Walking Your Dog Shouldn’t Be a Drag

Now that warmer weather is upon us, many of us will be hitting the trails. If you’re planning on bringing your pups along, now is a good time to brush up on your leash skills.

None of us enjoy being dragged down the trail by our over-stimulated pooch.

Here are 7 tips to help your dog walk nicely:

1. Do focus exercises indoors. Before you take it outside, play games like, “look at me” and “leave it.” A couple of videos by the awesome trainer at Kikopup, that demonstrate how to do these two games can be viewed here and here.

2. Take the focus exercises outdoors. Have your dog on leash in the back yard and practice “look at me” and “leave it” as you walk. Start off walking backwards so that you’re facing the dog, then turn once she’s focused on you.

3. Don’t walk in a strait line. Keep the leash loose and walk in a random pattern. If you’re constantly changing direction, your dog will be more focused on you. A second before you change direction, give a cue. This can be anything like a kissy sound or patting your leg.

4. Tight leash means stop. If at any point your dog walks ahead, and the leash gets tight, STOP. Wait for your dog to back up or release the tension and then continue walking.

5. Take treats. If you reward your dog for being beside you, she will be much more likely to stay there. Make sure you deliver the treat right next to your leg every time until she understands that that’s the only place she gets paid when on a walk.

6. Go sniff. Dogs need to stiff. That’s how they learn about the environment. If they are not allowed to sniff, especially when in a new place, it can be very stressful for them. If they are nervous about their surroundings, they will be less likely to listen to you. So put sniffing on cue by saying “go sniff” as they approach something like a bush or tree. Give them time to take it all in. Then say “let’s go” and pat your leg, when they come to your side reward them, and continue walking.

7. Talk to your dog. If your dog has your attention it will be more likely that you will have hers.

8. If the environment is too stressful for your dog, leave. The point of taking your dog is to have fun. Don’t force her into situations she’s uncomfortable in, and walking will be much more pleasant for you and your dog.

[wpvideo MQl83Z03 ]

Helping O’Malley with his “Toy Guarding”

In this video I am demonstrating how to help your pup understand that taking something away that he is playing with is not so bad.

O’Malley absolutely loves his toys and gets very upset if you take them from him.

It’s really important that you go slow. The goal is to never have the dog react. In the beginning of this video I was pushing the dog much too hard. I knew I would probably be bitten but knew he had good bite inhibition and wanted to demonstrate his reaction in hopes that this video could possibly help others who are having the same issue.

If your dog is reactive and you are unsure of his ability to control his bite please do not try this exercise and consider hiring a professional dog trainer. Also I had previously worked with him on playing tug with a “leave it”/ “take it” cue. This was a process in of its self and was not demonstrated in this video.

I hope you enjoy and I apologize for the poor video quality.[wpvideo 4or7VTGi ]



We are excited to announce that our trainer Bryan Litchford has earned his professional dog trainer credentials through the CCPDT! We feel that it is important to be as educated about animal behavior and training as possible and we are committed to the latest science and research in animal learning. Thank you for putting your trust in us.