Cease Strolling Your Canine, Do This As a substitute

I not often stroll my canine.

As a result of I’m a path runner, I run with him, however even when accidents cease me from working, I nonetheless don’t stroll my canine.

In truth, many canine trainers I do know don’t stroll their canine.

Personally, I discover canine walks boring and traumatic. My canine finds canine walks boring and traumatic.

I additionally don’t discover that they sufficiently meet most canine’ bodily and psychological necessities in comparison with alternate options.

So, what do I like to recommend as a substitute of a canine stroll that not solely meets these organic wants, but in addition tires out your canine, and builds your relationship?

There are tons of enjoyable alternate options to strolling your canine, and right here’s what I do with my canine.

Why I Inform Purchasers to Cease Strolling Their Canine

Let me first start by stating that there’s nothing fallacious with canine walks.

In case you get pleasure from them and strolling your canine is your motivation to get your personal physique shifting, then I believe that’s tremendous!

As an lively particular person with an lively breed, they’re simply not my cup of tea. 

And, as a coach who has labored with many, many canine I can inform you that few canine get plenty of profit from a canine stroll, until it’s a coaching stroll.

Geez, why all of the hate on canine walks, Jen?

Right here’s my tackle why I believe you need to cease strolling your canine.

They’re traumatic

My canine has plenty of triggers in city settings, together with, however not restricted to: different canine, folks with the gall to get out of their automobile or home, GARBAGE TRUCKS, MOTORCYCLES, supply vehicles.

The record goes on.

Whereas I very recurrently will go on coaching walks to purposely work my canine round these triggers, after we’re out on a stroll they usually simply seem (at all times one proper after the opposite, after all), the stroll turns into traumatic for the each of us.

It’s not enjoyable and now my canine is reacting to each little factor.

I need to go residence. He desires to go residence. 

I’d a lot fairly courageous the unmanaged off-leash canine on the path or probability a bear encounter than be on the alert for city triggers any day.

Canine walks don’t meet most canine’ train wants

Ever heard the one the place the canine proprietor says they stroll their canine for 2 hours each single day they usually nonetheless have an excessive amount of power?

Let’s break that down.

In case you’re strolling your canine for 2 hours per day, you’re solely constructing an endurance athlete. The extra you train them, the stronger the endurance. They will preserve going longer and longer with out tiring.

Let’s take my very own endurance canine for instance. Sitka joins me on all of my coaching runs. I’d say I common about 35 miles per week, with a number of climbing. Sitka positively runs greater than that as a result of he goes forwards and backwards, so let’s say he averages 40 miles per week.

Positive, after my lengthy weekend runs, he’s fairly drained, however for essentially the most half, these runs don’t do an entire lot when it comes to “burning off all his power.”

I take two relaxation days every week, and so does Sitka, however he’s not bouncing off the partitions. 

Right here’s why:

  • I’ve taught him to have an off-switch by instructing him place, implementing construction at residence, and by creating a relaxed surroundings indoors.
  • We attempt to practice for no less than 10 minutes each day
  • All through the week, I fulfill all of his bodily and organic wants

Now, on the times I do trailing work with Sitka, we’ll do perhaps a ten to 15-minute manhunt the place he has to make use of his nostril to seek out the hidden particular person, that canine is toast. 

I’m speaking tongue hanging as far down as gravity permits, flopped over on his aspect panting, and napping by way of all of the motorbike sounds.

That, my mates, is a drained canine!

Okay, now that I’ve painted that image, let’s speak about some completely different actions you are able to do along with your canine to essentially sap off that power!

7 Actions to Do As a substitute of Strolling Your Canine

The advantage of many of those actions is that they don’t take plenty of time! 

Extra is just not at all times extra!

Take into consideration a 20-minute HIIT exercise in comparison with an hour-long chill yoga class. 

Which one will depart you feeling extra drained afterward? 

The HIIT exercise! 

And, it’s the exercise that retains on burning as a result of it jumpstarts your metabolism! That’s why I really like them once I’m quick on time (and don’t get me fallacious, I additionally actually get pleasure from an extended yoga session, too)

So, if you happen to’re quick on time, then most of the following actions will do the job!

Scent Work

As I discussed earlier, I’ve been doing trailing and monitoring work with Sitka and it’s manner, manner enjoyable.

Principally, this entails Sitka discovering a hidden particular person. The particular person takes off 5 to 10 minutes earlier than we head out on the search and Sitka should use his nostril and the scent within the air to find the particular person.

When he finds them, he’s rewarded with a number of reward and meals. If he’s acquired extra juice in him, then we do it once more!

We’ve additionally been doing scent detection work for firearms and can quickly be engaged on explosives.

After simply 5 to 10 minutes of labor, he’s so zonked. 

I really like any such exercise as a result of it’s purposeful and it really works his mind like nothing else.

As soon as he’s nailed down the scents, we could be employed out to seek out explosives or firearms at locations like faculties and festivals. 


