Leash Walking: Nothing Natural About It! Part 4 Treats! Will I always have to take treats on walks…

Recently in one of our classes a client asked if she would always have to take treats with her on walks. My response was why does it matter? Then it got me thinking.

Not too long ago, if I wanted to go for a walk I just went, I didn’t make sure that I had my phone with me. Now if I realized I did not have my phone I would head home to get it and go back out. I would be worried the whole walk without my phone. What if I got hurt? What if my son was trying to get a hold of me? It’s just better to get my phone then worry.

Not too long ago, if I wanted to go for a walk I just went, I didn’t make sure I had my fitness tracking device on my wrist. I mean really if you walk and it is not tracked did you really walk? How would you make your daily step goal without it on during a long walk? I have more then once turned back to get my fitness tracker.

Then before I had dogs, if I wanted to go for a walk I just went. I had no other thoughts about it. Then I got a dog and before I went out the door I always had to have a poop bag with me. Pre-dog I would have empty pant and coat pockets, now every pocket has at least one poop bag. It became part of what was required for a walk with my dogs. If I didn’t pick up after them I could be ticketed and fined.

So in this day and age we have a lot we carry with us just to take a walk. Why does it matter to have a waist pack with treats?

For my dog, Rizzo, I use very few treats on a walk. She walks beautifully on leash, but from time to time I still reward her for a variety of reasons. The main reason I will reward her on walks is if another dog barks at her and in typical Rizzo fashion she ignores them. I want her always to have the response of ignoring a dog barking and luging at her. I swear she looks at the “offending” dog and thinks dummy, you’re not getting any treats, but thanks to you I am. I would never leave the house without some type of treat for her.

For my other dog Bueller, I use lots of treats on walks! He actually doesn’t need them for the actually walking part of the walk. His walking behavior is totally trained. It is for behavior modification training for his dog-to-dog reactivity. Due to his behavior issues, there is never just a casual walk for Bueller. Every time we step out the door it is a training experience. I will always walk him with a large amount of a variety of treats. I want every walk to be the most positive experience I can provide for him.

So my answer is yes, you will always need treats on a walk with your dog. Really wouldn’t you rather have a reward for your dog for a great job? You never know when that amazing learning opportunity might show up, and of course it can be on your daily walk. We never want those amazing learning experiences to go unrewarded. So go out for your walk prepared with treats. It is not any different then being prepared if they poop and way more fun!

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