5 Behavioral Issues on Dog Walks (and Their Solutions)

Reluctant dog being pulled on a lead by a dog walker in Columbus, Ohio

You’re strolling down the street, enjoying a leisurely walk with your pup by your side. Suddenly, your dog starts pulling on the leash and barking at every passerby. Sound familiar? If you’ve ever taken your dog for a walk, chances are you’ve encountered some sort of behavioral issues. From pulling on the leash to being reluctant to walking, these problems can make walks less enjoyable for both you and your fur baby.

As experienced dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio, we’re here to share some common behavioral issues that dog parents face on walks. Additionally, we’ll provide you with our best solutions!

1. Pulling on the leash

Pulling on the leash is a common issue during dog walks that many pup parents face. Dogs naturally pull on the leash because they want to explore their surroundings. Sometimes, they also want to chase after squirrels or other animals. Needless to say, excessive pulling can lead to discomfort and pain for both the dog and the person walking the dog. In fact, it can cause injuries to the dog’s neck and trachea, and may even lead to aggressive behavior over time.

The key to solving this issue is to have the right equipment. A front-clip harness is a great option because it works by pulling the dog’s attention towards the owner. It has a D-ring attachment on the chest area, which makes it easier to control the dog’s movements. Likewise, when the dog tries to pull forward, the harness gently turns them towards the owner, making it harder for them to pull away.

Another effective tool is the head collar or Gentle Leader. This type of equipment fits around the dog’s nose and behind the ears. It gives the person walking the pup more control over the dog’s head and can be used to redirect their attention if they start to pull. The Gentle Leader works by applying gentle pressure on the nose, which mimics the natural way dogs communicate with each other. It doesn’t cause any harm or discomfort, but it does help control the dog’s movements.

Both of these options are effective because they redirect the dog’s attention and discourage pulling. They are also more humane than traditional choke or prong collars, which can cause pain and harm to the dog. If you’re not sure which option is best for your dog, you might consult with one of our professional dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio, who can assess your dog’s needs and recommend the right equipment for leash training!

2. Leash reactivity

Reactivity is a common issue among dogs, and it can be caused by various factors such as fear, anxiety, and lack of socialization. To help prevent reactive behavior during walks, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to keep your dog at a safe distance from triggers. This can mean crossing the street, turning around, or moving to the side to give your dog some space.

In addition, training can be very effective in teaching your dog to focus on you instead of reacting to triggers. You can use treats, special toys, or verbal praise to reward your dog for calm and appropriate behavior during walks. This helps your dog associate good behavior with positive outcomes, and it can help reduce reactivity over time. The key is being consistent with it.

If your dog’s reactivity is severe or persistent, it may be helpful to work with a professional dog trainer in Columbus, Ohio or behaviorist. They can help you identify the underlying causes of your dog’s reactivity and develop a personalized training plan to address the issue. This can include desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques to help your dog feel more comfortable and less reactive in certain situations.

Desensitization is a process of gradually exposing a dog to a trigger in a controlled environment to reduce their fear or reactivity. Counter-conditioning involves pairing the trigger with positive experiences, such as treats or toys, to change the dog’s emotional response to the trigger. Together, desensitization and counter-conditioning can be effective methods for addressing a dog’s reactive behavior on walks.

3. Excessive barking

Excessive barking during walks can be a sign of anxiety, fear, or frustration in dogs. As a dog parent, it’s important to work on desensitizing your dog to the triggers that cause them to bark excessively (as mentioned above). You can also train your dog to respond to the “quiet” command, and reward them for remaining calm and quiet during walks. Additionally, using a no-pull harness or head collar can be effective in redirecting your dog’s attention away from the triggers that cause them to bark.

Another helpful technique for reducing excessive barking is to engage your dog in activities that provide mental stimulation, such as sniffing or searching for treats. This can help redirect their focus and reduce the urge to bark. Additionally, make sure your dog is getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day to prevent pent-up energy that may manifest as excessive barking during walks. If you feel like you don’t always have time to walk your dog, you should definitely consider hiring a local dog walker in Columbus, Ohio to help out!

It’s also important to identify and address the underlying causes of your dog’s excessive barking. If they are barking at another dog, person, or object, try walking them in a different area, where there’s less of that stimulation.

Again, dogs may bark for a variety of reasons, such as anxiety, fear, boredom, or territorial behavior. Working with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help you identify the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking and develop a customized training plan to address it.

4. Scavenging (i.e. eating things off the ground)

Another common issue that many dog owners face during walks is their dogs eating things off the ground. This behavior, known as “scavenging,” can be a challenge to deal with as it puts your dog at risk of ingesting harmful substances, choking hazards, or even contracting diseases from contaminated items.

