her, “let’s go!”. As you create more routines with your dog, the easier your walks will become.
Dog Walks Don’t Have To Be A Struggle!
It can be hard to look forward to dog walks if both you and your dog will be struggling somewhere along the way. Fortunately, if you change your current dog walk structure little by little, not only will you be able to establish yourself as the pack leader, but it will also make dog walks a lot more fun over time.