Tips for a great outing with your dog while on a walk.

 

Dennis and his friends for life, Snickers, Meika, Flash, Beau and Pawsey

Dennis and his friends for life, Snickers, Meika, Flash, Beau and Pawsey

  Hello everyone, I just wanted to share some tips with all of you who have dogs and who would like to enjoy those walks a little more.  For those of you who have reactive dogs you know that in a heart beat an enjoyable walk can turn into a nightmare especially if you run into an off leash dog that might have not read the memo that in the city there are leash laws.  It would be so cool if dogs could read but this is something that has to be the responsibility of their humans. The fact that we live in a world with some humans that read and still choose to ignore those signs it is up to us as responsible dog parents to protect our dogs while on walks.  I know from experience that when you think that nothing can happen it usually does, we live with a reactive dog and have learned to be very careful with Meika (GSD in photo above). When Meika was younger I really did not look forward to taking her for walks because of what would usually happen .  It would go something like this, we are walking down our dirt road after making sure that we were as safe as possible by first scanning our area before we went out the gate.  We live in a very rural area and people tend to walk their dogs off leash.  We do have the luxury of being able to see all the way down our road from both ends and also have a lot of escape routes onto other properties so just in case we do run into an off leash dog we can go fairly far away.  It would never fail though that just when I thought we were safe a dog would pop out of nowhere and the nightmare would begin, Meika would lunge and bark and pretty much go crazy, nothing would work because she was just over threshold (point of no return) she would not eat treats and I did not exist.  Meika was very reactive right off the bat at 8 weeks of age and I did not have the tools to teach her that the world of dogs was safe and that all dogs were not out to get her.  So our journey began to help Meika which brings me to my first tip.  

#1 If you have a reactive dog the first thing you need to do is find a qualified trainer or behaviorist to help you and your dog though this journey.  It is very hard to do this on your own without a great support system of qualified trainers as well as understanding friends with calm dogs to work with.  When looking for a trainer make sure that whom ever you find uses force free training methods. There are so many methods out there as there are trainers and so called trainers.  Not every method is a right fit for each person and their dog.  Dog to dog aggression and dog to human aggression is a very serious behavior issue, which can mean the life or death of your dog if not done correctly.  The person you choose will hopefully understand your issue and be a positive role model and teacher for both you and your dog. If this person recommends anything that makes you feel uncomfortable then consider another trainer.  Talk to your friends or Veternarian as they can really be a valuable resourse, if this trainer teaches classes ask if you can attend a class before you start the serious work of rehabilitating your reactive dog.  If this person recommends prong collars, shock collars or choke chains this is another red flag.  Ask yourself how you would feel if you were afraid of something and then someone made you feel pain to try to make you feel better about the thing you fear.  It has been scientifically proven that force based training methods do not make the dog feel better about their fears and most times can make the fear worse.

#2 Use positive training tools.  IF you are currently using a prong collar or choke chain I urge you to try one of the many positive humane training harnessess out there.  It is proven through science that these tools (choke chains, prong collars) can actually increase pulling through what is called the opposition reflex, simply put if you push, the dog has a tendency to push back against you. If you pull, they have a tendency to pull against you. I know if someone was choking me I would want to get as far away from them as possible.  All of this aside think about the association that your dog feels when he/she sees another dog and pulls towards the other dog and feels pain in their neck or if a correction is given (pulling sharply with the prong or choke chain) how is this improving your dogs opinion of the other dog or thing they fear? I know from the many clients that I have had who before they came to us have used prongs and chokes and their dogs reactivity has gotten much worse.  After all do we not want our dogs to have positive associations to other dogs, people, places and things while on our walks?   I sure do.  One of my favorite harnessess is the freedom no pull harness by Two Hounds Design.  Not only is this one of the finest harnesses around the companies customer service is amazing.  The harness has a lifetime guarantee and they will replace up to two straps if your dog chews it.  There are many other great harnesses out there as well like the Wonder Walker, they are a Seattle Washington based family run company.  I am sure if you are working with a positive trainer they will have their own recommendations, these are the ones we use most of the time and have sold hundreds of them as well as traded many for prong collars and choke chains. 

