If you want a good dog walking, or even a good puppy dog walking, experience, manners should start before you leave the house. Usually the excitement of your puppy walking or dog walking starts with the sight of the dog leash. With some puppies and dogs this signals a great time is going to be had by all – or at least your canine companion. You, on the other hand, may only have visions of your puppy or your dog pulling you down the street instead of your dog walking nicely by your side. So what do you do?
Let’s start with calm control in the house as you attempt to simply get the dog leash on your dog. Here are three things you can do to begin calming your dog:
Teach your dog to “Sit!” for everything – affection, dinner/breakfast, potty breaks in the back yard, toys, etc. If you get your dog in this mode, then sitting to put the dog leash on for walking becomes much more manageable. Often times it is recommended to have new pups or dogs drag their leash while in the house (only when you are around to supervise) to aid in preventing jumping on you, other family members and the furniture. Consistent use of your dog’s leash in this manner with not only give you a better mannered dog but aid in providing the calm you need before the walk.
As you approach your dog with the leash, ask for a calm “Sit!” and if you do not get it, put the dog leash up and resume other activities. Repeat this exercise as much as possible until you get a calm sit.
And, to help in desensitizing your dog to your just “picking up the leash” simply pick the leash up frequently during the day or evening, handle it and then put it back in place – never paying your dog any mind. With consistency and repetition, this time proven exercise works every time.
Once you are outside, there’s more work. Usually easy dog walking can be achieved by using equipment designed to prevent pulling. Premier Pet Products makes a no pull harness for dogs called an “Easy Walk Harness” where the dog leash attaches in the front of the dog to maximize your control. Any other kind of dog harness may not work nearly as well. Premier also makes the Gentle Leader designed to control the dog’s head much like a halter for a horse. Using these tools will most likely put you on the road to an easy and enjoyable walk with your dog in no time.
Does your dog whine? Irritating isn’t it. But before you loose your patience, you need to make an evaluation of why your dog is whining. Is there something wrong? Does he need something like– to go out to the bathroom? Or, is he demanding something, like your attention?
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are with the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”