Taking your dog out for fun and adventures is important, but just as important is teaching your dog to relax and be calm whilst out and about.
Can your stop and enjoy being in an environment? Or do they have to be constantly on the move, being hypervigilant about what is going on around them?
Calmness is one of the most important things you can teach a dog. Having the ability to enter a new environment, explore it (we don't want to stop that!), then calm down, is essential. It stops a lot of unwanted behaviour and minimises the potential for altercations.
How to teach calm?
Boundary (or bed/mat) work- this is a great place to start. Having some where for your dog to zone to, that they automatically lie down on.
Reward Nothing - simply reward your dog for doing nothing! They show stillness or choose to sit...calmly reward them.
A cued 'down' or 'sit' - encourage them by requesting the behaviour and see if they can add duration.
Be calm yourself - most dogs understand that if we sit then it means we have no plans to go anywhere, use this to your advantage and relax yourself and see if your dog will too.
I would suggest starting these calm behaviours at home first and taking them out on the road. Start in quiet environments, don't expect instant calmness at a busy beach!
Life is much better with a dog whose default is calm!
This post works hand in hand with the 'Arousal Bucket' make sure you check it out!
The photo is of Miss Cuba. Cuba was on the go every minute of every walk, but we're slowly introducing calmness and she is doing amazing!!