To address this issue, it’s crucial to focus on both prevention and training. First and foremost, make sure your dog is well-fed before going on walks to reduce their inclination to scavenge for food. Keep a close eye on your surroundings and steer your dog away from any potentially harmful objects or areas where garbage is present.

You definitely won’t want your dog to be on a retractable leash if they have a tendency to scavenge. Retractable leashes allow your dog a lot of leeway for roaming their surroundings. This increases their chances of getting into something they shouldn’t. Instead, you’ll want to use a flat lead and keep them close to you on walks. That way, you can see all the areas your pup comes up on, and better prevent them from getting into any scraps.

In terms of training, teaching your dog a solid “leave it” or “drop it” command is essential. Start in a controlled environment, using treats or toys, and gradually increase the difficulty by introducing distractions and practicing during walks. Reward your dog generously when they successfully ignore or let go of an item on command.

Another helpful approach is to use a basket muzzle designed to allow your dog to breathe and pant freely but restrict their ability to pick up objects from the ground. Muzzles should always be introduced gradually and associated with positive experiences to ensure your dog remains comfortable and stress-free while wearing one.

It’s important to remember that consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when addressing this behavioral issue. In many cases, consulting with a professional dog trainer in Columbus, Ohio, can provide personalized guidance and support tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

5. Fear-related behaviors (ex: reluctance to walking)

Dogs can display a range of fear or anxiety-related behaviors on walks, such as excessive panting, drooling, or trying to escape from their leash or harness. These behaviors can be caused by various factors, including past traumatic experiences, lack of socialization, or certain medical conditions.

Consider using calming aids like anxiety vests or diffusers during walks. These tools release pheromones or provide gentle pressure that can help your dog feel more relaxed and secure. Positive reinforcement is also key. Provide plenty of praise, treats, and rewards when your dog exhibits calm and confident behavior during walks. This helps to reinforce positive associations with being outside and reinforces the idea that walks can be enjoyable and stress-free.

Show lots of outward excitement about the walk to your pup. As soon as you walk out of the door, begin to talk excitedly to your pup about how fun the walk is going to be! If your dog sees you excited, happy, and unafraid, you might get them to reciprocate that same attitude towards their walk-time. If you’re dog is still fearful, you might try picking them up and walking with them in your arms. Of course, this method works easiest with smaller dogs. Once you carry them far enough from home, set them down and you might notice they’re more willing to walk then!

The solution might also just involve changing the scenery. If your dog stops short during a walk, try changing directions or crossing the street. If your pup is still reluctant, try walking in a completely new area, such as a different street in your neighborhood or go to a local dog-friendly park. Sometimes the new scents can be better stimulants for them, causing them to be curious and more willing to walk!

Don’t Rule Out Medical Concerns As Cause

Above all, it’s important to consider medical concerns as a potential cause of behavioral issues on walks. Certain health conditions can cause discomfort, pain, or anxiety in dogs during physical activity, including walking, which can lead to reluctance, fear, or other unwanted behaviors.

Arthritis, for example, is a common condition in older dogs that can cause joint pain and stiffness, making it difficult for them to walk or exercise. Heart disease, respiratory problems, or musculoskeletal issues can also affect a dog’s ability to walk comfortably and cause fatigue or shortness of breath.

If your dog is experiencing persistent fatigue, coughing, limping, or other unusual symptoms during walks, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and recommend any necessary tests or treatments to address any underlying medical conditions.

Addressing any underlying medical issues can help improve your dog’s overall health and mobility, and make walks a more enjoyable experience for them. It’s important to prioritize your dog’s physical health and comfort, and adjust your walking routine accordingly. A local vet in Columbus, Ohio, or a professional dog trainer, can provide guidance and support to help you develop a safe and effective walking plan for your dog.

Improve Your Columbus Dog Walking Experience Today!

In summary, addressing behavioral issues during dog walks requires patience, understanding, and proper training. By using the right equipment, establishing a routine, and seeking guidance from professionals, you can help your furry companion become a more well-behaved walking partner.

Our dog walkers in Columbus, Ohio have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of addressing these issues. So, if you’re facing behavioral challenges with your dog during walks, don’t give up! There’s always hope for enhancing your walking experience and enjoying the companionship of your furry friend to the fullest.

Benny DiFranco

Benny DiFranco

Hi! Thanks for reading this blog. I am the owner and founder of Columbus, Ohio's very own Hands N Paws. I started this business in 2018 with the purpose of giving more pet parents peace of mind. Looking forward to seeing you on the blog next time!

