If you ask anyone about expectations or responsibilities of owning a dog, one of the first things you will hear is the importance of taking the dog for a walk. It is something we all expect to do with our dogs, and we have this image in our minds of strolling along with our dogs walking calmly at our sides. This image is so ingrained, that it isn’t even something we give much thought to-until it doesn’t happen. Then we are a little surprised, shocked, and frustrated that reality doesn’t match our fantasy - so much so that we may think our dog is broken!
Your dog isn’t broken and you are not a bad dog owner. We just don’t really think about what it is we are asking of our dogs. There is a vast difference between dogs and their people; people are visual, we follow pathways, sidewalks and roads. Dogs are olfactory and go where their nose takes them, zigzagging all over the place. People have two legs and only walk at a moderate pace, dogs have four legs and even if they are short legs they move much faster than ours.
Have you ever walked with someone that walks considerably slower than you? Was it hard to remember to slow your pace? Or did you just leave them in your dust?
It's hard to change natural behaviour and rhythms, and that is what we are asking our dogs to do.
The role arousal plays in your walking success
Different equipment options and their benefits and drawbacks
Different types of walks and what may work best for you and your dog
Leash handling skills
Practical skill development and application