#3 Plan your route, especially if you have a reactive dog.  This is often overlooked when it comes to walking our reactive dogs and can get you into trouble. It is very important to know your escape routes if that neighborhood has off leash dog coming towards you and your dog.  Make sure that you have the necessary tools to fend off an attack and if possible go with a friend or partner for support.  I carry a great product called Spray shield, it is a citronella based spray that does not harm the dog other than making them sneeze (I know from experience by accidentally spraying myself). It is not intended to break up a fight between two committed dogs and is best used as a prevention tool by spraying the on coming dog before he/she can actually make contact with your dog.  The spray cost about $13.00 depending on where you get it.  Another great tool is a portable air horn which can be bought at most sporting goods stores or boating stores, it makes a pretty high pitched noise.  One bad side effect is that it might scare your dog, but is much better than a dog fight and a lot less expensive than a vet visit.  I have had dogs charge me while on walks and all I had to do is toss treats over the oncoming dogs head or actually hit the dog in the face with the treats, this might buy you some time to get safely away with your dog.  One side effect it might teach this off leash dog that approaching you is a good thing so use this trick sparingly and as another tool.  Another thing you can do is teach your dog a rock solid stay if you actually have to walk towards the other dog to keep the approaching dog away from you and your dog.  Not only is the stay a very valuable tool it can save your dogs life in many situations. 

 

#4 Carry great treats in a treat pouch or some other way that you can get to the treats fast.  I do not recommend putting the treats in your coat pocket as I have in the past.  You will forget the treats are there and wash them with your coat and this might get you into trouble with the laundry person.  Treat pouches can be bought at any pet supply store, some of the nicer ones have pockets in them to carry keys, toys and other things that you might need while on your walk.  Carrying treats is a reminder to you to reward your dog for good behavior, which we all tend to not notice.  Remember there are many ways to reward your dog and food is just one of them, you can also use praise, play, toy’s and anyother thing that your dog finds reinforcing.  By having more tools in your box of tricks you will be more equipped to catch your dog getting it right.  This has been the argument from many old fashioned trainers is that us so called cookie trainers  always have to have food in order for our dogs to work for us. This is just not true as we have many more options available to us.  There are times when dogs just are not in the mood for food because of stress or the environment that they are in, there are also times when petting is just not reinforcing this is why we use many tools as positive trainers and have figured out what is reinforcing to our dogs at the time.  The more tools you have the better equiped you are to teach your dog.  You might also consider learning how to use a clicker (one of my favorite tools) there are many books and videos on the use of clicker training so I will not go too much into it other than to say that it is such a positive and simple tool to learn and use.  How hard is it to see your dog do something you like then click and treat.  It is also one of the fastest way of teaching new behaviors. We use clickers in our manners classes as well as my work with reactive dogs with great success.  You will find that your dog will love clicker training if you give it a try.  Here is how I use a clicker while on a walk with my dog.

Keeping with the positive association method I actually look forward to seeing dogs so I can reward my dog just for looking at another dog at a safe distance.  As I am walking, my dog sees another dog, I will click my clicker just for my dog looking at the other dog or the other thing they might fear or what they are concerned about. We are doing a few things here.  One is our dog knows that the presence of other dogs will earn them a click and a treat and it also heps us to be on the lookout for other dogs, bikes, skateboards or any other things we are trying to make positive associations with.  The clicker is an amazing tool and I encourage you to check it out.  Just yesterday I went to a local Park in Bend Oregon called Pine Nursery dog park, although I will not take my reactive dog into a dog park under any circumstances, I do recognize a great free training opportunity when I see one.  Meika and I practiced seeing other dogs walking towards the dog park at a safe distance. While she is under threshold (Meika stills feels comfortable) she sees another dog, I will click then walk away then give her a treat as a bonus reward.  This is a technique we use in BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training) founded by Grisha Stewart MA CPDT.  BAT teaches reactive or fearful dogs that they have many more choices then they thought they did.  In Meika’s case, Meika wants distance from the other dog so that is what I give her.  I can now say that we had an amazing walk with no issues. This is something I never thought I would have been able to do with Meika.  She now really enjoys our walks together.  I also want to mention that by doing this positive work with Meika others that might be doing punishment based training see how well this is working and always ask me what I am doing.  I want positive training to catch on like a virus so in order to make that happen we have to be out there showing the world what we are doing and how we do it with our own dogs.  

