Your walk in the park doesn’t need to start in a chaotic, adrenaline-fuelled rush, as trainer Tony Cruse explains.
So, you’ve arrived at the park. What happens next? Is your dog so excited that he rushes up to other dogs and gets into trouble? Is he so wound up that he chases the joggers around and around… and around?
This is not a great start for a park walk and it really doesn’t have to be this way!
Previously we looked at leaving for the park and how to ensure the journey was a calm one. Hopefully, your dog is now happy in the car and not an over-wound spring upon arrival.
This time, we’re focusing on the start of your walk. If it starts in an unruffled, controlled way, the rest of it should be trouble-free and enjoyable too.
Don't let the chaos begin!
We’ve all seen the car arriving in the car park rather too fast, with the dog barking crazily in the back. The owner opens the hatchback and Rover’s off, chasing the nearest dog and generally being a nuisance. The owner appears unconcerned as he puts on his wellies, seemingly oblivious to other owners’ worried looks. It is not the dog’s fault; the dog has never learned what is expected and is in no mood to learn because he is always so excited and full of adrenaline.
From this point onwards the owner will have little control over the dog who is likely to fall into the usual trap of chasing joggers, following other dogs, and not returning when called. You should be looking to engage with your dog and have a connection from the beginning of the walk.
Space and preparation
It makes good sense when you drive into the car park to locate and park in a space away from other parked cars. This enables you to prepare for the walk and allow your dog out without being distracted by a returning walker or another owner who has just arrived.
Having parked up, prepare yourself: first put on your wellies and do a quick check to ensure you have all you need for your walk. Then you can focus on your dog.