Is your pup reactive and distracted while out for a stroll? If so, you know how frustrating daily outings can be. To be clear, we’re not expecting a perfectly behaved pup every time we leave the house. In fact, sometimes a meandering “sniff walk” is just the thing an anxious dog needs. However, there are moments that will require a dog’s full attention – like when a rogue, off-leash pup starts darting your way.
In case of emergency, dog owners should always have a trick or two up their sleeves. Read on to learn how you can turn a simple travel shampoo bottle into a handy training tool that’s economical and mess-free.
Why Your Pet Lacks Focus
Our dogs exist within a small world, relatively speaking. If you’re a working pet parent, your pup is probably napping at home between the hours of 9 – 5. And even work-from-home dog moms and dads would likely attest to having limited time to leave the house or provide enough mental stimulation for their pups. Consequently, a daily walk is the highlight of your dog’s day. It’s their chance to explore an environment outside the home they have grown accustomed to and expend any pent-up energy.
With so many sights and scents, and with more and more dogs suffering from leash reactivity or anxiety, it makes sense that our companions might struggle to behave. They’re just doing what comes naturally to them! Behaviors like sniffing should never be punished, but if you’re finding yourself in a chaotic frenzy every time you leave the house, some training tools may be helpful and even turn your nightly stroll into a fun game for your pup.
What You Need to Keep Your Pet Focused on Walks
Head to your local convenience store and make your way to the travel section to pick up a few mini shampoo bottles. You know, the empty receptacles that you typically fill with your favorite soaps? Once you’ve secured the bottles, give them a run through the dishwasher or hand wash to ensure they’re totally food-safe for your pet.
Next, think of your dog’s favorite wet treat. It could be their canned food (thinned with water), creamy peanut butter, blended bananas, hot dogs – you name it! Fill that empty shampoo bottle full of the good stuff and get ready to roll. You now have a high-value treat dispenser that delivers your pet’s favorite goodies on-the-go. No messing around with treat pouches and small bites that may or may not quell your dog’s wandering eye. Even better, this travel shampoo bottle hack is great for dogs who must be muzzled on their walks; the squeeze tube perfectly delivers a portion of delicious treats straight into your dog’s mouth! Glove-wearers will also appreciate the mess-free nature of this training tool as the cold winter months approach.
Our Favorite Fillings
Feeling uninspired and want to up your shampoo bottle treat game? We suggest the following concoctions:
- Cream cheese, blended and thinned with water
- Pureed oatmeal, preferably sugar and flavoring-free
- Mashed potatoes, blended and thinned with water
- Yogurt (unsweetened)
- Baby food
- Blended sweet veggies like carrots
- Canned pumpkin
- Spray cheese
Safety tip: Always remember to consult with your veterinarian before feeding your dog any new foods, and stay away from artificial sweeteners as they can be toxic to pets.
Admittedly, a shampoo bottle isn’t the only delivery option for portable, high-value treats. If you’d rather re-use a container, other receptacles you can try are emptied and cleaned toothpaste tubes, cleaned dressing bottles (the squeeze kind), condiment bottles, or if you’re really in a pinch, a full can of whipped cream! The goal is easy accessibility and a treat your dog simply can’t resist.
The next time you head out for your daily walk, bring a tube or two of these wet treats and reward your dog whenever their attention turns toward you. Soon, you’ll have a focused, well-behaved pup who can’t wait to hit the pavement. And remember – the best way to keep your pets safe, happy, and healthy in any situation is by talking to your vet ahead of time. Your vet can offer anxiety-reducing tips, training how-tos, and other guidance specifically tailored to your four-legged companion. If the unexpected does happen, our friends at Figo Pet Insurance will help you worry less and get you back on the go.
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