While dog parks may seem like a good idea, they can compromise your dog’s calm, manageable state of mind and all the work you’ve done on training your dog. You can never be quite sure who is there and how other dogs will behave. Instead, opt for one of these choices that support your balanced dog training journey.

Photo By Rosali Silva

1. Go for a Structured Walk downtown, at the Gloucester Boulevard, up Dane or Lothrop Street, Lynn Shore Drive, or another bustling area. The goal is for your dog to stay in a heel position and follow your lead, not a stop-and-sniff walk. That’s the Structure!

2. Practice recall in a park on a Saturday. The built-in distractions of people, children, bikes, balls, and other dogs will be a mental workout while your dog works to return to you every time.

two yellow labs lying down in shade with two women holding their leashes

3. Go to a busy park or street, camp out with a book, and let your dog hang out at your feet. Sometimes called a down stay, it’s a simple exercise of just being chill. If your dog is still too focused on other dogs, choose a bench or table away from the main path–it will still be a lot of mental stimulation. 

4. Work in the backyard with a place cot or towel to have your dog practice Place while you garden, read a book, or play with your kids. The goal is for the dog to remain on the placemat until released. Our dogs love a job to do! 

5. Have private or less-traveled woodlands? Bring your dog to the woods for a “catch and release” walk. If leashes are required, bring a long line and let your dog get distracted, keep walking, call him to you, and keep walking. Let him run ahead and call him back. If leashes are optional, the same exercise works great, but always take a leash

6. Invite a friend and their dog over for a playdate. Let the dogs play together for a bit before settling them down to sniff and hang out. The goal isn’t for them to play and run ragged the whole time but to learn to co-exist and enjoy each other’s company. 

light golden brown pit bull mix on a leash lies quietly at an outdoor table

7. Meet a friend to get coffee and have your dog lie quietly at your feet in a down-stay. Doing nothing is a great exercise in impulse control! 

8. Go for a Structured Walk with a friend who doesn’t have a dog. New people, new places, staying in a heel position, and listening to you is a mental workout! 

9. Bring a blanket to the park and have your dog lie in the grass near you watching the world go by. Choosing to remain calm, and not jump at every bird or person is hard work! 

10. For high-level distraction take a Structured Walk around a (fenced) dog park. Go to the park, but don’t go inside the fenced area. Use the huge distraction of dogs playing as an opportunity to work around other dogs. Practice calling your dog back on the long line, correcting for distractions, and building a stronger relationship with your dog.

jack russell terrier dog on leash with e-collar in gloucester ma

Looking for additional training tips and support?

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Encourages your leadership and show how you to nurture good behavior. 

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Covers the basics of good dog behavior as well as some behavior modification.

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Foundation Training with e-collar for total off-leash freedom and behavior modification.

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