#5. I believe that all walks should be great opportunities to work on training our dogs.  Our dogs will never learn to work around distractions if they are never taught to work around distractions.  Walking can provide many opportunities to work on basic manners like sit, stays, leave it’s and touches(hand targeting).  These are great tools that you never know when you might need them.  All of these tools can not only improve your dogs skills, but yours as well and can potentially save your dogs life.  It is very important to ask for sits before crossing streets so your dog learns that when we come to a crossing this is what happens instead of just bolting across traffic.  This also shows the rest of the world that you are really taking the time to train your dog to be the best they can be. One very important thing that I want to mention is that walking your dog is also suppose to be fun, yes training is important but don’t overlook your dog’s need to sniff and interact with their environment.  I see many people walking their dogs in perfect heel position which can be useful in a lot of situations but jeez don’t forget what dogs really love to do, sniff.  It is so important to them to be able to sniff the ground, they take in a lot of information about their world and it is natural to them while heeling is not.  I have been told by clients that just my recommendation of letting their dogs have as many sniff breaks as possible while on their walk tires them out. When they get home their dogs are much more relaxed.  I tell them that their dog has to get the sniffing out of their system.  With this approach you might not get as far as you want with your dog but at least they had fun.  I believe it was Patricia McConnell that wrote “your dog can burn as many calories just engaging in a mental activity as they can by running”.  Sniffing is a great mental activity and there is actually a sport called K9 Nose Work that is one of the fastest growing dog sports in the world.  My wife Pam is a Certified Nose Work Instructor and her clients tell her all the time that after classses their dogs go home and sleep and are much more relaxed. So with this in mind let your dog sniff. 

There are times though when you just don’t have the time to let your dog hang out in the bushes for 15 minutes because you have to get to work or run errands, so a brisk non interrupted walk is what you need to do.  There is nothing wrong with that and many dogs love just getting out. but remember  your dogs mind also needs exercise.  When you can’t get them out because of the weather or time constraints Kongs are the way to go for a lot of dogs, it is hard work getting that stuff out and you can be very creative with how you fill them.  We always keep a large supply for our puppy classes as well as our other classes.  Chewing on a frozen Kong toy can provide, in some cases, a couple of hours of great mental exercise for your dog.  We get very creative with what we put in them as well.  Below are some recipes I pulled off the internet to get you started.  I know this is a bit off topic but I thought this would be a great tool when you just can’t walk your dog..

 

Kong Recipes

 

 kong toyA Kong is a tough, hollow, rubber cone designed to be filled with food. Kongs come in different sizes, are freezer proof, and are extremely resilient to being chewed. For powerful chewers, the black Kong is recommended. Red is for normal chewers, and for older dogs and puppies, multi-coloured, softer rubber Kongs are available. A dog should be supervised for the first few times that it is given a Kong, and unless a dog proves that it can destroy it, it is probably the safest activity toy to leave with a dog whilst alone.

I have yet to meet a dog who doesn’t show any interest in a tasty filled Kong. Some dogs take a little time to really get into the ‘zone’ of licking out all the filling, but all quickly realise that Kongs are wonderful things. Many dogs who tend towards anxiety develop licking compulsions towards themselves and surfaces such as floors and walls. Licking is a comforting, stress-reducing activity, and using a Kong to encourage but redirect this behaviour into an acceptable and even more rewarding outlet can really help to put socially insecure dogs at ease.

A Kong is a great way to introduce a puppy to being left on its own and to view its owner’s departure as a good thing. The same applies to adult dogs who are prone to separation distress, as part of a rehabilitation program. For dogs who are convalescing and need to have their physical activity restricted, splitting the daily food ration into four smaller meals and feeding each in a Kong is a great way to provide rewarding, alternative activity and not overload the body with too much food in one go. For dogs who tend towards anxious excitement when visitors call, a Kong smeared with something tasty inside can provide a useful distraction.

A number of things that dogs find tasty that can be smeared inside a Kong to provide a quick, two-minute distraction include peanut butter, cream cheese, meat and fish pastes, Marmite and Bovril.

There are special pastes and biscuit type products available to stuff into Kongs, however, cheap and healthy alternative fillings are extremely easy to make. A portion of a dog’s daily kibble ration, cooked white rice or cooked, mashed sweet potato all provide a good base to which ‘extras’ can be added such as foods that promote good digestive health, foods that can help to calm separation distressed dogs, and foods that provide a vitamin or protein boost.

About 50% of dogs are lactose intolerant meaning that they cannot digest lactose, a sugar that is found in milk, yogurt and cheese. Lactose-intolerant dogs are often very flatulent and may produce softer than normal faeces. If you suspect that your dog is lactose-intolerant, it is better to avoid feeding yogurt and cheese as whilst the foods in themselves aren’t harmful, the abnormal bacteria activity within the dog’s gut can lead to bacteria imbalances and malabsorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Foods to avoid because they are toxic to dogs include chocolate, grapes, raisins, sultanas and onions. Watch out for ‘hidden’ sources of onion too – stock cubes often contain onion and are very high in salt, so are best avoided.

