Ways to introduce your dog to joyride and leash walk at ease
Get set and ride!
Start early: As soon as you get your puppy or dog, ensure that they get a good idea about the sight, smell and sound of the car before you even put them in.
Introduce slowly: Just open the rear door and reward (treat) your dog for any interaction with the car. If he tries to get in on his own, give him lots of praise and reward.
Let them get the feel: Gradually increase the time he is inside the car.
Teaching obedience training: Teach a ‘Down’ command outside the car and ask him to lie down once he is inside the car. This is important for his safety. Treat him for good behaviour.
Have patience: If he does not do it, do not be afraid to go back a few steps and start from there.
Making him comfortable: Always put his favourite blanket on the car seat before you ask him to get in.
Safety commands: Teach your dog to be inside the car even if you open the door. He should get out only when asked by you AFTER you attach his leash. This is very important for his safety.
Keep it short. Start off by taking very small trips, may be round your street or to the vegetable market. Keep them short, not more than 15 minutes.
Bon voyage! As he grows up and your confidence in him grows, you can take him for long hours. Just remember to give him a bathroom break every 2 to 3 hours.
Let the leash walk begin!
Start early: Introduce leash to your dog during puppyhood.
Never pull: Never ever pull your dog towards you. The leash is there just as an emergency safety device. The dog should choose to walk with you even without the leash.
Stay still: If your dog pulls, just stop walking. Stand like a statue. The moment he turns to pay attention to you or relaxes the leash tension, reward him (with treats).
Calm down: Initially you may be able to walk only a few meters on a loose leash. It may seem very time consuming. Do not worry, do not lose heart. DO NOT GET ANGRY!
Change direction: If you feel that your dog is about to lose his attention on you, suddenly change directions, this teaches the dog to be alert and always cued on you.
Make shorter: Train in 3 or 4 short sessions rather than one long session.
Be focused: Always remember, you need to be mentally 100 percent focused on your dog during the walk. If you are not focused, he will not be focused on you.
(Ramachandran Subramanian is an IT professional who has been training dogs for the past 15 years. He currently lives in Chennai).