By Bradley Schneider, Dogtime Training
When taking our best friend for a walk, the goal is to have a nice relaxing stress free walk.
To start out it is always best to attach the leash to a harness rather than a neck collar. There is always the risk of injury to your dog when using just a neck collar, especially on smaller breeds. Neck collars can cause damage to the trachea or strain neck muscles.
I find the best position to have the dog in when walking is for the tail to be just ahead of your front leg. The reason for this is it gives you full view of your dog’s entire body, allowing you to see body posture and if your dog is nervous, scared, happy, alert etc.
If you notice a change in posture then you can stop the walk and have your dog settle before continuing on your walk. Another reason to have the dog walk just ahead of you is that dogs have much wider peripheral vision. If they are right beside you they can see a lot more behind, which can be an issue if your dog likes to chase things.
While walking it’s always good to let your dog sniff and explore. Once your dog’s nose is working it really works his brain and will tire him out. Randomly dropping little food treats on the ground really helps your dog feel proud of finding rewards from using his nose.
If you have a dog that likes to pull a lot then as soon as the leash is about to go tight use a verbal “uh ah” cue to let your dog know you are stopping. Once you stop it’s important to allow your dog to come back toward you to loosen the leash. As soon as the leash is loose say “good boy/girl” and continue moving forward.
If you have a situation where your dog gets over excited with approaching people or another dog, simply turn around and walk in the opposite direction. Then when your dog calms down, turn back around while praising for good behaviour.
You can practice by putting a food bowl at end of the driveway and walk your dog towards the bowl. If your dog starts to pull, you stop. Your dog quickly learns that the only way to get to what they want is by walking on a loose leash. Pulling means the walk stops.