Today’s topic is Crazy walks That Settle down. So are you one of those dog owners whose dog goes nuts at the beginning of the walk? And then, maybe about one or two blocks into the hike, your dog finally settles in and starts walking at an enjoyable pace.
Well, if this is you, these tips are for you, and why not them be for everybody? That is just looking to improve the walks that they have with their pet dog. Okay, so here’s something that I think can be helpful. I learned many years ago that the walk does not start when you’re on the street, but it creates the moment you pick up the leash.
Heel For The Reward
I think it’s essential that your dog, before going on the walk, understand that the leash should signal them to get in heel position to receive a reward. You might be saying, oh, that’s not so easy to do. I get it can be difficult sometimes with certain dogs. To get them to settle down when they already get super excited when you grab the leash.
The thing to do is to grab your leash, put it on your dog, get your dog into a heel position, get them to settle down just inside of your house. And then, once you’ve got them to settle down for 5-15 seconds, begin to reward them calmly. I think this is the most incredible place to start fixing the wild walk that you might have is setting; the association that lets the leash mean that they should get into heel position and that it will be generously rewarded.
When they do so, it should also get the leash to mean that we will assert ourselves to get you into a heel position. Not in a cruel way, but in a way that a leader would communicate to their subordinates. Your dog must understand that they are subordinate to you in the walk.
Loosen The Leash
Okay, the second tip. So you’ve gotten your dog into a heel position, you’re heading up to the front door. This tip is going to seem a little odd, but hear me out. I want you to loosen the leash 100%. It would be best to have a good grip on the leash handle, but I want to reduce your leash. I want you to fling open the front door and let me emphasize that.
Allow your dog to go out the door without permission. Now, when that happens, yes, your dog is out the door. It would help if you still had a leash in hand. You should use your leash to bring your dog back into heel position and then close the door.
Do this process of opening the door, allowing your dog to go out, and then putting them back into a heel position. Until you can open the door. They don’t leave heel position, and then you reward them. Get 3-5 rewards with the dog there in heel before you cross the plane the door. Now, if you’ve been struggling with a crazy dog at the beginning of the walk for some time, you should know that these two tips are going to take you a little bit of time. It may take you up to ten minutes to do that, maybe more, maybe a little bit less. But the thing is to try to accomplish these two things.
Relax At The Front Door
Once you get the dog to relax at the front door as you lead them out, use a short leash technique. Where the dog has maybe 2-3 inches worth of slack.
Where you’re going to begin to move with the dog quickly, 30-50 paces. Once you move those 30-50 paces, insist on heel position again and then reward the dog. If you’re able to accomplish these three things that I’ve mentioned and you notice that your dog has started to calm down like it has been after you had gone a block or two, then you can relax these rules just a little bit.
But I would encourage each of you who might be struggling with that to try to follow these steps for at least a couple of weeks to give the dog’s brain a chance to form these habits.