5 Tips for Stress-Free Walks

Lori Carman

The more exercise your dog gets, the more calm and attentive he’ll be.

Your daily dog walks should be peaceful, a time to relax and enjoy the outdoors with your pup. But not every walk goes as planned—you can’t control everything and everyone you may come across, and sometimes, even your dog may challenge you with her own behavior. Want to make your daily walks just a bit easier? Consider these tips before you head out with your furry friend.

1 WALK AWARE

Be on the lookout for cats, birds and small animals, other dogs, and toddlers who could get knocked over by a high-energy pooch. Ask for your dog’s attention, or cross the street or wait out of sight behind a parked car if needed.

2 USE THE BEST EQUIPMENT

Walks should be enjoyable and pain free, for both you and your dog. Use humane, no-pull equipment that employs natural counterbalance approaches to curb pulling without the use of pain or the risk of tracheal damage. There are many choices on the market these days. Ask a positive reinforcement trainer to help you choose the option best suited to your dog’s body and snout shape, as well as her pulling behavior and intensity.

3 WALK OFTEN

If your dog’s workout regiment amounts to a stroll around the block twice a day, surplus energy and under-stimulation will make it tough for him to behave when you take him out and about. The remedy? Amp it up. Find ways to allow him off-leash runs or playtime with other dogs, throw balls or Frisbees, take long hikes, hire a dog walker, or use a doggie daycare. The more exercise your dog gets, the more calm and attentive he’ll be.

4 WALK PREPARED

Carry treats or a favorite toy to reward pleasing manners like sitting at curbs, not barking at other dogs, not chasing birds, polite greetings of friendly humans, and loose-leash walking. Any behavior you reinforce is going to happen more often. In other words: If you like it, reward it.

5 GET HELP

If your dog is very challenging to walk, consider hiring a trainer to help you—or, if you’re already working with a trainer, ask his or her advice. With a little help and some practice, your walks can be a picture of interspecies harmony!

Lori Wainio-Carman, VSPDT, professional dog trainer and owner of Dream Dogs, has been successfully training for more than 20 years. Positively.comdreamdogs.com760-899-7272

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