Kongs can also be filled with water or cooking stock and frozen in hot weather. As well as being a cooling and soothing treat for teething puppies, this is a great way to provide liquid to dogs that need to be crated when left.

To prepare and freeze a liquid-filled Kong:

  1. Plug the small end of the Kong with a good-sized lump of peanut butter. You could also use a piece of cheese or sausage to do this, so long as it provides a good seal.
  2. Next, place the Kong, small end down, into a mug.
  3. Fill the up-turned Kong with liquid.
  4. Put the mug into the freezer.
  5. When the liquid is frozen, the Kong is ready to serve.

Of course a Kong doesn’t have to be filled with liquid to be frozen. Any stuffed Kong can be frozen, and a frozen filling will provide a longer-lasting treat.


KONG STUFFING RECIPES
Here are just a few Kong stuffing recipe ideas. If you have a tried and tested recipe that you would like to share, please contact me and I will include it on this page.MEATY TREAT
Ingredients: A portion of your dog’s normal kibble, about a teaspoon of meat paste, a chunk of banana (about an inch thick).
Method: Half fill the Kong with kibble, then add the meat paste. Using the handle of the spoon, mix the meat paste into the kibble. Add some more kibble, packing it in well, and then plug the large opening with the banana.
Food Fact: Banana is a ‘pre-biotic’ food, which means it provides a good nutritional base to feed the dog’s friendly gut bacteria and so promote good digestive health.

CALMING KONG

Ingredients: A portion of your dog’s normal kibble, about a dessertspoon of cottage cheese, a chunk of banana (about an inch thick).
Method: Half fill the Kong with kibble, then spoon in most of the cottage cheese. Holding your hand over the large opening, shake the Kong to coat the kibble in the cottage cheese. Add some more kibble, packing it in well, then top with the remainder of the cottage cheese before plugging the large opening with the banana.
Food Fact: Cottage cheese contains a good source of the protein amino-acid ‘casein’, which the body converts into naturally occurring opioids that have a calming effect. This is especially useful to help separation distressed dogs to feel more relaxed when alone. Bananas are also thought to have a calming effect too.

SWEET & NUTTY

Ingredients: Warm freshly boiled white rice, warm freshly steamed and mashed sweet potato, about a dessertspoon of peanut butter.
Method: Mix and mash together the rice and sweet potato and peanut butter. Fill the Kong with the mix and it’s ready to serve. Alternatively, wait until the rice and sweet potato has cooled before making the mix and then freeze the Kong to use later. When frozen this mix seems to last for hours, so it’s a great boredom buster, especially on long car journeys.
Food Fact: Sweet potato is a great source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A and acts as powerful antioxidant, helping to support immune system health.

FRUITY FREEZE

Ingredients: Banana, a small handful of blueberries, natural yoghurt.
Method: Mash or blend the banana, blueberries and yoghurt together in a bowl. Place the Kong, small end down, in a mug, and spoon in the mix. Place in the freezer and serve when frozen.
Food Fact: Blueberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and can help to support cardiovascular and urinary tract health.EGG-CEEDINGLY TASTY
Ingredients: 1 scrambled egg, 1 chopped Frankfurter or hot-dog sausage, boiled white rice.
Method: Mash the scrambled egg and rice together in a bowl and then mix in the chopped sausage. Fill the Kong, using a chunk of sausage to plug the end.
Food Fact: Egg is 100% nutritionally complete, meaning that it contains all the protein-amino acids that the body needs.TUM-EASE ~ Thanks to Carole Green (owned by Cody) for this recipe suggestion.
Ingredients: Cold boiled white rice, about a dessertspoon of natural bio-yoghurt.
Method: Mix and mash the rice and yoghurt together and fill the Kong. Serve straight away or freeze for later.
Food Fact: The blandness of boiled white rice coupled with the ‘friendly’ bacteria in natural bio-yogurt makes this a great recipe for dogs with sensitive tummies.PUMPKIN PIE ~ Thanks to Eryka Kahunanui (owned by Bizzle Fo’ Shizzle and Sarah Bean) for this recipe suggestion.
Ingredients: Pureed pumpkin, tahini paste (or peanut butter).
Method: Mix together the pureed pumpkin and tahini paste and fill the Kong. Serve straight away or freeze for later.
Food Fact: Tahini (sesame butter) is a good source of calcium and zinc, minerals essential for healthy bones. I hope this gives you some ideas……. 

