Sunday, September 14, 2008

Walking with your obedient dog

Ever see people who are pretending to take their dogs for a walk, but who are really being pulled all over the place by the dog?

I even saw that in dog obedience class - and not just on the first day. I think those folks weren't doing their homework.

Happy walking begins with the initial work of getting your dog to pay attention to you. He should be watching where you're going instead of gawking at everything under the sun. And they do. I took an untrained rescue dog for a walk one day and she got distracted by a piece of "cotton" falling from a Cottonwood tree. She really wanted to chase it!

I don't remember if our instructor gave us specific words to use, but I always said "walk with me." And if Suzie started trying to pull me off the path, I gave her a sharp tug with the choke collar to get her attention. It didn't take long before she realized that "with me" meant with me.

A lot of people don't want to use those - thinking it's cruel. They aren't cruel at all - as long as the chain is long enough and it is worn properly so that the instant you stop the "jerk" it releases. When you and your dog are walking happily, the chain will hang loose below his neck.

If your dog persists on trying to pull you, simply stand on the lead and let him go to the end, where he'll give himself a jerk back to attention. Of course, if you're dealing with a dog who has been allowed to learn bad habits, you might have to give a few mighty tugs before he figures out that the rules have changed.

Another trick we learned to keep the dogs paying attention was to walk briskly and do a lot of turns. With the dog on the right they sometimes got drug around a left turn, and sometimes got their toes stepped on or their bodies bumped into on a right turn. They learned quickly to watch their humans to see where they'd go next.

Going for a walk should be fun for both you and your dog - and it can be if you take some time to teach proper dog obedience manners.

Yours for happy pets,

1 comment:

Blog Sisters said...

Great tip. Many dog owners are not aware that dogs should not be leading you but walking beside you. We look forward to your growing doggie blog.