I think when using the words ‘structured walk’ it can be misunderstood for not a fun walk, a restricted walk. The easier option.
This blog post is all about explaining what a structured walk is, how to get started with a structured walk and the benefits of a structured walk.
Along with tips on how to get started with structured walks.
What is a structured walk?
Typically your dog will be on the lead, loose lead walking or to heel. No pulling or darting off the side to sniff and mark. Attention and focus is on you. Structured walks help create a calm walk.
Why should you be incorporating a structured walk into your walking routine?
Structured walks can really help build and strengthen your relationship with your dog.
Loose lead walking gives us the walker more control during the walk and enjoyment- nobody wants to be pulled around for the entire walk!
Your dog pulling on the lead can quickly build into further behaviour problems such as reactivity and frustration. Not to mention the damage it is doing to their necks.
Bringing in a calm loose lead where you are actively engaging with your dog and they are following your commands builds a solid relationship and brings you back to being in control of the walk.
Even if your dog doesn’t pull on the lead, a structured walk is a great foundation to build commands and training which in turn helps build and strengthen your relationship.
Having a pet care business and providing pack walks, safety of the dogs is always our first priority. Being able to move around, cross roads, go from our van to our walking location in a calm manner is so important to our safety and those around us.
Structured walks and loose lead walking play a huge role in this. Breaking the walk up into off leash play and enrichment along with some structured walking time stops the free for all play that can so easily and quickly get out of hand.
It gives you the walker control and engagement with the dogs. They need to see you as high value, pack leader they need you to be in control and you need to be in control to ensure their safety.
So what are the benefits?
- No more being pulled around by your dog. Creating a nice loose lead walk with engagement from your dog
- Your relationship is going to build from walking the walk together at a calm pace
- No physical damage from pulling to your dog or your arms and back!
- Regaining control of the walk
- Having a more responsive dog that is listening to commands
How to get started with a structured walk…
First thing to master is loose lead walking. Now depending on your dog this may take some time to master. I am going to be totally honest with you it is repetitive and it takes time but when your dog starts to get it and you start seeing results it OH SO REWARDING.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself you are more than likely not going to loose lead walk from your house to your local park or field. Set yourself and your dog up for success and plan small goals.
This could be just leaving your home, getting out of the drive ect. Build from there.
Keep to simple commands.
Here are a few I use:
NICELY – to start the walk and keep to a loose lead walk
STOP – You guessed it stop! Great for roads, stopping to create moments of calm regain focus change direction.
PACE PACE – This is more for when your dog is loose lead walking for long periods of time and you want to play about with the pace of the walk. So this is to speed up
SLOW SLOW – slowing the walk right down.
Getting some training advice for incorporating structured walks and starting your journey on loose lead walking can be very beneficial.
I can provide help with this.