The walk is one of the foundations to creating well balanced happy dog that is a joy to be around. Most people don’t use the walk as a teaching tool to establish leadership. Well they do but the dog is the one establishing the rules. My rules for the walk are;
- Walk beside me
- No leash pulling
- No sniffing
- No marking
- Head up
- When we stop you sit
- When I tell you down you stay there until released
Rules for dogs need to be in stone. We cannot be wishy washy with the rules. Sometimes you leash pull sometimes you don’t, does not work. It does not compute in the dog’s brain. Dog’s love rules because they know what is exactly expected out of them and they can relax. Check out my video “the walk” and you will see my dogs totally relaxed and hanging out with me. Nothing rattles them because they know what to expect.
The most difficult part of the walk is walk with a loose leash. First of all loose the retractable leash. They teach dogs to pull. Loose the harness, harnesses teach dogs to pull. Get yourself a training collar and teach your dog not to pull. You do this by walking one directions and as soon as the dog gets in front of you change and go the opposite direction, giving the leash a little tug. This will teach the dog to pay attention to you. They cannot pay attention if they are out front and you are not in their peripheral vision. Once you teach the dog to pay attention you can start teaching heel. If the dog starts forging ahead tap tap tap with the leash to correct him/her back into position.
Once you have the dog walking next to you, teach the dog no sniffing, marking and head up. We don’t stop at odor we are on a mission to get to your destiny which maybe around the block and back to your house. Its easier to teach the walk at the beginning of your dog’s life rather than letting bad habit dictate the walk for months and then trying to change it. But you can change it. You just start enforcing the new rules. Dog’s are not dumb they will figure it out quite quickly. Within two days we teach dogs to walk in this manner. You just need to be persistent.
Every time you stop at an intersection tell your dog to sit. Each time you stop to talk to someone tell your dog to sit. Periodically during your walk stop and tell your dog to sit. Do this enough times and your dog will learn when you stop he/she sits. Sit will become automatic.
How to you teach your dog to down and stay. I am assuming your dog knows down. Work on the duration of the down. Have your dog on a leash and step on it when he/she down’s. This will prevent him/her form getting up. When your dog tries to get up and you are standing on the leash, close to his collar, say “down”. Once your dog will stay in a down for 5-10 minutes, back tie him/her and start walking away. If he gets up put him/her back in the down position. Your dog cannot move or follow you because you back tied him/her. Back tie is securing the leash to something like a fence so he cannot move away from the area you downed him/her in.
Teach your dog these rules for the walk and you will be on your way to a well behaved happy dog. We just got back from our walk. We walked to a local park and held a down/stay for an hour while the boys played in the park. It was very relaxing. Would you like a relaxing walk with your dog. Teach your dog the rules for the walk.