The first step you should take towards better walks with your reactive dog is to make sure you are using the correct gear. Using the right tools will give you more security, more control, and will make both training and managing your dog much easier. And, chances are, you already have one or more of these items at home.
Standard Leash (Non-retractable)
Harness or Head Halter
What kind of dog walking harness is best?:
Should I use a harness or a head halter on my dog?
- How strong is your dog?
- And how much more control do you feel you need in order to walk your dog safely?
For example, if your dog is a 100+ pound German shepherd, then a head halter may be the wiser choice; whereas if your dog is a 5 pound chihuahua, you will likely be satisfied with a harness. So make the decision you feel most comfortable with.
What kind of treats should I use?
- Use treats your dog doesn’t just like, but LOVES. They must be valuable enough to capture your dog’s attention even in distracting environments (I.e. a walk)
- Soft, small store-bought training treats are easy to find and a good choice for most dogs.
- Beware that treats your dog seems to like when you’re at home might become much less interesting when you’re outdoors on a walk. A good test is to offer your dog a “Freebie” when you’re on your usual walk – will they take the treat? Or do they turn up their nose and go back to sniffing? This will tell if you need to up your treat-game or not.
- For pickier eaters, I like to use small bits of real meat or cheese.