Tips For Walking Your Dog Properly
20 March, 2012

If your dog is suddenly changing his way of walking alongside you on his or her leash and resorting to an old or undesired behavior, he or she might need a simple refresher course.  Sometimes your dog will start a different pattern that you have never seen before, so it is important to get right on it to modify the behavior.   

Below are some tips for walking your dog that should help you:

DON’T RUSH YOUR WALK

First, don’t rush your walk so that your dog is confused and probably frustrated.  You need the time to walk and train your dog. A rushed morning with a five minute walk is not enough time to instill effective training methods. An ideal walk should be anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes. It’s good for you, good for your dog and helps your bond.

USE A SHORT LEASH

Use a short leash or wrap the leash around your hand and wrist to prevent your dog from being able to walk ahead or cross in front of you to explore and sniff everything. This allows you to have more control and you can communicate your rules and limitations better.

Move the collar up the neck of your dog as this allows for better control. If the collar is lower and by the shoulders, your dog may not respond well to a tug on the leash or change in direction.  The higher up the leash, the easier it is to direct your dog effectively.

Always take the lead.

WALK IN FRONT OF YOUR DOG

Make sure to walk in front of your dog. This allows you to be the leader and control the direction and turns you both take. To help control the position, you should try to keep the leash short and hold your arm at your side or a little behind you to prevent your dog from speeding in front. This will take some practice. If your dog insists on charging in front, stop, ask him or her to sit, wait for her to make eye contact with you and relax, then start again. Your dog should be beside you or behind when you walk him or her.

REWARD FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR

If your dog does well on the walk, reward him or her afterwards to reinforce the good behavior. Allow your dog to sniff around, check things out, and relieve herself once she’s mastered walking with you and not leading you. After the walk, praise her, give her a treat or her breakfast.  Dogs behave better when they understand the idea of rewards based on actions.

CONTINUE TO LEAD YOUR DOG AFTER THE WALK

You should keep leading your dog after the walk, ask your dog to sit and stay before walking back into the house. At every street corner or opening of a door, ask your dog to sit and be patient. Have your dog sit while you take her leash off.

When you continue to reinforce commands on and off the walk, it will help your dog to remember the rules and who is in control.  With enough practice, your dog will automatically revert to the desired behavior.  You simply need to take more time in walking your dog and you both will reap the rewards.

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