A Calm and Great Walk Does Not Start Crazy
I was in Okeechobee last week installing a new Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® System for a client and his Labradoodle, Sasha. The installation went pretty smoothly because he didn’t have a log of bushes, paved walkways and other hardscape to transverse. I got the entire project finished in less than two days. We trained Sasha to stay near the house and away from the perimeter. She learned very quickly and things were great. My client was very happy with the system and the results of the initial training. As we were finishing up, he had a dog training question about walking Sasha. The bottom line was that she would always go crazy when she saw the leash and remain crazy for the entire walk.
Bad dog walking issues is one of the most common complaints from dog owners about their dogs. The owner normally puts up with it and lets their dog pull them down the street and after every squirrel, duck, car, or neighbor that comes along. Most of the time, the dog’s inappropriate behavior starts before the walk. This was the exact scenario that my client described to me.
The secret to good dog walking begins before the walk even begins. It begins in preparing for the walk and having the dog understand that he must be well behaved and observant of the owner as they start the walk. If you can remember, our parents did the same thing to us as we were going to our grandparent’s house for a visit. As we were in the car and before we even arrived at our grandparent’s home, our parents told us that we needed to behave and obey the adults. They didn’t even let us out of the car until we were calm. The same is true with our dog.
To have a calm walk, your dog must be calm and focused on you. This starts in the house as you are attaching his leash. If he is always crazy when he sees the leash, your first task is to correct that. Click the leash on at different times and then don’t go for a walk. Drop the leash after you attach it. Sit down and watch TV or go into your office to work. Your dog will quickly understand that the leash doesn’t mean “walk” and his inappropriate, adrenalized state caused by the anticipation of a walk will decrease and finally disappear.
I told my client that once he could click the leash on Sasha without her going nuts, he was to walk her around the house for a moment or two with her right next to him. This will allow him to determine if she was giving him focus and not being readrenalized by the walk and leash.
If Sasha started to go nuts, he should drop the leash and ignore her for a few minutes. He should then repeat the process of picking up the leash and calmly walking her around. He should not proceed until he could do this.
Oh, by the way, I also gave him a very important tip on picking up the leash. In the scenario I mentioned above, Sasha was walking around with the leash dragging on the ground and he needed to pick it up. He should not go directly over to her, bend down, and pick up the leash. His body language in performing these physical acts could indicate “play” to Sasha and she would become adrenalized.
He should “stay tall” and calmly walk over to the end of the leash. This is approximately six feet away from Sasha and does not require that he approach her directly. Now, he should step on the leash. At this point, he has contained her and can calmly stoop down and grab the end of the leash in his hand.
Now, with that said, we are at the point where my client and Sasha are calmly walking around the house on a leash. They are now ready to start the walk.
My client should calmly move towards the door and open it. He should now make Sasha sit in a position in front of the door where she can clearly see the outside. She needs to calmly sit there for about fifteen to thirty seconds.
Now, my client should calmly step out the front door while facing Sasha. He should never turn his back to her. If Sasha starts to move, he should step back inside and have her sit again. Once he is successfully on the other side of the stoop and Sasha is still calmly sitting just inside the door, he can invite her outside.
Sasha should calmly step outside and he needs to immediately put her in a sit again. He should have Sasha sit at a spot where she can see more of the outside (street, neighbors, etc). He should observe Sasha to make sure she is still calm. He should call Sasha’s name several times to make sure she will look up at him. This assures he can easily regain her focus.
While they are doing this, his job is to look up and down the street to make sure if it is an appropriate time to start a walk. If the garbage truck is turning the corner or the school bus just let out all the neighbor kids, he might want to wait until the neighborhood isn’t quite so crazy.
When the neighborhood is calm and Sasha is calm, they can now start the walk.
It is far easier to maintain a calm situation than to try to defuse a crazy one. The great news is that it isn’t hard at all. Have all your dog questions answered buy going to Dog Fence Training Help Okeechobee South Florida. You can also call us at (954) 472-4724. There is much more data about Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and general dog behavior training at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Okeechobee South Florida. We are pleased to have been your South Florida dog experts for over twelve years in Okeechobee and all of South Florida. Our programs really work in keeping your dog secure and on your property. We have trained nearly 4,000 dogs to be great and loving pets. You can find out more about our Dog Obedience and Behavior Programs by going to Home Dog Training Okeechobee South Florida.