Fall is beautiful! One of the most enjoyable bonding moments you can have with your dog is simply taking a neighbourhood stroll together. We already know it is mutually beneficial both physically and mentally. It gives us time and space to just be present in those moments. We enjoy the outdoor splendour, the sounds of nature around us and just observing our dogs in all their cuteness.
You can learn tons about your dog when you make a consistent effort to connect with them in a way they can understand. Dial in when they are asking for either guidance or a “leg up” in situations they find uncomfortable. It is important to step in and provide that safe place for them to make the right decision.
Discover their favourite currency and find ways to meet your dog halfway. Appreciate their strengths, weaknesses and individual preferences that make them special and loveable. Remember that learning on both ends is always happening. Training needs to be a part of your day and routine. Do not give up.
You will be witness to all sorts of behaviours out walking. There will be those perfect days and then frustratingly unfocused ones. Practice U-turns and giving them ample space. Teach foundations and attention skills to create strong positive associations for a dog who will listen reliably, even with distractions.
Build their resiliency; introduce novel items and situations gradually so they can manage their emotions. If they are scared and reacting close to home, start by taking them for a relaxing car ride to a secluded location where it is peaceful. Be creative to let them feel that success. Then give yourself a pat on the back for making incremental progress. The world can be scary, and you really just need your best friend by your side.
Laura Hudson is owner of The Woof Pack Dog Walking & Pet Services