How do I teach my dog to cross the road?

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Do you live in town and want to teach your dog to cross the road safely?

Does your dog become unmanageable in the city, and do you fear for his safety, especially when crossing the road?

There are solutions, and there is nothing complicated in learning to crosswalk safely. I explain how to make your dog have the reflex to wait before crossing.

The dog cannot “intellectualize.”

So, first of all, don’t expect your dog to realize the danger of the road and the consequences of crossing without looking right or left.

The dog does not have the mental capacities to anticipate or intellectualize a danger such as that of passing cars.

Of course, some dogs will have the reflex to avoid confrontation with a car, but others, for example, will, on the contrary, have the reflex of wanting to control this sizeable moving machine; I am thinking in particular of sheepdogs, some of whom have an instinct. highly developed regrouping, even towards cars.

But if it is not possible to teach a dog to “pay attention,” it is, however, possible to teach him to stop systematically before crossing.

Control your dog on a leash for more security

The first indication to teach your dog will be to walk on a leash in town so that you can have total control and that he does not take over you and take you on board. You are not here to make a flag behind your dog!

Also, if you teach your dog to heel, you will also teach him to stop when you stop and follow your movement. Thus, since as a good city dweller you systematically stop before crossing the road to look left then right, your dog, following your movement, will therefore also stop.

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I invite you to consult our article specially dedicated to this subject to guarantee successful learning.

Learning not to move before crossing

Teaching your dog not to move will be very useful on a daily basis, so I invite you to teach this indication to your doggie from an early age so that you can then use it in various situations, and in particular right in town.

I invite you to read our article dedicated exclusively to the “stay still” indication if you are unable to teach this order to your dog.

So, as soon as you stop at a pedestrian crossing, ask your dog for a static position (sitting or lying down) and tell him not to move.

Work on resuming walking calmly

After the walk, when it is time to move forward and resume walking, dogs often tend to leave as if they were freed from a large grip, and sometimes this can be dangerous !

And often, it’s our doing! It is our attitude and your intonation of voice that tell the dog that the exercise is over and that he is free.

However, in town, the end of the step does not mean “it’s party time, we’re running in all directions”. On the contrary, it means resuming a calm walk. So, rather indicate in a firm tone to your dog “on the heels” without going too high-pitched.

We often tend to say “go” or “let’s go” but these are often indications that we also give to the dog when we allow him to go play or go for a walk. This therefore triggers a certain excitement and enthusiasm in the dog which will not necessarily be adapted to the city environment.

So, when you work on walking on a leash, also work on the fact that stepping forward does not mean pulling on the leash or leaving without paying attention, it simply means resuming walking on foot.

If you want to go further by using an effective and recognized method to educate your dog at a lower cost, I advise you to take a look at the “Train your dog in 15 minutes a day”.

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Practice all the obedience exercises in a suitable place

All the indications that will be useful to you in town and that we have just listed: walking on a leash, heeling, standing still, sitting, etc. are indications that your dog will first need to master in a non-stimulating place.

So of course the environment with zero stimulation does not exist, but, let it be said, the city is clearly not the calmest environment there is to teach new indications to your dog.

Thus, in your garden or on neutral ground that is not very stimulating for your dog, work on walking on a leash with a short leash to get him used to the equipment you will have in town, work on the “stops” on the move, the sitting , possibly lying down as well as not moving but also the resumption of walking in calm.

You can also seek the help of a dog training and behavior professional if you are unable to obtain the desired results.

In general, when you don’t manage to get what you want with your dog, it’s either:

  • because the environment proposed for learning is too rich in stimuli
  • because your attitude is not adapted (too firm or too lax)
  • because your dog is not sufficiently exerted and needs to externalize his excess energy before he can concentrate to work
  • because the method used is not adapted .

Respecting the principles of positive education

And speaking of method precisely, learning fairly strict indications such as not moving or walking on foot will be much more pleasant to put in place with an education based on positive reinforcement.

If you just scold or punish your dog for his mistakes, he will lose motivation and will want to avoid and ignore your cues in the future.

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It will always be preferable to warmly reward good behavior (even if it is minimal) to encourage and motivate the dog to repeat it.

In addition, it will also be necessary to favor short sessions, not exceeding 15 minutes, and which will be repeated as regularly as possible.

Finally, the sessions should be progressive by offering increasingly complex exercises but respecting total success and complete mastery of a stage before moving on to a new one.

For example, if your dog can’t heel on a walk in the countryside or stay still for more than a few sessions, he will absolutely not be ready to offer it in town.

In this case, it will be necessary to be patient but above all to question yourself and ask yourself why it does not work, what can be improved and modified so that learning is more effective.

It is often in this kind of situation that the use of a canine trainer is advised so as not to enter a vicious circle, always leading to failure.

Be consistent daily

One last point, and certainly the most important: your consistency!

It will be very important if you want to teach your dog to cross the road in a controlled and safe way, to stop systematically before crossing, and always to ask your dog for the same instructions each time you cross the road so that he can integrate what you expect of him as soon as possible.

If sometimes you ask him to stop, sit down and not move, but sometimes you cross at full speed without even marking a stop… Your dog will assimilate much less quickly, if at all, what you ask him.

The dog learns mainly by repetition. And you will see that if you always perform the same gestures, say the same words, and always have the same attitude before crossing a road, your dog will end up anticipating and proposing the right behavior without you even having to ask him. !

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