If I’m ever out strolling my canine, we’re virtually actually coaching or on our solution to the park to coach.

We’re virtually at all times coaching!

It’s how we keep our fundamental obedience expertise and it provides me a chance to work on generalizing Sitka’s instructions in several environments. 

We’ll do issues like place in public, work on free leash strolling expertise round distractions, or follow obedience round different canine.      

I merely take my canine’s each day quantity of meals and we get to work on generalizing instructions and exposing him to the triggers he finds offensive.

Proprioception work

Put merely, proprioception is the notion or consciousness of the place and motion of the physique in house. 

For animals and people alike, the nerves in our muscle mass and joints talk with our mind as we transfer over uneven terrain. The proprioception system informs the mind how a lot stress or pressure to placed on a joint or muscle.

All of this interprets to our proprioceptive quotient (PQ). The upper the PQ, the upper the canine’s capability to study, response to struggle or flight instincts, tolerance to emphasize, and extra.

As a result of many city canine spend a lot time in backyards or strolling on leash on sidewalks, they’ve low PQ, which may end up in accidents, reactivity, and low capability to study.

Luckily, working in proprioception work is simple peasy!

Listed below are a number of methods to construct your canine’s PQ:

  • Take them to a youngsters’s playground (sans kiddos) and use a leash to guide them up and over stairs, steps, and different surfaces. Attempt to get them to maneuver actually slowly as a way to use every leg individually.
  • Take part in agility
  • Take them for off-leash hikes on quite a lot of textures (sand, filth, rocks, and so forth.) and allow them to (so long as they’ve acquired that recall down!)
  • Have them hop onto rocks and stroll down logs on trails

YouTube video

Engaged Play

Nothing makes me extra unhappy than when a canine proprietor tells me that they by no means play with their canine!

Play is the most effective bang for the buck exercise to do along with your canine!

Right here’s why:

  • Your canine is getting train (and so are you!)
  • You may incorporate coaching into the combination (ask for behaviors and play because the reward)
  • You construct toy drive, which provides you extra choices to be used of rewards in constructive reinforcement coaching
  • You develop your bond along with your canine by taking part in with them

What’s engaged play, precisely?

It means going past simply tossing your canine a toy to play with by themself. It’s extra than simply taking part in tug along with your canine. Engaged play means igniting your canine’s prey drive.

You need to transfer the tug away out of your canine, fairly than towards them. As we are saying within the canine coaching world, “rabbits don’t bounce into wolves’ mouths,” that means prey are usually not suicidal.

Michael Ellis has an amazing video explaining methods to play along with your canine in a manner that sparks that prey drive.


Fetch is one other nice bang for the buck exercise. Like play, it not solely works the physique, however you can even work the thoughts by including in some coaching work.

I really like utilizing fetch to show recall and impulse management. I begin out with a number of rounds of plain fetch earlier than asking for behaviors. Then, I would ask for some fundamental obedience and launch my canine to chase because the reward.

For impulse management, I would recall or down my canine whereas he’s mid-chase or I’ll make him maintain a sit or a down as I toss the toy, then launch him to go get it.

Canine doesn’t play fetch? Begin out on an extended line and make the throws very quick, recall your canine and convey them again into you utilizing the leash. 

Free Shaping

Free shaping is one in every of my favourite methods to have interaction with my canine! Not solely is it tremendous enjoyable, however it doesn’t take a lot time in any respect and will get your canine’s mind working onerous.

To be able to do a free shaping train, you could have your marker charged and your canine should be meals motivated. This won’t work in any other case, so if you happen to’ve not but charged your marker, spend a number of weeks doing that first.

Free shaping is a bit like the cold and warm recreation. You decide a conduct that you really want your canine to carry out, and mark and reward every time they progress towards that conduct. 

You’re principally breaking the conduct into small chunks and rewarding for every chunk to let your canine know that they’re heading in the right direction.

For example. If I would like Sitka to run round a cone, I might place a cone on the finish of the room. 

I might let him know we’re beginning the sport by saying, “are you prepared?”

As quickly as he strikes within the route of the cone, I click on and reward. He’d come again to me for his meals, and ideally head again towards the cone.

This time, I click on and reward after he’s a bit nearer to the cone.

Finally, I’ll click on and reward for touching the cone, then shifting to at least one aspect of the cone, and so forth.

As soon as he’s carried out the conduct a number of occasions, then I identify it. I might name this cone recreation “round.” After I say “round” Sitka should go across the cone as a way to obtain his meals.

The much less stuff within the image the higher as a result of then your canine will solely have one choice.

Excessive Cardio Actions

Once more, whereas there may be nothing fallacious with strolling, I a lot want to have interaction in excessive cardio actions with my canine.

You already know that I run with my canine, however we additionally get pleasure from different excessive cardio actions, together with:

  • Mountain biking
  • Skijoring
  • Swimming
  • Mountaineering

What actions do you get pleasure from along with your canine apart from strolling?

I think you should stop walking your dog. Uh what? Read the article to see why and learn what I recommend instead.