Q&A With A Local Dog Walker

Hayley Mattoon is the team manager of Dana Point’s OC Pup Scouts. She recommends her favorite trails for walking dogs.

Tell us about your job.
It’s honestly the best job in the world. We do free pickups and dropoffs in Orange County for our structured pack walks. It involves a little bit of training. It’s teaching dogs leash manners, so we don’t allow pulling or leading. We deal a lot with under-socialization—with rescues who have been under-socialized in their lives and sometimes the presence of other dogs makes them nervous. Dogs are very social creatures, and they’re able to learn from each other and gain confidence.

What tips do you have to stop leash-pulling?
My biggest tip is to never follow a dog who has any tension on the leash. If you continue forward when there’s tension on the leash, the dog is going to learn that pulling gets rewarded. A reward is not always a treat; it could be that light post that other dogs peed on and they pull you to it.

What are your favorite dog-friendly trails?
We generally look for safe walking locations for our dogs—places we can take a break and cool off in the shade, get them some water from our backpacks, and practice being calm in a stimulating environment. I like Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Moulton Meadows, Beach Trail in San Clemente, Bonita Creek Park, Huntington Beach Central Park, Jeffrey Open Space Trail, Heroes Park, Shady Canyon Trail, Foxborough in Aliso, Newport Back Bay, Talbert Regional Park, and Aliso Creek Trail. Each one is a little bit different. Some of them have a lot more dogs and people out, which I think is great. Laguna Niguel Regional Park has a lot of geese so (with) dogs that struggle with a prey drive, it’s great practice for them there. Some of them are just absolutely gorgeous—Moulton Meadows has amazing views of the ocean.

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