How to walk your dog properly so that he enjoys his walk?
Do we have to remind him all the time? Or should we let him live his life without any intervention from us?
When we walk our dogs, we tend to be on their backs a lot and intervene as soon as they stray a little too far.
This is totally understandable, as we have every right to be afraid of losing our dogs.
We will therefore give you some advice to make your walk a pleasant moment for you and your dog.
THE IDEAL WALK
TO HAVE THE NECESSARY MATERIAL FOR A WALK WITH YOUR DOG
It is very important to have the right equipment that will be adapted before going for a walk, whether it is for you or your dogs.
A treat pouch, unless you don’t mind getting your pockets dirty. Treats that your dog loves. A lanyard and a harness adapted to your dog (the shape of the harness should be H or Y, but we advise you to avoid harnesses that block the dog’s shoulders and can cause locomotion problems later on). Biothane is a material that we recommend for a lanyard or a leash because even when wet, it will not be heavy for the dog to wear, unlike cotton materials that can soak up water more easily. Good walking shoes to avoid blisters. Waterproof clothing in case of rain. Toys that your dog loves if he doesn’t like treats: ball, knotted rope, etc.
Even if your daily walk only lasts 30 minutes, you need to leave properly equipped so that you don’t run into any unforeseen problems.
Personally, I also leave with a small first aid kit and an extra leash in case there is a small accident or breakage. I often go in the forest or in the mountains and I prefer to prevent than to cure.
THE IDEAL WALK
TO CALL YOUR DOG BACK ALL THE TIME?
We have the reflex to call our dog as soon as it moves away from us.
Except that the first goal of a walk is to leave a minimum of freedom to his dog so that he can enjoy his own moment.
If we are constantly behind his back, he may not listen to his master and even turn a deaf ear.
If your fear is to have a dog that does not return to the recall, you can totally work it by being accompanied by a professional of the canine behavior and we also made an article on the recall with advice so that your dog finally listens to you when you call him: Article on the recall.
We will also discuss the idea of automatic recall which is a very practical technique for outdoor use so that your dog will pay attention to you in a natural way.
This method was taught to me when I lived with a deaf dog who, because of her hearing impairment, could not return when I called her.
The idea is to teach the dog to come back to you regularly in a natural way, even in the presence of dogs or distractions.
How do you teach this to your dog?
Simply by rewarding your dog when he looks at you on his own while walking and also when he comes back to you naturally without any request from you.
This way, your dog will associate the fact of paying attention to you with something pleasant and positive.
When an event has a pleasant consequence, it is likely to recur regularly.
It’s up to you to set the level of difficulty as well. That is, you don’t ask for a recall for the first time when a rabbit comes out of the bushes or during a crazy game of tag. It is obvious that your dog does not have perfect recall written in his brain from birth. It’s an exercise that you have to work on gradually, like any other learning we want to teach him.
Imagine that your dog starts at the kindergarten level and that you want to make him pass the high school diploma.
There are a few steps to take before he is completely comfortable in different situations.
THE IDEAL RIDE
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR DOG HAS ENJOYED HIS WALK?
The purpose of the walk is not to make the dog run for two hours at the risk of making it enduring and that it is in demand more and more important to be tired of its future outings.
A walk can be done in a small area of the forest with a dog that spends its time with its nose on the ground.
Olfaction is an intense and tiring activity for the dog. Indeed, the dog is endowed with a super sense of smell and he can also discriminate odors (distinguish two distinct smells for example). A dog that sniffs during a walk is therefore a dog that will get mentally tired.
Even if it is annoying to wait sometimes five minutes in the same place for the dog to finish sniffing his blade of grass, give him time to sniff. The faster you pull Titou to go, the more time he will take the next time to gather his information.
It is thanks to his nose that your dog will gather information on his environment and on the other dogs that have passed by before him.
We spend a lot of time on our cell phones to get news about what’s going on in the world or to get news about our friends/family. Imagine that smells are a way to communicate for Titou.
In order to know if your walk was positive for your dog, you need to see his behavior when you get home. It’s up to you to see if your dog is tired or excited when he gets home.
The perfect walk should be one that makes your dog feel more relaxed on the way home, not the other way around.
Also, remember that the walk should be daily, even if you have a large yard.
Your dog should be able to go out for at least 30 minutes a day to get a change of scenery.
After that, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to take your dog for one long walk or several short ones during the day, but remember to take him out regularly.