Do you have to work before you get the opportunity to enjoy vacation? The answer is yes! We understand this concept and dogs understand this concept as well.
In nature, there would not be kibble in a dog’s bowl. Dogs are predator animals and must hunt or scavenge for what they consume. Or, they once did… in many parts of the world, dogs still live this way.
How do you think a dog that lives among other dogs would find food and water? They would walk together most of the day searching. Dogs that move as a pack are structured and the pack leader is in the front and is the leader. After all, someone has to make all the decisions. That my human friend, is your job!
We want to replicate this when we walk our dogs. Our dogs need to learn to travel with us, not walking ahead of us. Most dogs are walking their owners. They are out in front, paying no attention to the person on the other end of the leash, sniffing, urinating on every bush and mailbox around.
This is what I call an “art class walk”. Dogs need to have a “math class walk”. They need structure on their walks, with their owners being in charge. This means your dog should not be walking in front of you. Your dog’s shoulder should be at your knee. Their head should be up; they should be paying attention and be in touch with you. If you speed up, so should your dog. If you slow down, so should your dog.
You should be in control and your dog should be following you. Remember, decisions equal dominance and dominance equals the authority figure. Dogs should work first, just like us, and then they can enjoy sniffing and rolling around in stinky stuff!
Do you get to enjoy margaritas on the beach all day every day? No, you work hard to enjoy those times. Many people ask me if a dog enjoys this type of walk. My unequivocal answer is yes! Maybe not in the beginning as most of us resist change, but once a new habit is formed, they certainly enjoy the walk and very much look forward to it!
And by the way, “rules equal freedom”. The better behaved your dog, the more places they are going to visit. You will enjoy being in public with your dog once you master walking your dog, and not embarrassed by their behavior.
Are you ready for some more tips? Find them here.