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Let's Talk Walks!

Updated: Dec 14, 2023



On a scale of 1-10 (1 being absolutely miserable)... How enjoyable is it to walk your dog?


Maddie wants you to know:


Walks don't have to be miserable!


Your life can be easier with your dog... in only 10 minutes a day!


Does your dog:

  • Pull on-leash?

  • Sniff EVERYTHING in sight?

  • Show reactivity?

  • Chase squirrels?

  • Lunge at other dogs walking?

  • Bark at people?

  • Display fearful behaviors?

Not a single one of these should be allowed.



Notice my "grip" on the leash? It's almost non-existent.


I'm not white- knuckling our walks, bracing myself, or reeling her in from 20ft leash with reactive behaviors.


My dog is expected to walk politely next to me, in a heel position, with no BS.

When I stop walking, she automatically sits, and waits.

Why? Because I trained her that way.


🤔 Is every walk this perfect? Hell no.


Some days we do far less walking and a lot more training, especially if Maddie decides it's a day for naughty behaviors... Hey, she's still a dog! 🤷


How do we make this happen??


 

The Basics


  • First, the leash:

It should be no longer than 4ft. Anything beyond that is asking for trouble. The longer the leash, the less control you have should a dangerous situation or need to retract your dog arrive. I have personally seen dogs bolt onto the street while walking their owners on a garbage retractable leash, or getting tangled around trees or other walkers... Trust me, your dog is walking the same distance as you whether is be a 4, 6 or 8 foot leash. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.


I slide the loop over my wrist and then grip the leash. This gives an extra layer of security for hanging on just in case she were to bolt.


  • -Second, behavior:

Wherever the nose goes, the body follows. Sniffing everything in sight promotes the following of scents, therefore more pulling. Your dog should not be strolling 40 feet into Betty's yard to poop in her flower bed. He should be walking beside you. Take him potty before your walk, therefore no reason to stop.


  • Third, it's not social hour:

We are not greeting every passerby. We are walking. I do very much appreciate when people ask to pet my dog, but often times I respectfully decline. This keeps our focus on the walk and not on distractions. And sometimes, I just don't feel like talking to people.


*We obviously want to consider the benefit of sniffing and exploring on walks (enrichment), but when your dog has behavioral concerns, we must work on strong focus and training beofer giving them free reign.


 

First Things First: Foundational Work


Make your dog sit and wait at ALL thresholds. Doors, kennel, etc.


Sound too simple? It's more complex than you may think. This type of training puts you in charge.


You are the leader.


❌ My dog is NOT allowed to charge through doorways or bolt out of her kennel. She knows this is not allowed and the door will be shut. No reward for rude behaviors!


Kick it up a notch with a sit-stay for ALL meals.


Maddie is expected to wait and keep eye contact with me while sitting by her food until I give her release word to go ahead and eat.


❌ She is NOT allowed to charge the dish.


❌ She is also not allowed to take treats in a rude manner.


Eye contact. Eye contact. Eye contact!


👀 Focus is on me.


I'm the leader, the rule maker, and the enforcer.


These daily exercises are quick and it is GREAT impulse control (enter prey drive). It is essential for this foundation to be in place to move forward with ALL other training work.


Hint: It helps to begin on-leash in the house.


This also translates into working through fear, rude behaviors, anxiety, leash pulling, and more.


Are you a rule maker?

Do you enforce those rules?

Or is your dog the one in charge?


It's not just about your dog knowing these commands/ words and responding when and if you have treats available. Enforcement of rules and boundaries is needed every day, for their entire life.


⏰ All it takes is 10 minutes a day.


Instead of leaving the house early to grab a Starbucks coffee on the way to work, spend those few extra minutes training, setting boundaries and working with your dog.


When you portray yourself as a leader, your dog will see you as one.


Result: less chaos, and a more enjoyable life (and walkies!) with your dog!


The more you control the components of a walk, the more you will control the walk.


After all, are you walking your dog?

Or, is your dog walking YOU?


 

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