Dog walks and dog park visits get more frequent and fun in spring, and now we are getting out with fewer COVID restrictions. Yet frustration still seems to flare up everywhere, including over dog (and owner) behavior in public spaces.
Here are a few ways you can get the season — and each walk — off on the right foot with some simple animal communication techniques.
Before you grab the leash or even spell the W word, calmly sit or stand with your dog. In your mind, picture what the two of you are going to do — putting on the leash/halter, going to the dog park, walking down the sidewalk in your neighborhood — and how you expect her to behave.
You can tell her in words, too, but say and picture what you DO want (keeping her attention on you, for example) instead of any behavior you don’t want. You’d be surprised at how readily all of this can be understood by an animal … especially if it’s consistent.
Keep checking in with your dog during your walk or dog park visit, holding these same images of what you DO want in mind as you enjoy your time together outdoors. Keep your phone in your pocket unless there’s an urgent reason not to. This outing may be a tiny or obligatory part of your day, but it means the world to your dog.
To keep yourself, your dog, and others safe, check out these good-citizen tips. You probably know the basics: Carry bags and pick up your dog’s poop. Keep him leashed and close to you (with a trainer-approved leash, not a retractable one). Prevent him from injuring himself, other animals, or people.
If you do experience problems, even and especially if someone else brings them to your attention, please don’t hesitate to work with a trainer. There’s no shame or judgment, only a desire to improve the quality of life for your dog, you, and anyone you may encounter. A good trainer can help you work wonders, especially if you get a referral from someone you trust. It’s really never too late, in your dog’s life or yours, to develop better habits.
I’m happy to help, too! Both Reiki and animal communication can be very useful in resolving behavioral issues, easing transitions, and giving animals and their people a “reset” during stressful times.