You’ve Been Walking Your Dog Wrong
You’re not taking your dog on a walk, they’re taking you!
Dogs are amazing! I’m sure you know this because otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. They’re our most loyal companions, yet, sometimes walking your dog can be somehow challenging when they’re constantly pulling on their leash. It might even get so frustrating to the point where you prefer to do something else instead of having to walk alongside your so-called “untrainable dog”. That’s why I’d like to give you the best advice on how to train your dog so that both of you can enjoy the walk!
“There’s no such thing as a difficult dog, only a an inexperienced owner” -Barbara Woodhouse
1. Play with your dog before their walk
It’s easier to walk alongside a tired dog rather than an energized one, especially for large dog owners. So try to get him a bit tired before a walk, for ex: Playing fetch is a great way for your dog to move around. The great thing is that you can do this for a short amount of time (5–10min) and get on with the walk without your dog trying to pull on its leash the whole time.
2. Walk in front of your dog
Walking in front of your dog is very important. Do you remember those movies as a kid where the alpha wolf was the one in front of the pack? Well, the same thing applies here. I’m sure most of you aren’t walking in front of your dog, which means that whenever you go on a walk…. he’s the pack leader. As we mentioned before, it’s important that during a walk you have certain superiority over your dog. This also means being the first one in and out of the house.
3. Offer rewards during walks
Your dog must know that he’s doing a good job of paying attention and following your rules. Therefore, giving them prizes such as snacks or doggy treats are a great way to motivate them. Take some time to train around other dogs, try to get his attention by giving him a snack whenever there’s a distraction. If he looks straight at you, that means that you have his attention! If not, get a bit further away from the distraction and try again. Eventually, you can get closer to the distraction (dogs, squirrels, humans, cars, etc..) and still manage to get his attention without having to show him a treat!
Speaking to your dog is also important, keywords such as “heel”, “stop”, and even calling out their names can program them to perform the command you wish. Eventually, you’ll get their attention just by saying the keyword, even if it takes more time than the snack approach.
4. Respect your dog’s bathroom breaks and natural behaviours
Dogs depend on their noses. More specifically, dog nose slits help them to distinguish between 30,000 to 100,000 different scents (in comparison to humans who can identify 4,000 to 10,000). Which is why you must allow them to sniff and explore once in a while during walks. I’m not saying you should let them sniff all the time and let them go wherever they want, but don’t expect them to heel for the whole 30-minute walk. Respecting bathroom breaks is also a critical part of respecting your dog, not only does it relieve them, but it helps them communicate with the many dogs in their community.
Remember, you must follow these four vital tips from the moment you get a dog. “Start from the beginning”; it’s not easy to tell a grown man to change his lifestyle completely. This same concept applies to dogs, it’s going to be a lot harder for an older dog to learn new tricks. That’s why, when you get a puppy, treat with him with love and respect but also make sure to tell him you’re the boss; after this, discipline and obedience are bound to follow.
As you might have also guessed, it’s very important to seek advice from experts and do research so you can give your dog the treatment he deserves! Remember, it’s not only about trying to control your dog, it’s about creating a bond between one another in which the respect and love are mutual.
The dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings.