In the world of dog ownership, the happiness that a well-engaged dog walk brings you is unparalleled. It's not just about physical exercise; it's about building a strong bond through effective dog training and dog walking strategies. Whether you're a seasoned dog owner or a newbie in need of some advice, this guide will help guide your walks for a positive experience!
1. Foundational dog training for walking success
Begin your dog walking journey by establishing a solid foundation through essential dog training commands. Ensuring your dog has the basic commands down to a tee is vital, such as "sit," "stay," and of course, recall! It's essential that your dog has a good understanding of these basic commands and knows that you are their teacher. Recall is one of the hardest commands to nail, especially as you build up on distractions, but practice makes (nearly) perfect!
2. Knowing your reward marker, and sticking to it
You might think that rewarding your dog with a 'good boy/girl' one day, and a big 'YES!' the next is an obvious way to reward your dog and reinforce their good behaviour. It is definitely easy for us to understand, however for your dog, sticking to one reward command or action every time is a more effective way to let your dog know they've done the right thing. Similarly to using a clicker, having a short, sharp reward command such as 'yes', is a great way to communicate easily and quickly to your dog that they've done something right.
3. High Value Rewards
Along with a reward command, when you're teaching something new or your dog is just starting out on his training journey, it's helpful to use high value rewards to reinforce good behaviours. Your high value reward can be anything! If they're a food-driven dog, its easy to use their daily food allowance as a reward during training, and you might not need to rely on super high value foods. If you find that your dog is not fussed about food, using a higher value treat like chicken, sausage, cheese or pate will be more effective!
4. Interactive Toys for Stimulating Dog Walks:
Integrating interactive toys into your dog walking routine is a great way to keep your furry friend engaged and excited, and more importantly, interested in playing with you over any other distraction. If your dog isn't as interested in food, you can reward them with a ball or a game of tug-of-war when they've done something right! Pairing your reward command with immediate play is a great way to let your dog know they've done what you wanted them to.
4. Exploring new environments for dog walks
Capture the interest of your dog and test your training skills by varying your dog walking routes and exploring new environments. When you go somewhere new, you are stimulating your dog's senses during each outing, given you the chance to test what you've been teaching them! The more distractions there are, the harder it is for your dog - so keeping your dog engaged is going to be more of a test.
5. Positive Energy for Successful Dog Walking:
An important tip to keep your dog engaged is to maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude, and try not get frustrated when things go wrong. Your positive energy enhances the bond between you and your dog, and as we all know, they read off our emotions! Getting frustrated at your dog if they take time to learn something can encourage them to get bored or distracted. The more energetic and positive you are towards teaching them, the more responsive they will be!
Use these tips during your next training session or dog walk and see if they make a difference. Remember, you're not just walking your dog—you're creating an engaging and positive experience for both you and your furry baby!