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The terms of this agreement are as follows: “Client” refers to you, “Company” refers to us (Hands N Paws), “Team Member” refers to the person from our team providing services for your pets, and “Team Members” refers to the Hands N Paws team as a whole.

 

Emergency Veterinary Treatment & Client Responsibility Policy

It is important to inform Hands N Paws of any specific emergency instructions or medical conditions related to Client’s pets. This will help ensure the safety and well-being of pets during emergencies.

In case any of Client’s pets need emergency veterinary treatment, Team Member will contact the designated vet on file and/or a local emergency vet. Team Member will also communicate with Client and/or emergency contacts regarding the situation.

Client gives permission to Team Member to transport the pet(s) to a veterinary clinic and/or make treatment decisions (except for euthanasia), especially if it’s a life-threatening emergency and/or Client cannot be immediately reached. Client is responsible for any veterinary fees incurred. 

Client releases Hands N Paws from any liability for any damage or harm to pets or property that occurs beyond the reasonable control of Team Member during the provision of emergency veterinary care. 

Pet Vaccination, Licensing & Identification Policy

To comply with local laws and ordinances, it is required that all pets have the appropriate vaccinations and licenses before Company begins services. For further information on these requirements, please visit the Ohio State Bar Association’s website at https://www.ohiobar.org/public-resources. Client should also check with his/her veterinarian to determine which vaccinations/shots the pet requires. 

For safety reasons, we encourage all dogs and cats to wear an ID tag or collar that includes name and contact number while Team Member is working with them.

 

Secure Access & Lockbox Policy

To ensure access to Client’s home during scheduled services, Hands N Paws requires that Client purchases a lockbox and places a spare house key(s) inside of it for Team Member to use. Client can purchase the lockbox on Hands N Paws’ website by clicking Buy Your Lockbox. Once it arrives, the lockbox should be programmed with a unique four-digit code. The lockbox should then be placed on the main door handle or in another secure location, and the lockbox code and location information must be entered in the Client’s account on Precise Petcare.

Alternatively, Client may elect to provide a code for entry via a garage door or electronic keypad and if so, must enter all necessary codes in Precise Petcare. Client is strongly encouraged to purchase a lockbox, however, to ensure that Team Member can access pets at all times during scheduled services, especially in situations where the power goes out or batteries die and Team Member need alternative access to the home.

 

Client Communication & Privacy Policy

All Team Members have access to Clients phone number, but are instructed to only use them when necessary or for urgent purposes during services with pets. Hands N Paws prioritizes the privacy and confidentiality of phone numbers as personal information.

All correspondence between Client and Team Member should be centered around Client’s pets and the services provided. If Client has inquiries regarding scheduling, cancellations, app-related matters, or any company-related concerns, these are to be directed to the Company via the office number: (614) 636-6644. The Company’s client support team is available during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. We are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. The Company will make contact with Client outside of office hours should there be any urgent need for communication.

 

Pet Information Accuracy & Accessibility Policy

In order to provide the best possible service to pets, it is crucial that Client provides Team Member with detailed and up-to-date information regarding their pets. This information should be accurate, complete, and accessible through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Team Members can only work on the basis of the information that is available to them through the Client’s account in Precise Petcare. Likewise, Client acknowledges that the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information they provide directly impacts the quality of the services delivered. Client, therefore, takes full responsibility for any consequences that arise from inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated account information.

 

Flexible Service Arrival Time Policy

Arrival times for services occur within a two-hour period. Team Members are unable to guarantee exact arrival times due to various factors that may affect scheduling and travel times. To accommodate these considerations, we use time blocks rather than specific times. Client will see this in the dropdown menu when Client selects Arrival Time in the request service form within their Client account.

While Team Members understands that Client may have preferences regarding arrival times, it is essential to acknowledge that Team Members cannot guarantee meeting those specific requests. Flexibility is needed in order for Team Members to accommodate for needs of other Clients on schedule.

 

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For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions on service offerings, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.

 

Service Surcharge Policy

The following service surcharges may apply under certain conditions:

Last Minute Service: A fee of $15 per service will be charged for bookings made with less than 24 hours’ notice.

Holiday Service: A fee of $20 per service will be applied for services provided on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve.

Additional Pets: Base pricing for services includes up to 2 pets. For each additional pet beyond the initial two, an additional fee of $7 per pet will be added.

Out-of-Service Area: If Client location falls outside our designated service area, a fee of $10 per service will be charged. To check if a particular area is within our service range, please visit the respective service page on our website and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Please note that these surcharges are separate from the base pricing for our services. To learn more about service rates, please visit our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.

