Dogs are fantastic companions and an excellent way to get us humans outside and moving. Dogs need daily exercise and love being outdoors and exploring their environment. Unfortunately, some dogs can get over-excited when they know they are going outside, making getting them ready for their walk rather tricky and uncomfortable for us. No one likes being dragged for a walk by their dog.
The good news is that you can make the entire situation calmer with patience and consistency. First, we can desensitize our dogs to their harness and leads being brought out. Then, we can have a calm dog using some basic steps and yummy treats.
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Why Does My Dog Get So Excited When It Sees Its Lead
Dogs love spending time with us, being outside, exploring, sniffing, running, and playing. Of course, a dog’s daily walk with its human is probably the highlight of its day, so it’s only natural that it will get excited. If your dog isn’t happy about going for its walk, I would advise you to get a vet check as there is probably an issue.
There is also a good chance that you have unintentionally conditioned your dog to get excited before its walk. Remember how fun it was seeing your puppy get excited about going out? How it made you laugh by being so cute? Again, there’s a good chance you unintentionally rewarded this excitement for your puppy, and a rewarded behavior will often be repeated.
It could also be that your dog has excess energy to burn off and needs more exercise. For example, if you are doing two one-hour daily walks, try adding an extra fifteen minutes to each walk. If you can, some off-lead time often works wonders to burn off excess energy.
How Can I Calm My Dog Down For Walks
Dogs need to learn to be calm, not just for our benefit but for their welfare too. Rewarding any and all calm behavior is an excellent way to let your dog know that being relaxed is a positive experience. If your dog is never calm, it will become anxious and stressed out.
I used to take a portion of my Husky’s dry food, and whenever she was calm, I would give her some. For example, if I was watching TV and she was lying beside me, I would hand feed her some kibble. If I was preparing dinner and she was sitting at my feet, I would hand feed her some of her kibble. Luna learned that being calm is rewarding.
It is always worth burning off some excess energy before trying to leave the house for a walk if you have an over-excited dog. If you have a garden, you can play a game of fetch first. Or you can play some focus games inside if you don’t have an outside area. The important part is to get your dog focused on you and burn off some energy.
These options will take trial and error to see what works for your dog. For example, you may find that playing fetch first increases the excitement. Focus games are a good option as these games can be transferred to walking on lead and help to teach loose lead walking.
How Can I Calm My Dog Down When I Lift Its Lead
If you have a dog that gets over-excited as soon as you lift its lead or harness, help is at hand. It may seem a bit unusual, but the best thing you can do is to ditch the routine. Your dog has learned that as soon as you pick up the harness and lead, it’s fun time! Or your dog will start getting excited when you usually take it out for its walk.
Your dog thinks picking up the harness and lead means it’s time to go for a walk. You can desensitize this by doing these simple steps.
- At random times throughout the day, pick up the harness and lead, then sit them back down
- Put your shoes on around the time you would usually go for a walk, then sit down with a cuppa
- Put on your dog’s harness randomly during the day but don’t go for a walk. Leave the harness on for a while, then take your dog out after they have calmed down
- At random times put your dog’s harness on, then take it back off
- If possible, take your dog for a walk at unusual times of the day so they aren’t sure when they are going to go out
The idea is to retrain your dog that the harness and lead don’t mean they are going out for a walk, so there is no need to be excited. By shaking up your walking routine, your dog won’t start building their anticipation of the upcoming ‘usual’ walk.
My Dog Gets Excited In The Car
Driving is challenging when a dog barks and howls in the car. Unfortunately, this commonly happens when the only time the dog is in the car is to go to the park. However, in your dog’s brain, being in the car means they are on their way to having fun, which raises their excitement level.
The easiest way to deal with this is to take your dog in the car to pick up the kids from school or clubs. Put your dog in the car and sit there a few minutes and then get them back out of the car. If you are popping to the shops, and it isn’t too hot, take the dog with you, but don’t get them out of the car.
Your dog needs to learn that it’s just the car. Going into the car doesn’t automatically mean that they are going to the park. My Husky Luna settles herself for a power nap while in the car. I used to put her in the car if I picked up the kids or went to the shops. She doesn’t associate the car with fun trips, so she doesn’t get excited.
It can be tricky to shake up your walking routine when you have work commitments. However, trying to fit in an earlier walk before you go to work, or a later walk when you get home, can all go towards desensitizing the excitement build that your dog goes through. Splitting your usual walk into two shorter walks is also an option.
No matter what steps you take, the main focus is teaching your dog to be calm and rewarding all positive behaviors. The aim is for you both to enjoy the time you spend together. So be calm and consistent in your training, and you will end up with a happy, relaxed dog.
We hope you found this article helpful.