Does your pup struggle to hold focus while on your walk? Do you get pulled left and right at every distraction that comes across your dog? Follow these tips to teach your dog how to better focus on walks!
#1: Teach your dog focus behaviours at home
On walks, you may give your dog the freedom to sniff and check out the neighbourhood, but you also need to quickly gain their attention when a person or another dog approaches. Teach your dog these focus behaviours developed by Dr Sophia Yin, a veterinary behaviourist renowned for her low-stress handling and behaviour modification methods. Begin training your dog in the comfort of your own home with no distractions, and then move outside, still staying far enough away from your dog’s triggers to remain under their reactivity threshold. Slowly build up to closer distances and more distractions as you continue to use the focus behaviours.
#2: Use a head collar when walking your dog
Headcollars for dogs are similar to halters in horses—where the head goes, the body follows. If an unexpected distraction sneaks up, and your dog is well over their reactivity threshold, a flat collar won’t help guide them to a safe distance. Instead, fit your dog with a head collar like the Gentle Leader, so you have better head control when they become hyper-focused on their reactivity trigger, and use the collar to redirect their focus to you.
Does your dog still become anxious and stressed on walks, despite your training efforts? Many dogs who suffer from generalized anxiety can benefit from medications that may help them relax. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian to see if a medication can help calm your dog, especially when walking.