Dog trainer shares five key skills you need to create happier more enjoyable walks

Owner petting dog while out on a walk
(Image credit: Getty)


Walks are an essential part of every dog's life that not only offers physical exercise but also mental stimulation and the opportunity to explore the world with their keen senses. Yet, for some dog owners, walks can become a frustrating experience rather than the bonding activity they are meant to be. 

Perhaps you’re trying to get to the bottom of why your dogs recall isn’t reliable or at your wit’s end working out how to stop a dog pulling on a leash after a few too many challenging walks. Fear not, as certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman has the solution to make walks with your furry friend more enjoyable and successful.

Goodman who is an accredited dog trainer certified through the esteemed Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior has outlined five key skills dog owners need to develop.

"When I am out on a neighborhood walk or public outing , my main objectives are keeping the dog safe, etiquette in public around people and other dogs, and meeting the dogs needs so they enjoy the walk but without dragging me down the street!", Goodman noted in an Instagram caption.

To find out how she does this you can watch her video below or carry on reading.

Five skills to help dog owners and their canines to have more fun on walks:

1) Eye contact: Establishing eye contact is a crucial skill for any dog, as it fosters communication and strengthens the bond between owner and pet. With proper training, your dog will learn to focus on you and respond to your cues, making walks more controlled and enjoyable.

2) Stopping and waiting at curbs: Teaching your dog to stop and wait at curbs before crossing the street ensures their safety during walks. This skill instills a sense of responsibility in your dog and prevents potential accidents during outings.

3) Walking close to you while ignoring distractions: Walking close to you on command while ignoring distractions like people and other dogs allows for a more pleasant and controlled walk. It empowers your dog to stay connected with you, even in stimulating environments.

4) Reliable Recall: A strong recall is vital for off-leash adventures and unexpected situations. Training your dog to return to you on cue, regardless of what else is happening, enhances safety and freedom during walks.

5) Building Toy Drive: Encouraging toy drive in your dog enables you to engage and play with them in various environments, promoting mental stimulation and enjoyment during outings. Check out the best puppy toys if you're on the market for some new additions.

Goodman emphasizes the importance of engagement in these skills. A dog that not only responds but also willingly focuses on its owner is the ultimate goal. 

To achieve this, she suggests rewarding your dog generously, practicing in low-distraction settings, and meeting their needs during walks, such as allowing them to explore and sniff their surroundings. 

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.