6 tips for better weekend walks
Here are some simple tips for enjoying weekend jaunts with your best friend:
1. Use the right equipment.
A head halter, such as a Gentle Leader, is best, as you can use it to gently lead your dog's head around to face you instead of that darned squirrel. Avoid any tool that employs pain, such as choke, prong, or electric collars. The science is clear that these only make matters worse.
2. Carry treats. Good ones. A lot of them.
Give your dog a piece of last night's steak or chicken every time he sees his triggers and you may eventually notice him looking for treats instead of lunging and barking.
3. Choose the right place and time.
If your dog is upset by the sight of dogs in your neighborhood, it might help to drive a few blocks away for some less-charged scenery. Choose places and times of day that provide fewer encounters with the things that upset your dog.
4. Watch the environment and your dog.
Actively scan for your dog's triggers so you can take evasive action or get the treats flowing before your dog has an outburst. Watch your dog, too. You probably know by now what his body language looks like when he senses an evil trigger - as soon as you see the change come over him, offer treats and lots of happy talk.
5. Keep your distance and move along.
Do your best to stay far enough from the things that upset your dog to avoid a reaction. If you must pass a trigger, do it quickly with lots of cheerful chatter and treats.
6. Be proactive.
The more you help your dog keep distance from the things he takes umbrage with, the less chance he has to practice the behaviors you dislike. Consider yourself your dog's protector, always on the lookout to avoid discomfort and incident.