As a dog walker one of the most common questions I’m asked by passers-by is how do we keep so many dogs under control?
Well we aren’t perfect and we do have the odd indiscretion when one of the mutt crew may be too distracted by an interesting smell but on the whole they are pretty well behaved and I do feel proud when people comment on their good behaviour on an almost daily basis.
So how do we do it?
So taking inspiration from from Bear Grylls and Ray Mears I have put together a checklist in the form of a survival guide for you and your dog to enjoy a trip to the park, beach or woods so you both can have a great time and come home safely.
Before you even set off for the walk check have you got everything you need?
When we are out on a dog adventure we carry a bag with several toys, leads, some treats and water.
Now hopefully everyone remembers their dogs lead and some poop bags and a bag of supplies may be overkill for a trip to your local park, but if you don’t already you should get into the habit of taking some tasty treats and a toy with you.
Well if you take some treats and a toy you will probably use them when you get there and the more interesting you can make yourself to your dog the easier he will be to control when there are distractions aplenty.
This doesn’t have to cost much money either, just keep some hotdogs in the fridge and chop one up to take with you every time you go out.
Communication is Key
It’s you and your dog against the big bad world so make sure you communication lines are clear.
I’m kidding of course but does your dog have a good recall? If not you need to teach him that coming back and playing with you is the best thing ever.
If your recall is a little shaky then use a long line or lead and leave it attached to your dog’s collar while you play with him, this gives you control and prevents him from making a mistake and running off.
While we are on communication it may be a good idea to have a mobile phone with you should you have an accident but make sure you aren’t distracted checking text messages while you dog is off causing havoc somewhere.
If on the way to the park there’s a certain house you walk past where a really yappy or aggressive dog lives and your dog always reacts then alter your route so you and your dog don’t have the stress of dealing with it.
Also if you do you do the same walk every day your dog may become territorial over that particular area so keep mixing it up.
So think about where you are going to walk and give your dog new sights, smells and experiences every day. You will enjoy it more too!
Variety really is the spice of life.
Light a fire
Ok I should probably clarify I’m not for one moment suggesting you take a match to the swings or bins, I’m talking about a metaphorical fire here.
In a survival situation a fire is essential, it provides heat, warmth, light and a sense of security.
You should provide a spark that becomes the fire that will be the centrepiece of your walk together and you can do this through play.
This just takes some energy and enthusiasm on your part.
When I take my dogs anywhere the first thing I do is get out their favourite toy , tease them a little to build up their drive and start playing some games.
This takes the edge of them and gets rid of some of their pent up energy, it also gets them focused on me and I am reinforcing that I am the most interesting thing wherever we go.
You can do this using the food if your dog isn’t interested in toys.
Doing this will help you control your dog and set you up to have a great walk without your dog needing any other dogs or people to play with.
So there you go how to not only survive but thrive and really enjoy your daily dog walk together.
For more tips on how to keep your dog interested in you when you are out walking the you can check out my free Ebook and dog training emails by clicking on the blue link below.
Dom Hodgson and his son Alex have run Pack Leader Dog Adventures, a very popular dog adventure and training business based in Sunderland since November 2011. They love working in the great outdoors and love it even more if there are dogs involved! The Pack Leader Dog Adventures Store is the latest extension to the business. Always keen to give advice and try new products on the dog adventures, Dom thought he was in an ideal position to sell and promote the things his and his clients dogs love the most.
Dom can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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