Dog Training Tip: Walking Your Dog or Heel Thy Self?

Being dragged down the street by your dog on a daily basis, multiple times day, can become annoying to say the least!  Especially, when you’ve envisioned a brisk, refreshing morning strut with Starbucks-in-hand kind of walk with your new dog. I know, once the dopamine of love has worn off and puppy teenage-hood has set in your now energetic larger puppy, has learned to jump on people, chase squirrels and bark at on coming dogs! Now, your morning ritual has become walking and cursing while holding on to the leash and a poop bag in-hand!

So what’s “dog pulling” and being dragged down the street all about? Well, generally speaking the leash is not just to hang on to, it’s actually a tool in training.

If your dog pulls on walks, a great technique is to teach your dog to create eye contact with you, hence a bond will develop. You can achieve this by using treats or an additional technique is to create focus by using movement, voice inflection and a command. Let’s focus on the latter technique. Treats can work, but not always with all dogs especially while on walk! Besides, it’s best to vary all techniques when dog training. To change the rules of the walk, in a fun way, think of it as you’re driving the car on this walk, not your dog!

On your next daily stroll practice turning or pivoting in the opposite direction every once in a while. You see, dogs are pack animals and LOVE to play follow the leader. If you remember to think of it as a game and not discipline it will help you use a “happy voice” while changing directions. Remember, you can show love in many ways, not just treats! Keep your voice sweet as you say heel or let’s go, as you indicate the command with your movements, both will capture your pups attention.

 Changing directions suddenly helps alert your dog to a follow the leader game. The trigger of fun for your dog happens when you use your voice think of it as you would a gas pedal or steering wheel of the car. If you make it a fun game your pup will be looking up at you, rather than pulling. Occasionally stop, ask your pup to sit then praise and even give a treat. Your pup will become far more interested in your moves than she will about pulling.

Many people walk their dogs more for the intention a bathroom break than mere exercise. Sure, exercise is included but a distinction between the two activities is often not defined on the walk by the dog owner. Therefore the intention of a nice walk becomes a natural conflict. Best to initiate potty time by indicating the act with a word, like go potty, then go on your walk.

If you separate the concepts you’ll get a better result. You can also practice the concept of walking your dog in a “heel” command in the house, while on the leash, in order to accomplish the process without the distractions of the street. This exercise will help you succeed with getting the eye contact from you dog, hence you’ll get the bond you’re looking for on your walks.

Is Walking Your Dog Becoming A Drag? Tips For A Happy Walk.

Going for a walk with your dog can bring up a variety of feelings. Some people just silently acquiesce to an upper body work out. Others dread being dragged down the street, dreaming “daily” of the the fantasy of a peaceful, leisurely walk.

Is it your dog that’s pulling you or is this some kind of weird metaphor on life? Being dragged down the street can actually have more to do with you, than your dog. I know it sounds like a transfer of blame, but follow me on this one…

You have much more control of a happy outcome, than you think! If your dog is pulling you, it could have something to do with what kind of leash you own and your frame of mind. I know many of you are thinking, what the hell? Now, I need a PHD on what type of leash to get my dog, REALLY? Well, maybe not a PHD, but yes, the type of leash you walk your dog with and your frame of mind matters!

Here we go…

Paws For A Minute® Dog Owner Tip

1. Check to see what kind of car your driving. In other words, is your dog young, old, hyper, big or small. Then look at the type of leash you own.

2. Puppy’s and young energetic dogs are best walked with a flat nylon or leather (regular) 6 foot leash. You are simply water skiing and cursing as your dog pulls you down the street, if you own a retractable leash. and trying to train a young energetic dog all at the same time.

3. My Feng Shui with Fido™ philosophy on this topic is that the tighter you hold the leash, the more your dog is going to pull. Why? The tension on the leash creates a drive. Dogs love to play follow the leader. You need to lead, not pull back on the leash while chanting the word “No” or “stop pulling,” it doesn’t work. Try pivoting suddenly in a different direction while walking. Using a happy voice and your dog will follow. This change in direction helps your dog create a fun game with you as the driver.  It’s a great idea to practice this concept in your house, first, then hit the streets. Using this option along with occasionally asking your dog to sit, during your walk will break up the pattern of your walk. Viola, no pulling.

4. Retractable leashes are great for mellow pups and/or older dogs who have been around the block, once or twice. Get my drift? Trying to train your dog to walk next to you and at the same pace, is not going to happen with this type of leash. It’s great for allowing your dog to sniff, get busy and enjoy the scenery.