Neil’s Training Tips: Make the Most of Puppy Walks

BY NEIL COPELAND, Special to the Insider

How many of you use the walk with your pet as a potty break? This topic is probably one of the top issues I see when discussing obedience with pet owners.

Using the walk as a potty break is setting up the relationship to be frustrating and the human does not even know it yet. 

Let us use our imagination for a minute and you have a dog by the name of Ranger. Ranger is an energetic young pup that needs to get his energy out.

You decide that you have a busy morning with getting kids around, getting ready for work, feeding the new puppy and then rushing everyone out the door. You wonder when you are going to enjoy your puppy. Everyone needs exercise right? 

Walking your puppy is a great way to start the day. The walk should be used more for the enjoyment of the human than the pet. This does not mean that in the future you may blend the lines.

In the beginning there must be a standard. If the standard is pulling from one bush to another, then that is the precedent set for not only as a puppy but for their lifetime. 

So Ranger needs to go for a walk. You start anticipating how your young pup is going to act today during your walk. You know there is not a lot of time as you need to get to work. You have already had the puppy go potty before going for a walk. Now is the moment and you are going to hit the long loop you use.

Try to use a path that is not on sniffing surfaces such as grass, trail or something of interest. Try using the asphalt or concrete on the road. The hard surface will not encourage the puppy to walk with his nose on the ground. Use some treats to encourage your puppy to walk next to you but try to not use commands, maybe just some little noises along with treats to get their attention.

Keep your walks short for your puppy and this will all work out over time. Not allowing your pet to pull everywhere early will help you establish a standard and a standard will be considered conditioned over time. Be sure to reach out to a trainer if you feel that you are just being pulled everywhere as there is help to make your walks easier.

Neil Copeland is owner of Seven Lakes Kennels.