Trainer reveals the secret to a calm walk with your dog — and it all comes down to avoiding these two mistakes

Partial view of couple taking Beagle for a walk
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When you first welcomed your canine companion into your family, one of the things you were probably really looking forward to was enjoying long, leisurely walks together. 

But as so many dog owners quickly discover, even when armed with a bag of the best dog treats, sometimes those daily strolls can be more stress-inducing than stress-relieving!  

If you're wondering how to calm down a hyper dog so you can look forward to walking with your fur friend rather than dreading it, expert trainer Adam Spivey says there are two things you need to do before you even leave the house.

Read on to find out what he had to say in a recent Instagram post...

1. Make sure your dog is in a relaxed frame of mind: Many of us think that if we can get our dog to sit, that's the place from which we want to start a walk, but as Spivey says in his video, the sit alone is not good enough — we need to get our dog to sit and then wait for them to be calm before leading them out the door, otherwise they'll take all that hyped-up energy with them on the walk. 

"If your dog is whining before you leave the house, this will often lend itself to an anxious walk and can increase pulling and reactivity," Spivey explains.

2. Choose your words carefully: Have you ever put your dog in a sit, opened the door and then released them by saying something like 'okay' in an upbeat voice? If so, you're not alone, but it turns out this could be adding to your dog's excitement before the walk even begins.

"Using a release marker that often means 'free dog off you go', can often then undo the hard work of waiting for calmness and start the walk with excitement, which can lead to pulling and reactivity," says Spivey. 

Using a release word like 'okay' is fine when you're in a wide open space and are ready for your dog to burn off some energy, but when beginning a walk, put your dog in a sit position, wait for them to get into a calm space and then quietly lead them out the door.

Training your dog to be relaxed at the start of a walk takes time, patience and consistency. Once you feel your pup has mastered this important skill, here's 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks

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

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.