Everyone knows that dog walks are an important part of keeping your dog healthy and well exercised. I mean how else are you going to drain that boundless energy? And isn’t that part of the reason you got a dog in the first place? So naturally, like clockwork you’re hitting the pavement with your dog.
Here’s the rub. What kind of walks is your dog getting? Are they actually helping you drain that energy? What is your dog practicing on their walks? Is your dog enjoying them, or is there more a feeling of frantic overexcitement each time the leash goes on?
We can’t forget you either, are you having fun? Is it a mutual and bonding experience? Is it more of a “I can’t wait to get home so the pulling stops” situation. Or maybe “Holy crap there’s a lot of things for my dog to bark at today, I picked the wrong time to walk!”. Maybe you’ve just found that you’re not feeling any sort of connection with you when you go on a walk with your dog, it’s like you’re being dragged at the end of the leash and they couldn’t care less.
None of these things are what we want on our walks. Believe me, you dog doesn’t want them either, even though they might pull like they do. Our dogs are social creatures just like us; they want to bond and have a relationship with us in or out of the house!
It's a matter of how you do it
Everyone has been taught that dogs need walks, and it absolutely is true that dogs should be walked. However, who’s taught you what kind of walks your dog in particular needs? All dogs are not the same, and the style of walks that work for a Great Dane might not work for your Pomeranian. Where you walk, how you walk, how long the walk is, all of these factors determine how much your dog is actually getting out of the activity, and this in turn influences what kinds of things your dog will be doing at home!
Dogs who are very excitable and hyper who are exercised regularly but still have problems settling in the house, it’s very likely that these dogs are not getting the kind of walks that they need. Dogs who are nervous, reactive to every little thing and seem to always be on edge, these dogs too often suffer from the wrong types of walks or exercise. And don’t get me started on the pullers. These dogs may not have behavioral issues, but walks that they’re going on are teaching them to pull!!
All of these issues are very common in today’s dogs and I chalk it up to holes in owners knowledge. It’s totally not your fault. Foundation knowledge, like how to best walk your dog, is hardly mentioned to owners. Often times us trainers only get to see you and your dog AFTER a problem has blossomed into a raging monster issue. At which point we’re no longer talking about preventative measures, such as how to best structure your walks, because we’re rehabilitating your dog. Which could have been prevented with extra knowledge….I’m sure you see the catch 22 here.
My goals as a trainer are to educate owners like you who don’t quite have a clear picture of what to do and how to best do it. 95% of the behavioral issues in dogs that I see are preventable, and it’s always easier to prevent something than to fix it. At the same time we can help alleviate unwanted behaviors by giving you the right skills, tools, and knowledge.
Owning a dog shouldn’t feel like beating your head against the wall. It shouldn’t feel like a constant battle, conflict, or struggle. Believe it or not, some of this can come down to something as simple as how your daily walks with your dog go.