Walking your dog needn’t be a difficult activity, nor need it be a chore.
Many owners struggle with walking their dogs as their dog exhibits some of the following behaviour:
- Pulling on the lead
- Refusal to have the lead put on
- Chewing the lead
- Jumping up at other people
- Barking at other dogs
- Lunging at other dogs
- Poor recall
- Fear of the unknown
- Constant stopping and sniffing
- Eating anything they find
- Jumping into any available water
- Chasing joggers and cyclists
And this isn’t even an exhaustive list!
Why isn’t walking your dog easy?
The reason there are so many different types of problems associated with walking your dog, is that they have more reasons for not doing what you want them to on the walk than they do anywhere else. Simply put, they see ‘going for a walk’ as a patrol through no mans’ land.
What we need to remember is that dogs are pack animals and have an understanding of territory. What they are not so clear on is public property and communal spaces. So when you walk them, they think that they have either left their territory and strayed into the territory of other dogs, who they think may not take too kindly to their presence; or they think the outside world is an extension of their territory, and they are alarmed by the number of other beings on this territory.
Therefore there is a lot for them to be doing, and thinking about. It’s difficult for them to accept your decisions so they get on with doing things that they think are important to them; to keep the pack safe, to assert themselves, to find more food, to mark their territory and so on.
How to walk your dog with ease.
The most basic thing to remember when you are walking your dog, is that you don’t have to! So when things aren’t going very well, go home! Of if things are going badly before you’ve even left the house, don’t go!
Yes exercise is important, so that’s why I would advocate that if you haven’t been able to walk your dog for a while, make sure you engage in a bit of play with them and get them moving in a space they feel safe in.
Walking your dog is simple if you remember to follow these 3 simple rules:
- Do not leave the house unless your dog is relaxed and will let you walk out of the door first.
- Change directions every single time the lead starts to go straight. You can practice this at home first!
- When you realise that you have been walking for half and hour and haven’t got out of your road yet, go back home!
It’s simple really. Your dog needs to learn to follow your decisions. If it is not relaxed enough to get out of your road walking on a slack lead, then you are going to have problems on your walk. Train them at home, in your garden, on your drive and so forth.
There is a bit more to it than this of course, but this is an excellent start. If you want more detailed help then please get in touch. I can help with all dog behaviour problems, and I am based in Essex and cover the surrounding counties too.