Things to do with your puppy/dog, having fun when out on a walk.

I have alsways thought that when you have achieved the basic skills with your puppy or dog, then the best time to practice, reinforce and progress those skills and to try new ones is when you are out on a walk with your puppy or dog, this is maximum distraction time; others dogs, new and old smells, people, noise etc.  A simple rule here is, if walk for an hour and it is raining, do you get any less wet if you include 5 or 10 minutes traaining in to that hour.  The answer is clearly no, in  which case, spend some time with your dog, engaing on a 1-2-1 basis, try not to make other peoples puppies and dogs, your pup’s or dog’s entertainment.

Walk at different speeds, quickly, slowly, quickly, normal, vary the distance of each change.

Stop and wait for your dog to sit, just because you have stopped; let your puppy/dog work this out, say nothing, keep your puppy/dog close so that it can’t wander around and lose focus. Wait for to sit, then give a treat and “Well done, great sit”.  Practice this until your puppy/dog sits every time that you stop.  This is great for pups/dogs that have a tendency to jump up on people when out.  Not always at the edge of pavement, otherwise this will become an associated exercise.

Find somewhere mid-way on your walk, where you can sit quietly, let your puppy/dog choose it’s own position to settle, either a down or a sit, then treat and say, “Good settle, great job”.

Walk your puppy/dog on the other side to the one you normally would.  This is tricky for some people, it feels very cack-handed, vary the distance walked, then swap back, etc.

Let your puppy/dog choose which route to take, (where safe to do so).  Go with your puppy/dog if it goes left at a path t junction for instance.

Do some basic obedience skills, sits, downs, look at, watch me at random points of the walk.

Play some games at home and when out, mental stimulation is essential.  Check the home page, training tips, help and advice.

Avoid contact with other people’s dogs, it may have the virus on it’s coat and there is a risk, however small, that it could transfer to your puppy/dog and then to you.

Laugh and chat with your puppy/dog when walking, usually the only time we engage with a puppy/dog on a walk is when we try to correct it, the rest is silence.

Give things names if your puppy/dog looks at objects/items that your puppy/dog might be anxious of, but not enough to avoid.  As you walk passed say, “Wheelie bin”, give a treat immediately you pass, and “Good boy/girl”, repeat with this and other objects.

Don’t put yourself under pressure to walk your puppy/dog, if you don’t fancy it, don’t do it.  Give your puppy/dog a really good chew such as a deer antler or a self-entertaining dog puzzle.