How to get your dog to cooperate on walks
The connection we hope to experience with our puppy or dog may go well at home, but once it is time for a walk, it may be like you and your pup are on two different planets. Just when things seem like they may be improving, another challenge may come your way, like Daylight Savings. It is dark in the morning and in the evening making it harder to watch what your dog may grab on walks or see what may be coming your way. You may feel helpless or frustrated with your walking situation ( You love your dog but hate walks), but I am going to share some simple ways to help get your dog to cooperate on walks with you. These tips will help no matter what time you walk your puppy or dog.
Often our dog thinks the leash holds them back from getting to all the good stuff they want to sniff. If you do not make any attempts to connect with your dog, that unfortunately keeps reinforcing that the behavior is just fine to your dog. You, on the other end are holding the leash wrapped around your hand as well as holding the middle part for dear life. Too many times have I seen this technique used when I am walking down the street with a dog. Unfortunately you are telling your dog, by the changes you do, that something bad is going to happen. Why else does the leash go tighter just before your dog sees another dog or other thing he/she gets excited by in the neighborhood?
You can hold the leash with one hand and position it to the middle of your chest and when something comes by, wait for your dog to come back to you and praise/reward them or use a car or something else to be a barrier to your dog’s view. Also, you can cross the street with your puppy or dog rather then walk right into another dog parent with their pup.
It is not just your dog, but it is the neighborhood, the parks, people, other dogs, or wherever you go with your dog that can make it harder to walk together. Keep this in mind as not an obstacle but a game to have an uneventful walk- no exciting things should happen on your walk, just a good time.
Going on the same walk in the same neighborhood may seem convenient to walk your dog. However, the things that make it easier also can cause problems too, such as the barking dog, squirrels, off leash dogs, people, or anything else that gets your dog excited and focused on it rather then you.
Changing where you take your dog on a walk can help get your dog’s attention because you are not competing with everything else and that gives you the time to work on your dog focusing on you. If your normal walk has too much activity going on, changing your route and when you go on it can help. It could be as easy as going down a different street. Trying to find new places will give you different options. The more positive experiences you have will let you know that walks can be a great team effort together. In most neighborhoods you learn who has a dog, cats who are outside, squirrels, and anything else that affects your dog’s attention. If these are triggers that cause your dog to act out, try a different route.
Everyone has a lot on their plate but doing the bare minimum with your dog is not going to help you work better together. Sure, a quick walk or potty break can prevent accidents in the house but that can still frustrate you if that is not easy to do either. The time you invest in you and your dog, the more you will become a team that works well together.
Creating the time to go on regular walks as well as working with your dog to build that cooperation is important. Write a reminder to take the walk down on a board in your house, on your cellphone calendar, and any other way that will help you do that walk. It may seem silly to have to write down, “Walk my dog,” but it is necessary to save that time and give attention to your dog.
Also, how long you go on walks affects your success too. If you keep pushing when your dog is not cooperating, it will just make things worse. Sometimes the best thing to do when building better behavior from your dog is best to keep it short. However, you need to still work on building up the time for each walk. Maybe going down to five houses in your neighborhood and then adding another one each walk and see how your dog handles it. Remember there is always room to change things if they are not working.
Your dog is an important part of getting more cooperation on walks but so are you. Having the right attitude and willingness to be flexible will help. You can see things in the distance and avoid them just by observing on your walks. Anything that distracts you, like being on the phone or texting has to stop so your dog knows you are paying attention. On the next walk, leave the phone in your pocket and see how giving more attention to your dog helps get him/her to cooperate a little more too.
Going out the front door with just your dog is the equivalent of going out the front door with no poop bags. You hope things go okay but in the back of your mind you know they will not. Once that door opens it is game on for your dog to do the usual things (good or bad).
There are a couple of basic tools I like to use when going on walks that make a dog more cooperative. Having a front clip harness on will help not put pressure on your dog’s trachea if they are a puller. Having a treat bag with high value treats or kibble ( if they are on a special diet), a toy if they love them, and playing together will help. These different options, depending on your dog, will help he/she learn, when you start using them, that cooperating leads to such great things.
If you are looking for a way to fix the most common problem dog parents face on walks, a dog who pulls you everywhere, then my Dog Pulling Guide will help you. It is easy to print up and I break
I share how this problem starts and give you the training and tools to make walks better with you and your dog working together. Buy the course now while it is at the early bird price
Access powerful resources to enjoy spending time with your dog and never be embarrassed by their behavior again:
ENJOY YOUR WALKS TOGETHER
Take the Leash Manners Assessment to learn why your dog is pulling on the leash
STOP YOUR DOG FROM JUMPING
Tired of your dog always jumping up? Learn why they jump and how to fix it here
GUESS WHO’S COMING OVER
Tired of your dog losing their minds when the doorbell rings? This is for you.