Trainer reveals how to help your dog feel calm before you leave for a walk — and it's very straightforward

Excited dog licking man's face
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Does your dog ever seem to be at their most hyper just before you leave the house for a walk? As soon as they hear the jangle of the front door keys or see you grab the leash or put your shoes on, does your pup start jumping up and down? Maybe your dog is a leash chewer? 

Many of us will relate to this sort of scene – a dog becoming overly excitable when they know they’re about to go for ‘walkies’ – and while it can be funny it can also be frustrating. Imagine spending good money on one of the best dog leashes only for your dog to chew it!

But, fortunately, there are ways to prevent this sort of behavior, and doing so is easier than you might think. Certified dog trainer San Choi, from Ruff Roll Academy, has explained all in a recent Instagram post. 

First, make sure that your dog is able to stand right in front of you while you’re holding a leash. Mark this a few times so your dog knows that it’s a desirable behavior. Choi adds, “For some dogs, this step is a big deal so take your time and break these steps into separate sessions.”

Then, wait for your dog to stand or sit still while your hands move over to them – as if you’re moving toward them to clip their leash on, and say ‘Yes’ to your dog when they stay still as you reach over. “Find the right starting point,” says Choi. “If this gets difficult, move your hand less. It’s about finding the right amount of movement to promote stillness, not moving your hand enough to create movement.”

Once your dog is good at staying still here, you can gradually expand your reaches. It’s fine to take things slow and gradual – there’s no need to rush! And, be sure to say ‘Yes’ when the leash is clipped, not before. Do so, and you might find yourself on your way to knowing how to calm down a hyper dog before a walk. 

Speaking about the video, Choi explains that, “Behind the scenes, this dog had plenty of breaks in between each step before we could put it all together.” He also recommends splitting the steps into separate exercises before putting them together, and practicing each one more than you think you might need to.

Meanwhile, says Choi, “It’s even more helpful to hold something that does not have such a high-value item like the leash, you can also build up to the leash if you need to.”

Excited and happy dog body language before a walk is quite common to see, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with your pup getting excited before they go outside, but following Choi’s advice may make your pre-walk routine a little easier!

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.