Maintaining a puppy's focus during walks, especially when encountering other dogs, is no easy feat. This is just one of the many loose leash walking mistakes canine owners face in the early stages of training.
While there are simple fixes, like the best dog treats, that can be used as a means of distraction, there are longer-term solutions for maintaining your pup’s focus while out on walks. The head coach at Kane9 Dog Training, Kait has shared a valuable tip on the Kane9 Instagram account that will equip owners with knowledge on how to maintain a pup’s attention around other dogs and help to create a more enjoyable walking experience.
By carefully considering the associations created around other dogs and finding a balance between engagement and playtime, pet owners can foster better focus and control over their puppies during walks. Kait demonstrates this in a video below but underneath this, you will find a full summary of her advice.
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The trainer from Kane9 encourages dog owners to, “Take a step back and think about what associations you might have created around other dogs.” Kait goes onto explain that constantly arranging "play dates," taking puppies to daycare or dog parks, and allowing them to interact freely with neighborhood dogs can inadvertently teach puppies that meeting other dogs always leads to engaging in play. While socialization is crucial, an overemphasis on playtime can make it challenging to maintain a puppy's focus on their owners.
To address this issue, the Kane9 trainers recommend finding a balance that prioritizes engagement with the owner across various contexts, particularly while on leash. Establishing clear boundaries and permission for safe interaction with other dogs is important while reinforcing the importance of staying focused on the owner during walks. By incorporating these elements, pet owners can create a more harmonious and enjoyable walking experience for the puppy and themselves.
Plus, it's never too early or late in a pup's life to teach recall. Working out the reasons why your dog’s recall isn’t reliable and then addressing this through training, with or without a trainer, can improve engagement while out walking.
With regular training, pet owners can promote better focus and control during walks, enabling them to guide their puppies with confidence. This not only contributes to safer and more enjoyable outings but also helps puppies develop essential obedience skills and adaptability in various environments.
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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.