Walking The Dog…

When out walking your dog, if he is well behaved and complies with your every command, you can pat yourself on the back because you have a good dog and you’ve trained him well.

For a lot of people, however, that is not the case.

Walking their dog can be an unnerving or unpleasant experience because their dog does not behave as he should and causes a lot of problems for his owner. One of the more frustratingly annoying habits a dog can get into when walking is to pull or strain on the leash. Not just now and again, but continually for the duration of the walk. That is bad for the dog, as it can damage his throat (if a standard collar and leash or choke chain is used). It is also bad for the owner because it can sometimes feel that he is pulling your arm out of its socket!

Are there ways to stop this behaviour?

Of course. The earlier you stamp this out, the better.

The main reason your dog pulls on the leash and strains to get out in front is not his natural enthusiasm to get where he’s going as fast as he can! It’s based on his perception of authority over you and he sees himself as the highest ranking member of the pack of two who are our walking. Because of this, he sees his job as front runner, just as the leader of a pack of wolves would lead the pack on a hunt. His job is also to protect those underlings bringing up the rear – you!

When this has got to extremes, your dog could be aggressive to anyone (or any other dog) who approaches you while you are out walking. Strangely, as soon as you get to an open park where you can let him off the leash, his behaviour changes almost instantly to the fun-loving, playful dog that is his normal state!

There are several ways of putting a stop to this behaviour.

The first is to make certain that your dog does not see himself as higher rank than you. See my previous posts here to work on that.

Once you’ve got him demoted (and if the behaviour has been going on for a long time, it may take a long time to take effect), then there are some good walking techniques that you can use to put him in his place.

1. If you are using a choke chain, get rid of it. They are harmful to your dog and he will only rebel against it. Better to use a standard collar and leash, or better still a leader which leads from under the chin (Gentle Leader is the brand name).

2. When walking your dog, you must walk slightly ahead of him in the manner of getting yoru dog to “walk to heel”.

3. A good way of training your dog to walk behind you is to find a nice open space with no obstacles – an empty car park or open grassy field will do. Then start by walking in a circle (say about 10 feet or 3m diameter) with your dog placed on your outside, so that as you walk in a circle he has to walk faster than you to keep up. If he starts running, you run too (good exercise for you!) and stay ahead of him. Tighten the circle if he can get in front of you making it harder for him. Your dog will enjoy that game and if you aim to repeat it twice a day for as long as it takes, your dog will get the message that you go in front, not him!

Well, there’ll be more tips like this in future posts here in this blog, so call back soon!

Terry Didcott
Dogs Wish

PS: Alexa today: 1,804,871