     #6.  Another great tool for getting you dog out there is your bike.  There are just some dogs that require more exercise and a walk will just not do it for those dogs.  I use a great product called a bike tow leash, here is their website http://www.biketowleash.com/ here is also a video showing how it works http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2tcKb2cgEE . I have had mine for about three years and love it.  I paid about $120.00 which was worth every penny after years of just using a leash( not the safest approach). 

7. Trail walking with your dog, a lot of my clients love to run the trails in Central Oregon with their dogs and most like to do this off leash.  In a perfect world all dogs would be off leash, their would be no dog fights and we would just all get along.  Well we do not live in a perfect world and dogs do fight, especially dogs that have not been properly socialized as puppies.  These dogs are usually on the trails because their owners never think that they will ever run into another dog. What usually happens is that your friendly dog runs into a not so friendly dog and a fight happens, now we have not only one dog that has had a bad experience with other dog, we have two.  It is just my opinion. but I keep my dogs on leash all the time when outdoors or on the trails.  Your dog might see a deer, bear, couger or any other form of wildlife, and in a worse case scenerio your dog could get hurt or lost.  Another thing that we have to be on the lookout for is wildlife traps that are also trapping our domestic dogs and in some cases killing them. The traps in our area can be off the trail only a few feet.  The choice to have your dog off leash is always going to be your choice. 

Now lets say that you are on a trail with your dog on a leash and you are approaching another dog on a narrow trail.  I always like to plan for an emergency because we cannot assume that the other dog or person will be friendly, so have a plan of action ready.  You might have to completely move off the trail to make sure your dog and the other dog are safe, in an emergency I carry very valuable treats just in case I cannot get enough space between my dog and the other dog, so while that dog is moving past my dog is having a treat party.  I am accomplishing a few things here, one I’m keeping the positive association to other dogs strong, another is my dogs is hopefuly going to be glued to the hand with the chicken or hot dog so he/she is not worried about the other dog. 

One thing that I see all the time, that makes me shake my head is when a person with a reactive dog forces their dog to look at the other dog at a close distance while the dog goes by, or the person whose dog is on a choke or prong collar repeatedly corrects their dog for even looking at another dog.  Ask yourself how you would feel if the thing that scared you the most was just a few short feet away and you had to stare at it as it went by and be corrected at the same time.  It would not be a great experience for you. Years ago a great trainer named William Campbell wrote an amazing book called ‘Behavior Problems In Dogs’.  There is one chapter where Bill talks about the jolly dance(routine) instead of getting upset when your dog sees another dog Bill recommended doing a Jolly Dance, in other words your dog sees another dog and you get very happy and pretty much make a fool of yourself, this really works. Of course your silly behavior might get you funny looks, but it might teach others to do the same after they see how it helps your dog focus on you.  Just imagine if every person with a reactive dog got happy when their dog sees another dog just how the dogs opinion might change.  Give it a try and see what happens.  This is also a great way to get your dog to pay attention to you and not the other dog, who cares what others think just as long as you avoid a dog fight or potential dog fight.  

Don’t forget to bring your clicker and treats while hiking with your dog on the trail to be ready to reward good behaviors, like coming when called, sitting when asked or just to work on basic manners in the field.  If you only practice in class or at home then your dog will never be able to do it while hiking so set them up for success. 

8.  I also want you to think about some of the challenges you might encounter while walking around town, especially in a more distracting environment like the city or a loud place that your dog has never been to before.  I remember last year when Bend Oregon had a pet parade.  There were literally hundreds of different dogs of different breeds and temprements.  I took our rescue dog Cole there and wow was that a lesson for me. I swore that I would never do that to him again.  Although he did very well and made lots of human friends I thought about it when I got home how stressful that was for Cole and the hundreds of other dogs that were there.  Some of the dogs were literally being dragged down the street, they clearly did not want or need all of this. I was surprised that there were no dog fights or at least none that I saw. 

I did see something that really upset me along with many others.  There was one little dog that was being lifted by helium balloons about thirty feet in the air.  This poor little guy was clearly stressed but in the name if entertainment this dog was put through hell.  I watched him give so many signals that he was not comfortable, he was yawning almost uncontrollable as well as shaking.  This was not a dog that was enjoying himself and was just not doing very well but coping the best he could at the time.  I want you to really think when you are walking with your dog how they feel about where they are and to notice some of the stress signals that you otherwise might not notice.  Look for lots of lip licking, yawning, body shaking, excessive blinking, changes in their coat can be a dead give away that they are stressed.  I know when Cole who is very dark gets stressed his coat will fill with white dandruff looking specks. This is not dandruff but a response to stress and is a reminder to me to really pay attention to his needs.

