Dog walking Tips!
By: Ivanna C.
Hi guys!! Walking your dog should be easy, enjoyable, and relaxing. When you get to this place, your relationship with your dog will be that much sweeter, I promise.
I’m going to break down some tips that will hopefully help you achieve a nice calm walk.
Tip 1: Set the tone
I think that this is a VERY important step, even if it means taking a few more minutes before getting out the door.
What I mean by “setting the tone” is wait for your dog to calm down before stepping out the door or gate. Do not encourage excitement as this will only make having control more difficult. What this does is begins to condition your dog to learn that calmness and relaxation will bring good things. YES, you can condition your dog to be calm. Even when you grab the leashes, just be a lot more calm about the whole process. Don’t sweet talk your dog, in fact you don’t really need to say anything to them. Approach the walk in a very calm and composed way.
Signs of relaxation: Ears soften (they are no longer perked up), maybe they shift from sitting up right onto a hip, or they will even lie down.
Tip 2: Keep the leash slack
My tool of choice is a slip lead. It’s simple, versatile, and long lasting. I position the leash at the top of the neck in order to have better control of the dog. Ultimately, I want the leash to be as “loose” as possible.
Only correct your dog when they make a mistake i.e when they start moving past your boundary. Usually a quick pop of the leash or small amount of pressure works.
Tip 3: Focus on the walk
The majority of your walk should consist of walking- not tracking or marking.
The problem with marking is that you begin to see territorial problems pop up. One dog crossing by becomes a problem because your dog always marks those same spots. If you know your dog tends to mark or track a lot, keep them away from the trees or plants. You can also adjust the slip lead and convert it to a gentle lead. This will allow you to keep your dog’s nose up off the ground.
Tip 4: Maintain a positive attitude
In many ways our dogs are a reflection of what we project onto them. I find that on the days when the walk is more challenging I’m not in the best mood. I always take a couple of deep breaths, and straighten my posture when I walk dogs. I know that if I’m good, so will the dog be. That is the beauty of our dogs.
My corrections never come from a place of frustration. If I need to slow down- reset, I will. So just take your time, learn to enjoy the process, and soon you will see that your dog gets it.
Tip 5: Don’t give up!
Your dog will test you- I guarantee it. If you really mean it, they’ll know. If you don’t they’ll also know. So remember that once you’ve started a new routine, really stick with it. A dog cannot follow an unstable leader. Only a calm assertive leader will earn the dogs respect. Don’t allow your dog to make the decisions for you. Remind them as many times as necessary!
If it makes you feel any better, you will always be smarter than your dog. And at the end of the day, your dog just really wants to do things right. When we establish rules and boundaries we bring clarity into our lives.