Tony Cruse advises how to calm an excited dog down before a walk...

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My Sprocker, Bailey, gets so excited when I say the word ‘walkies’ that it takes ages to get him ready because he doesn’t let me put his harness or lead on. How can I calm him down?

Tony says: ‘Walkies’ has become the predictor of a very exciting walk. If you want to start the walk calmly, don’t use the word. Chaos may also begin at the sight of the harness and lead. You can make these tools appear dull by showing them to your dog and then putting them away again. If you do this 15 times a day, they stop predicting a walk.

When you do go for a walk, a tip regarding harness fitting is to hold a Kong with a tiny amount of chicken paste or peanut butter smeared inside. As your dog licks the yummy Kong, with the other hand you can fi t the harness. The Kong technique has two advantages:

1 It provides a pleasant distraction for the dog.

2 The harness becomes a pleasant thing to wear because it’s soon associated with the tasty Kong.

Once you have the harness and lead attached, never rush out of the door. Wait a couple of minutes to allow your dog to calm down a little. If walks are crazy and over-exciting, the excitement ‘bleeds backwards’. This means the time before the walk has begun also becomes crazy and exciting, so add in a few calm pauses.

Tony Cruse – A member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers.


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