There are a few other things to consider when walking your dog in the city. Think about all of the noises and things that your dog might not get to see on a regular basis, then all of a sudden, planes, trains and automobiles, oh my!!!  This can be a pretty big deal for your dog.  There are also hidden dangers on the side walks like broken glass, food, old gum. Than there are children that want to hug your dog or that person who just has to touch your dog or let their dog meet yours so being prepared is key.  I would suggest teach a very strong leave-it cue. 

Another thing that I have been teaching our students in puppy class as well as our manners class, that it  is not require that their dogs sit for petting.  I came up with a little saying a few years ago “More people are bitten by dogs that are sittin”.  This is also a personal choice because most people are taught in class that before greeting people their dogs must sit.  Think about this for a munute then ask yourself how you would feel if a stranger came up to you and just started hugging you or petting you and you had to just take it.  Just because they are dogs does not give everyone the right to touch them at anytime.  I believe the safest approach is always to ask before touching.  I am working with several clients right now who’s dogs are just not comfortable being touched and that is OK too. Yes we can teach our dogs to accept touch, but there are just times when they might not want to be touched, do not be afraid to say no or tell people (especially children) to ask first.  Better safe than sorry.   Here is a great website that is called ‘Dog’s In Need Of Space’ that has a lot of great resources for dog parents.  They even sell vest that say’s ‘Dog’s In Need Of Space’ or DINOS http://dogsinneedofspace.com/  please check it out. If you have a DINOS dog, be their advocate.

 here are some other signs of stress.

Signs of Stress Checklist

STRESS SIGNALS CHECKLIST (check all that apply)

Eyes:
[ ] dilated eyes
[ ] glazed over
[ ] squinting
[ ] whale eye (whites showing)
[ ] avoidance (eyes or head turned away)
[ ] direct stare
[ ] blinking
[ ] quick movements of the eyes
[ ] looks frequently to handler for direction
[ ] red eyes (mucus membranes turn red with increased blood pressure)

Face:
[ ] furrowed brow/scowling
[ ] veins popped out over eyes
[ ] ears uneven
[ ] ears up and aroused
[ ] ears plastered back
[ ] buries head like ostrich
[ ] quick movements of the head

Mouth:
[ ] licking lips or nose
[ ] clomping jaw
[ ] yawning
[ ] panting – too wide
[ ] panting – too shallow
[ ] velvet tongue
[ ] snarling, lip curling, showing teeth
[ ] drooling
[ ] air snaping
[ ] whiskers slicked back or pricked forward

Vocalizing:
[ ] whining
[ ] screaming
[ ] excessive barking
[ ] sharp yipping
[ ] growling

Posture:
[ ] stiff
[ ] avoidance
[ ] cowering
[ ] hiding in back
[ ] turning away
[ ] stretching
[ ] tail up (when it usually isn’t)
[ ] tail down (when it usually isn’t)
[ ] stiff-legged walk
[ ] freezing

Others:
[ ] slow or shallow breathing
[ ] sniffing
[ ] trembling
[ ] clinched toes
[ ] red pigment ears/eye rims
[ ] normally white skin looking pinkish (increased blood pressure) look in the ears where hair is thin
[ ] chewing/scratching at self
[ ] self injury/mutilation
[ ] spinning/circling
[ ] digging/escape behaviors
[ ] chewing at bars
[ ] rubbed at top of nose
[ ] passing gas
[ ] sweaty/moist paw prints on floor
[ ] blowing coat
[ ] unexplained loss of weight
[ ] unusually loose feces
[ ] loss of bladder or bowel control
[ ] goosing, shoving or poking handler
[ ] leaning into or hiding behind handler
[ ] lethargic
[ ] attention seeking
[ ] circling or arcing

Dogs may exhibit some of these stress responses at any given time.  I am sure there are more but this is a great list to think about.

I hope these tips have given you some food for thought the next time you and your dog go out for a walk.  I also encourage to make the walk as fun as possible for you and our dog.  So get out there and walk with your dog as it is a lot cheaper than a gym membership and there is more fresh air to be found outside……

Dennis Fehling CPDT (KA)