Trainer reveals how to make walks more enjoyable for your dog (and her advice is super straightforward!)

Dog sniffing while on walk in bluebell woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

All dogs need walks, but some walks can be more enriching and fulfilling than others. It’s understandable that, sometimes, we might be in a rush or stressed for other reasons and we aren’t able to spend as much time on walks, or entertain our pups as much as we can at other times. 

However, when you can, it’s a good idea to make your walks more dog-focused, and don't forget the best dog treats, of course! This is something that expert dog trainer Juliana DeWillems, owner and head trainer at JW Dog Training & Behavior, recommends and outlines in a new Instagram post. It’s easier to do than you might think!

DeWillems begins by explaining that, when walking a dog, she swaps between encouraging them to sniff, explore, and move where they like, and asking them to walk closely at her heel – particularly while they pass a distraction or trigger.

“My walks tend to be dog-focused,” she continues, “Meaning I want the dog to get tons of enrichment, enjoyment, and fulfillment from the walk. And also, we live in a human-focused world where I need to keep my dog and others safe and comfortable.”

DeWillems says that she uses positive reinforcement training to teach some key skills. They include the dog responding to her name or something positive, walking closely on cue, and eating treats from her hand as they walk. (Here are 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks that might also come in handy!)

“We first cue heel by saying ‘With me!’ she explains. “And then once we pass the distraction, we release the dog with an ‘Okay, go sniff!’ cue.”

She also says that she prefers to use an eight-foot or 10-foot leash to allow the dogs she walks more freedom of movement, and this prevents pulling, too – here’s how to stop a dog pulling on a leash for more info.

“I heavily reward any time my dog chooses to engage with me or responds to a cue,” she adds. “In the early stages, I’m also rewarding frequently when there is slack in the leash.”

If your dog doesn’t enjoy long walks, and you’d like to keep their mind busy and occupied while on them, you might find this article useful: My dog doesn't like long walks so I use these four brain games to tire her out.

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$9.99 at Chewy

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
$9.99 at Chewy
Made with real chicken and apples, these deliciously wholesome meaty morsels are made without artificial flavors or colors and are great as a snack or training treat. 

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.