Mastering the Art of Walking Your Dog…
Walking your dog should be easy enough, just clip on the leash and off you go. Shouldn’t that be all there is to it?
Believe it or not, there are right ways and there are wrong ways to walk your dog.
Let’s begin by saying that walking your dog is great exercise for both of you, but it’s really more than that, it’s a great opportunity for bonding and spending time together.
Who is walking who?
We’ve all seen it…the human being pulled up the street by the dog. What’s wrong with this picture?
First of all, the human should be in charge of the direction and the pace. If your dog is walking you, there are some simple things you can do to take the “lead” back:
- Plan and prepare ahead (although it doesn’t take much!)
- Choose the right collar – make sure the collar is a good fit, is a regular, flat collar or halter, and avoid such things as choke chains. (Remember, part of your goal is to create a bond with your dog, and not cause pain.)
- Choose the right leash – a shorter leash allows you to have more control and gives your dog less opportunity for straying off the path or moving ahead of you.
- Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a special lead for your dog, like the one to the right. It is called a gentle leader! This puppy weighs 140 pounds, so this helps her not pull when on leash. It’s very similar to a bridle that a horse would wear.
- Have a few treats on hand (especially in the beginning when your dog is learning).
- Don’t forget your “doggy do-do” bags. (This isn’t part of the training, but it is a necessity)
- Plan enough time in your schedule for the walk so you don’t have to feel rushed. Thirty minutes to an hour is usually a good amount of time.
- You should take the lead…you should be first out the door at the beginning of your walk, and first in the door when you return.
- During your walk, your dog should be at your side (typically your left side) or at your heel, which gives him/her the opportunity to be attentive to your movement, direction and what you want. He should not be allowed to move from left to right.
- If your dog tries to move ahead and pull on the leash, stop and wait for him to return to your side. Never hurry to keep up with him.
- Marking good behavior is important. When he is staying at your side, “mark” the good behavior with with a clicker or a specific word. This can be accompanied by a treat. Do this periodically throughout your walk to reinforce the behavior.
- Talk to your dog during your walk (you may have to put away your cell phone for awhile), not just when you are correcting his behavior. Praise him when he is behaving correctly, and let him know you are pleased.
- Rewarding your dog at the right times is very important. Reward him with a treat in addition to praising and petting him. Positive feedback works wonders – especially when pleasing you is their main desire.
For all your doggie daycare needs, Contact BowWow Fun Towne, you’ll find plenty of great activity and exercise here to help keep your dog happy while you’re away.