The Walk

The Walk     

10 Salient points to remember for a successful walk.

1. Dogs must always be calm in the house but especially before a walk! Get ready, put on your walking shoes, attach the leash, and wait for calm. Wait for the dog/s to relax or even lie down. Sitting down yourself and reading something soon gets them to settle down.

2. Start a walk in the house, moving around furniture, but making sure to be walking in front of the dog. Block him/her with your hips and legs from pushing in front of you.

3. Lead the dog to the door and let him sit. Prevent him from going out first by shutting the door when he tries to go out. Wait until the dog stops trying to go first before you lead the way.

4. In the yard walk in front of the dog just as you did in the house. Use the walls, fence or a parked car as obstructions to force him to walk behind you.

5. At the gate the dog/s must wait to let you go first.

6. On the sidewalk ensure that they sit while you check that the road is clear. You can decide to go in and out again to practice this routine occasionally.

7. Start with an SSCD (Start Stop Change Direction) training exercise. Do not walk more than 5 or 6 steps before stopping. Do not help the dog to stop when you stop. By changing direction you are always in front. The dog must learn to watch your body. When you stop the dog must stop. Repeat until the dog stops whenever you stop.

8. Start a short walk in the middle of the road because there are no scents to distract the dog/s. