With the days getting sunnier and the weather seeming warmer, I noticed so many more people outside with their dawgs this weekend. I especially noticed a lot of poorly mannered dawgs out walking. Of my three dawgs, only one walks properly on a leash, and even this took me years to work on, so I understand the frustration. Having a yard for them to romp and play in, I find “going on walks” to be stressful, chaotic, and something I just don’t have time for. That’s not really fair to my kiddos though. Walks are good for dawgs because they give them a chance to exercise their brains secure their surroundings.
Fun fact: Us humanfolk have around 5 million olfactory cells in our nose (smelling receptors). Dogs have up to 230 million of these same cells and what’s more, their cells do not adjust to new smells the way ours do. When you walk into a room and smell bacon, the scent may be deliciously overpowering at first and gradually fades. This doesn’t happen for dawgs–they smell everything at 100% about 45x more intensely than we do. Can you even imagine?!
Do yourself and your dawg a favor and take a walk this week! Enjoy the fresh air and some special time with your favorite four-legged friend(s). In case you’re hesitating for the same reasons I do (dawgs with poor leash etiquette), here are some training tips for loose-leash walking that are sure to make the experience more enjoyable for you both!
1. If your dawg is aggressive when meeting new friends, remember that punishment only makes this behavior worse. The dog is insecure because it fears something in her environment. If you punish her for reacting poorly every time you’re on a walk and encounter a new dog, the dog will begin to associate walks and meeting new dawgs with an anxious reaction. Instead, advocate for your dog– step off the path and ask your dog to stay in a sit while new dogs pass by or walk the other direction. Set her up for success and she will be much more likely to make you happy!
2. If your dog is pulling, stop moving! If you let him think that he is in charge, and that his pulling was effective in getting you to move, he’ll keep doing it. Instead, set the expectation that you will only move with the leash is loose– your furkid will catch on!
3. Start training indoors first. Again, set your pups up for success by eliminating distractions. As you see improvements, increase the level of outside stimulation and praise their successes.
4. Say thank you!! Throughout the walk, remind your dawg how much you appreciate her manners and efforts to walk properly. It will help keep your pups’ focus on you and make them feel proud to make you happy. Reward with treats whenever you see positive changes and/or there is slack in the line.
For more tips or to get set up with our trainer, please contact us or comment below. If you are interested in adopting any of our wonderful leash models, please visit our Adoptable Dawgs page!