Keeping Your Dog Engaged During Dog Walking
Tips for Dog Walking and Keeping your Dog Engaged during a Dog Walk.
Walking with your dog is a great way to bond with them on a daily basis. Most dogs love and look forward to going out on their daily walks. It’s their time to get exercise, release some energy and get some fresh air.
And, of course, you love spending the time with your dogs and can get exercise too. But, if your dog is tired or is bored on his daily walks, he or she might sit down and not get back up in the middle of the walk! And, if this happens on more than one occasion, this can be the new part of the daily walk routine. The sitting can be very unproductive for both of you and can make for a less enjoyable experience for both of you.
Below are some of the reasons why your dog may not want to walk, sits down during the walks, or is not excited about walking.
1. Your dog is bored of the same routine
Even though dogs are known to like routine, too much routine can bore your dog to the point that he sits down or dis engages. When taking the same exact walk each day at the same pace, your dog might be less engaged with the ritual. And then your dog will become bored and sit down to protest it or just not want to go at all.
Try to mix up the routine and take your dog out on different streets, routes and even mix up the pace a bit. If your dog starts to sit down, try a little jogging to keep your dog not only from sitting, but getting even better exercise. Surprising your pup each day can do just the trick.
2. Your dog needs a break and is simply tired
While dogs love to walk, not all dogs are long distance walkers so they sit down because they are simply tired. Older dogs or any dog that is suffering from a condition such as arthritis might have some pain walking and need a break. So they sit down.
Overweight dogs or those who tend to get really hot, like pugs for example, might sit down because they are having a hard time breathing. It’s important to know your dogs’ limits as far as how far they can walk and the temperature in which they feel comfortable. If your dog doesn’t like to run, than merely walk with him and run on your own!
3. Your dog is trying to get your attention
When you are walking with your dog, it’s important to give your dog your full attention. If you are busy looking at your phone, texting or talking on the phone, your dog might just sit down to stop you from doing just that. Your dog knows that by sitting, you will get off the phone and focus on him. Keep your attention on your dog by talking to your pup, giving him encouragement and praise and he probably won’t sit down again.
4. Your dog thinks that he is controlling the walk
When you take your dog out for a walk, try to be confident, firm and take the lead with your steps. Dogs are very good at understanding our body language. If you let the dog take the lead, he will do what he wants including sitting down.
If your dog does sit down, then use a commanding, sweet but firm voice to tell your dog to get up. And your dog will probably do just that. You can also use treats to help entice them.
5. Positive Reinforcement is a great way to stop your dog from sitting
Treats and toys are a great way to add some positive reinforcement on your walks. If your dog needs that extra motivation, give him a few healthy treats (very small bite sized) to commend your dog for good behavior. Use them sparingly so your dog doesn’t eat too many and that your dog now learns that he will only get up when given treats.
The goal is to reward your pup for good behavior. If your dog sits down, do not give him a treat and maybe instead just one treat at the end of the walk for a job well done. Keep your dog focused on you by carrying treats with you, and praising them several times during the walk with an immediate treat to follow.
If your dog has a favorite toy, even better. Bring the toy with you and use it to help your dog continue walking and not sitting and to keep him engaged.
6. Your dog experienced a traumatic event on a walk
Your pup might sit down on his walks or not want to go on a walk, because something scary or unpleasant happened to your dog on a walk. This can be true with a new rescue dog, that may have had a bad experience in the past. It might be simply that another big dog scared your dog, or a car or even a scooter zooming by. So, your dog is sitting down because he is nervous.
While you might not know the cause, trying a different route or street can help him emotionally to gain his confidence back. Encouragement and treats help it to become a positive experience as well. If you have a traumatized rescue pet, it is best to hire a trainer that is experienced with this instead of trying it alone.
Take your dog to the vet if none of the above recommendations work
If none of the above recommendations work and your dog still sits on walks, you should take your dog to the vet to have a thorough exam of his legs, elbows and weight. Your dog might be sitting down because he is in pain.
Obesity, knee issues, arthritis and hip dysplasia might be the culprit. If your dog does get a good bill of health, then keep on with your training and at least you know that the issue is behavioral and not physical.
If you shake up your daily routine, use positive reinforcement and stay off your cell phone, your dog will most likely stop his behavior of sitting down on walks and will engage with you and look forward to walks. Your dog wants and needs your attention and he deserves it!
If you find out that there is a health issue with your dog, pet insurance can be very valuable because it can help you pay for any serious health condition or injury that might happen to your dog. To learn more about pet insurance and the best pet insurance providers of 2019, consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance can be a very helpful resource!