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Five essential rules for a stress free dog walk.

Five essential rules for a stress free dog walk.

Sounds easy doesnt it? 5 simple steps to make your dog walk easier?

Well yes and no but certainly this is a good starting point!

 

  1. Plan to Succeed

Think before you leave the house. Do i have everything i need to make this work? Lead, Treats, Poo Bags, Whistle, Lights, Phone. Now what route are you taking? Do you need to walk past the crazy dog at the end of the street who scares the living daylights out of you and your dog and causes your dog to lunge and bark? Or can you find another calmer route. A dog walk should be enjoyable not stressful so find a way to make it enjoyable.

2. Its just a walk

Dont let it get to you if it doesnt quite go to plan. But dont take my word for it look at the math.

For arguments sake lets say the walk lasts 60 minutes. Within your walk you have an incident which means your dog pulls, lunges, barks and screams at another dog as you pass them. You are embarrassed, mortified. When you get home you tell your partner the walk was awful and you couldnt control the dog. But in reality the incident lasted 20 seconds. It was awful but it lasted 20 seconds of a 3600 second walk.

Let it go and focus on the next opportunity to get it right!

3. Look at your body language

This is one of the simplest and easiest things to do. For some bizarre reason some dog trainers have this incredible notion that your dog must walk on your left hand side. This dates back to the days when people carried guns in their right arm therefore the dog would be on the left. I dont know about you but i dont tend to walk down the street with 12 gauge shotgun. So instead we train to both right and left side depending on whatever the situation demands. So if i have the road on my left the dog is on my right. If another dog approaches on my right i have the dog on my left.

We do this for whatever the better option is. That way you alter your body language and position to stop your dog from being able to lunge at something. It is not an instant fix as it needs practice but it does work, a lot.

4. Practice Walking

Change your mindset. Instead of thinking i have to walk my dog. Start thinking i have to ‘Train’ my dog. You dont have to do a 1 hour circuit of that beautiful lake being dragged around. Instead you can take 5 minutes to get out of the house calmly, 5 minutes to try some sits and downs in the drive, 5 minutes to get to the end of the road without being yanked around.

This way the dog learns in smaller chunks and can take in more information.

It is not where you go, but how you get there thats important.

5. Perfection is unattainable

Once you realise this things will become easier. No dog is perfect. It might seem like that as you pass that calm Labrador walking off lead to heel while your dog is play bowing and barking their heads with you being dragged along for the joy of it. But you dont know that the Labrador goes to the toilet in the kitchen every night or jumps and knocks down the mother in law every time she comes over.

You dont know. So dont judge yourself when you see a snapshot of other peoples dogs. Relax and work at finding a better balance between you and your dog.

 

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