What happens when you grab the leash to head out with your dog? Does mayhem ensue? And how does the walk go after that? So often, we are in such a hurry to get going that we miss opportunities to help our dogs build better habits, learn self-control or be more comfortable.

What if you consider the walk beginning right from the moment you grab the dog’s leash? The things that happen before you even leave the house affect how your walk goes. As such, there’s value in helping our dogs with the process of heading out the door. Setting a good tone by slowing down and dealing with what’s happening is beneficial for several reasons. It will:

  • teach your dog that calm behaviour works to get things they want
  • help make steps that are a challenge for your dog more comfortable for them
  • set the tone for the walk by introducing some focus, structure and relaxation

Want some examples?

  • If your dog starts bouncing off the walls when you reach for the leash, just wait for them to settle a bit before going any further.
  • Is your dog a wiggly worm when you put their harness on? Make the process more comfortable for you both! Give them a licky mat or chew toy to keep them busy while you get them geared up.
  • Does your dog barge out the door? First, wait for them to sit or back away from the door before opening it.

Although building better behaviour at the door is a process and ideally is taught as separate training exercises, these simple steps are great ways to get started. So next time you are ready to grab the leash, think about one thing you can do to help make the start of your walk calmer and more enjoyable for you and your dog.

Would you like to know more ways to make walks more fun? Check out What’s Missing in Great Leash Training?

For more tips to help you and your dog, join Positive Dog Life.