Dog Walking 101
Taking your dog on walks is a great way for both of you to get daily exercise. Not only does your dog get a potty break and exercise, they also get mental stimulation and an awareness for the neighborhood. However, if your dog is difficult to walk, it may make your daily strolls impossible. Luckily, there are methods you can use to train your dog and ensure a positive experience for everyone.
When to Walk Your Dog
You should take your dog on a walk at least once a day. The breed and age of your dog will determine if your dog needs more exercise. It’s best to try for five walks a week of at least 30 minutes or more. Regular walks are important to your dog’s overall health.
Your dog may need to go out to potty 3 or more times a day. Don’t rush their potty breaks: deciding where to go is a big part of how your dog communicates with the world. Sniffing around also alleviates anxiety and helps them explore their surroundings. Letting them take the lead, safely, is important during these outings.
The Best Leash for You and Your Dog
When going on walks, you want to have control over your dog. A sturdy leash that’s 4-6 feet long will be helpful during your walk. You can choose any leash that feels comfortable to you. Leather or nylon rope leashes with a short lead is best for long walks so you can have quick control of your dog in uncomfortable situations.
A retractable leash is easy to hold and good for potty breaks or to let your dog roam on leash. These aren’t great for dogs that pull a lot.
If you struggle with your dog’s pulling on walks a “no pull harness” or body harness may be a good alternative. These harnesses and a sturdy leash give you more control over your dog while you’re training.
How to Stop Constant Tugging
Constant pulling can make the walk stressful for you and your dog. Loose leash or relaxed walking is the preferred method of walking. However, you'll need to train your dog to do this. While training, make sure you’re in charge of the walk. If they start pulling, immediately stop. Have them sit or come back to you, then reward them with treats and praise.
Maintaining this training, your dog should learn that pulling gets them nowhere. If you’re still having trouble with your dog pulling, you can give them a “no pull” head halter to assist with training.
Take Precautions Outside
Walking outside comes with its own dangers. Try to avoid walking your dog in the heat of the day. With all their fur, there’s an increased risk of heat stroke, especially with bigger dogs. Also pay attention to your dog’s tolerance to cold, and don’t walk them during the coldest parts of the day.
Try to avoid lawns, gardens, or mulch in your neighborhood. These can be filled with toxic products. Also, watch out for other dogs, creatures, vehicles, or cyclists that may pose a threat to your dog. If you’re walking in a dense forest keep an eye out for snakes, spiders, and check for any ticks after the walk. Have reflective clothing for you and your dog if you’re walking in the dark. Be vigilant on your outing, but not stressed. This should be a fun experience for both of you.
Meeting New Dogs
Keep an eye on your dog when they’re meeting new dogs. If your dog’s tail is wagging and they seem interested, you can let your dog approach slowly as long as the other dog is willing. If your dog is showing signs of aggression or fear, you should remove your dog from the situation.
Training your dog to associate meeting new dogs with praise and treats will teach them something positive will happen. If your dog needs more time during training, make sure to use the “sit” command or maintain a distance from other dogs.
3 Things To Bring On Your Walk
Depending on the kind of walk you’re taking, you may need various things. If you’re going for an extended walk during the day, here are three things you need to bring:
- Water, especially if it’s hot outside.
- Treats, so you can practice training and good behavior.
- Extra poop bags, as it’s important to pick up after your dog every time.
Make the Walk Fun
A walk is meant to stimulate and provide exercise and fun for your dog. Mix up your walk by taking them to new places. Choose fun locations like the dog park or a friend’s house.
When taking your dog to the dog park or other places for off-leash play, make sure they’re trained to return. Practice having them come when called to make sure you can trust them off-leash.
You can also plan walks with other dogs and their owners. This creates a comfortable social setting without being overwhelmed by the park. Give them time to sniff around and let them explore the area. Sniffing mentally stimulates your dog and releases anxiety.
Behavioral Reasons for House Soiling
If medical reasons have been ruled out and your dog is still having accidents in the house, there may be a behavioral reason. Different behavioral reasons may include:
- Lack of House Training
- Incomplete House Training
- Breakdown in House Training
- A Surface Preference
- Fear of Going Outside
- Dislike of Cold or Rainy Conditions
- Urine Marking
- Separation Anxiety
- Submissive/Excitement Urination
What to Do About the Problem
Treatment for lack of house training. Your dog may not have been completely trained to go outside. They may lose their house training as they age. Establish a routine for them to know when to go out. If your dog is used to going on certain surfaces, try to take those surfaces outside.
Treat the medical or behavioral reason for the cause of house soiling. Understanding the underlying cause will help you train with compassion. Make sure your dog has plenty of time to exercise and spend outdoors. This can help them get comfortable if you have recently moved to new surroundings.
Useful Tips. Be patient with your dog. They may need time to adjust to new surfaces. Pay attention to the signals that indicate your dog needs to potty. Give your dog plenty of time outside. They use potty breaks to sniff and explore their surroundings. They may need more time to choose where to go to the bathroom. Take them out frequently so that they have many opportunities to go.
Paper training your dog is not recommended unless there is a specific reason to do so. The reasons may include that your new adult dog is only used to going to the bathroom on paper. This should only be a temporary fix while you housetrain your dog.
Types of House Soiling
There could be multiple reasons for your adult dog peeing inside. The types of house soiling may include:
- They’re used to specific surfaces like concrete or paper instead of grass.
- They’re afraid to go outside.
- Bad weather makes them fearful of going out.
- They have severe anxiety that triggers their accidents indoors.
What Not to Do
Do not punish your dog or use harsh treatment if you find an accident in the house. Rubbing their nose in the accident or yelling at them will only make your dog afraid of you. There is nothing productive about hitting your dog or scolding them once the accident is over. Negative punishment will do far more psychological harm than any good.
Your adult dog may already have negative associations with people or surroundings. They may also have behavioral issues that cause the accidents. It’s important to be patient and to train your dog using only positive reinforcement.