Setting Up For Success on Your Walks

09/02/2022

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SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS ON YOUR WALKS

Before you go on a walk with your puppy there are some things you can do to set you both up for success.

It is really unlikely that your puppy will be able to walk beautifully on a loose lead next to you as soon as you start venturing out together because there are lots of distractions and new smells, sights and sounds for your puppy to experience.

You want to first let them have a chance to sniff and explore on a longline attached to the back of their harness. This will help them to get used to the environment, building up their confidence and becoming more relaxed.

Let your puppy have as much time as they need to settle into the environment. Don’t rush too quickly to try and train together, let your puppy tell you when they are ready.

Reward everything that your puppy does, that you like. If they check in and look at you, reward them. If they settle calmly, reward them, if they sit when somebody passes, reward them.

When your puppy has settled into the environment you might see that they start to look at you a lot more, particularly as you’ll be rewarding each time.

This is when you can start to work with your dog and teach them where you want them to walk. Loose lead walking can look different for different people so get clear on what it means for you – what is your goal? Reward your dog in the position you would like them to walk and don’t be stingy! Reward at least every couple of steps to start with.

Take frequent breaks for your puppy to sniff and explore between periods of focus.

It’s also really important to keep an eye on the environment as things change quickly. Your puppy might go from calm and relaxed to stressed and worried or excited and bouncy in a few moments if new distractions appear.

Watch for changes in the environment and be mindful of your puppy’s body language. You might need to alter your planned route to give your puppy more space and time to take everything in.

As always, look out for your puppy and make sure that every outing is a positive experience.

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