Do you dream of peaceful walks with your dog, strolling through the neighbourhood and enjoying the scenery? Is your reality more of a disaster, with your dog chasing off after every distraction, nearly dislocating your arm from its socket every time a squirrel crosses your path? You're not alone, as many people put off walking their dog because it seems too difficult to control the excitable animal. Don't give up your dream; use these tips to learn how to walk your dog successfully, every time.
Dogs are pack animals, and if they don't have a clear leader to follow, they will try to step up and assume the role themselves. You must establish yourself as the leader in order to control your dog during walks, and you'll both enjoy the experience more.
Focus, focus, focus
If your dog isn't focusing on you, he won't be able to follow directions. If his attention starts to wander, give a low, guttural growl and flick the leash gently to let him know you need his focus. When he regards your demand for attention, praise him in a high pitched, friendly voice. You must be more interesting to your dog than anything else on the walk. This leadership must be demonstrated in the home as well or he will ignore your request for attention when you get outside.
Stick with it
It won't happen overnight, but if you stick with your daily walks, and remain consistent in your communication and leadership, it will eventually become second nature for you both. Once this happens, you can relax a little and enjoy the walk with your pet, rather than worry about inappropriate behaviour ruining the activity for you both. Of course, there will always be distractions to contend with, but with you as an effective leader, they will become less important for your pooch to react to.
Once you're used to being in control, try mixing up your pace, changing your route and switching directions frequently. This challenging level of activity is mentally stimulating for your pet, and lots of fun for you.
Don't dream of enjoying walks with your dog, just use these tips and you'll be living your dream in no time.