Service Request Approval & Availability Policy

Hands N Paws strives to accommodate as many service requests as possible. However, the approval of service requests is subject to the availability of Team Members. Upon submitting a service request, Client will receive a confirmation or declination email/notification indicating whether Hands N Paws can fulfill the requested work. Sometimes, this may take up to 48 hours.

If a service request is declined, we encourage Client to explore alternative options or contact our dedicated client support team for further assistance. Company is here to help and find the best solution for all pet care needs.

 

Meet N Greet Policy

To ensure a personalized experience for new Clients, Hands N Paws requires virtual Meet N Greets before getting started with pet services. These meetings allow us to connect with Clients and discuss their pet care needs.

All Meet N Greets come at a $25 cost and are about 20-30 minutes in length. For new clients who have their Meet N Greet and then book services with us right afterwards, that $25 will be credited towards their first invoice. For existing clients who have already had their initial Meet N Greet, the event is a flat rate of $25.

Meet N Greets can be scheduled on our website at www.myhandsnpaws.com.

 

Payment & Billing Policy

Payment Method: All services with Hands N Paws are to be paid for using a credit or debit card. All major cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover are acceptable. Client can securely add and store card information within their Client account. Adding and keeping a valid credit card on file is a requirement for requesting any services with Hands N Paws.

Ongoing Services: For services scheduled as ongoing, Client will be automatically charged every Friday for the previous 7 days’ worth of completed, canceled, and in-progress services.

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Declined Payments: In the event of a declined auto-charge, Client will be promptly notified. After the first declined charge, Client has a 24-hour grace period to rectify the issue. In the case of a second declined attempt, a late fee of 10% of the invoice total (minimum $10) will be added. Client must be attentive to emails regarding overdue notices.

Payment Terms: Hands N Paws will be paid the agreed-upon amount as discussed, with no exceptions, unless our Cancellation Policy (outlined below) applies and the Client receives a refund in the form of an Account Credit(s). In emergency circumstances, a refund may be issued as transferable credit(s) back to the Client’s card.

Additional Fees: Client may be charged additional fees if Team Members are instructed to, or determine the need to, purchase items for the pet(s) while under the care of Hands N Paws. These items may include pet food or treats, litter or cleaning supplies, transportation to the vet, or emergency expenses for the general care of the pet(s). Hands N Paws and/or Team Member will consult with Client before making any purchases, and will retain and share any receipts as proof of purchase.

 

Service Cancellation/Refund Policy

When Client schedules services with Hands N Paws, the Company has likely turned down other work so as to devote our time to the work requested from said Client.

Client understands and accepts the Company cancellation/refund policy as outlined below:

– 100% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– 50% refund is issued as Account Credit if cancellation is made at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled service(s).

– NO refund is issued for same-day cancellations/less than 24 hour notice.

PLEASE NOTE: Refunds are NOT transferable. Should Client be eligible to receive an Account Credit (based on terms above), that will be auto-added to his/her account and applied to the very next invoice with us.

 

Service Terms

Hands N Paws agrees to provide the services stated in this contract in a reliable, caring, and trustworthy manner. In consideration of these services and as an express condition thereof, Client expressly waives and relinquishes any and all claims against Hands N Paws arising out of or relating to the provision of services hereunder, except those arising from gross negligence or willful misconduct on part of Hands N Paws.

Client understands and acknowledges that the environment in which they are requesting Hands N Paws to complete services is reasonably sanitary and safe. If it is determined that home conditions are unsanitary and/or unsafe at any point in the working relationship, Company will make it known to Client. Action will be taken accordingly thereafter.

Additionally, Hands N Paws will not terminate during a period of scheduled service unless Hands N Paws determines, at their sole discretion, that a serious danger exists to the health or safety of Team Members or pets. If such concerns preclude Hands N Paws from providing further care for the pets, Client agrees to pay for their pet to be boarded at a boarding facility or taken under the care of another party until Client returns. All attempts will be made to notify Client and/or emergency contacts regarding such situations.

Client understands and acknowledges that he/she is responsible for letting Hands N Paws know of anyone who has access to their home during the duration of services booked. Client releases and holds Hands N Paws harmless of all loss, expense, and damage caused by any third-parties entering Client’s home at that time.

 

Contract Terms

This contract will take effect upon digital signature by Client (clicking “Agree & Submit” below) and will remain in effect until terminated by either party. Client may make online reservations for additional services at any time during the terms of this contract, as subject to Hands N Paws availability. All scheduled services will be governed by all the terms of this contract.

Client acknowledges that by signing below, he/she is providing written approval for the provision of services by Hands N Paws during any service period scheduled by Client and confirmed by Hands N Paws. Upon service confirmation, Hands N Paws will be authorized to enter Client premises and perform services without additional signed contracts and/or written authorizations.