Whether you recently brought a new puppy home or you have an older dog that seems to get in trouble every time you turn around, there are many ways to improve your dog’s behavior. But one of the best ways to help train your dog is by taking it for a walk regularly.
Walking with your dog is great for both of you and often improves mental and physical health for both of you. Don’t forget the old adage that “a tired dog is a well behaved dog”. It is often repeated because it is true. If your dog is chewing shoes, barking non-stop, or destroying items, sometimes increasing exercise and time outside is all he or she needs.
Here are five ways to teach your dog to behave by taking them for walks:
Create a Walking Rhythm.
One of the most important things to do with an untrained dog is to introduce him or her to some structure. You can do this by creating a walking rhythm or schedule. Start every morning with a 15- or 30-minute walk. Every afternoon, take your dog out for a quick walk around the block. And at the end of the day, take your dog for another longer walk.
Your cadence might depend on your work schedule, but creating some consistency with walking your dog will get them excited to go outside — along with giving you some one-on-one training time.
Use the Right Leash and Harness.
If you don’t have the right collar or harness, your attempts to train your dog will likely fall short. With the right dog harness or collar, you will struggle during the training phase and you and your dog will not enjoy your walks. 2 Hounds Design’s Freedom Harness is a best-selling dog harness for multiple reasons.
First, it’s a no-pull dog harness with 2 connection points, a front connection, which works like power steering, and the back connection is a martingale loop that tightens gently and acts like a compression wrap, distributing gentle pressure evenly all the way around the dog’s chest with no pinch points or pain points.
The Freedom No-Pull Harness also features a comfortable design, with a Swiss Velvet lining on the strap that goes behind the front legs, preventing rubbing and chaffing sores.
The Freedom No-Pull Harness is also easy to put on your dog, which will help you get out the door when your dog is excited to go for a walk.
Introduce Training and Rules.
Although the Freedom Harness will naturally help train your dog to walk better, verbal reinforcement or audible cues (clicker) are also important. Whether it’s just you training the dog, or your whole family is involved, start with three or four key words that you use every day. These could be as easy as sit, stay, and come. Use the same words each time you work with your dog.
Write down the cue-words and the exact phrasing you want to use; consistency is key. Teach your dog the action while saying the command, then click and reward them with a treat each time.
Let your Dog Release Energy.
A walk might be part of your dog’s training, but it’s also a fun time away from the house. Your dog will be able to smell the surroundings, meet some other dogs, and take in some fresh air. Although you should practice your cue-words on the walk, you should also let your dog play enough to release all their energy.
If your dog is a high-energy breed, you might need more than 15 or 30 minutes per walk to release the dog’s energy. Stairs might be a good exercise for your dog, but make sure to ask your veterinarian before you consistently use stairs. A puppy’s hips might not be strong enough, and some older dogs might experience pain on stairs.
Another benefit of walking your dog is that it helps prevent boredom. Barking, chewing, and destroying things are a symptom of boredom. A long walk before you leave the house could inspire a long nap, rather than rummaging.
You can also prevent boredom in dogs by supplying them with sturdy toys that they can’t chew up and eat. Making a DIY snuffle mat can also be a good distraction for dogs, especially the curious ones that like to chew up furniture or clothing.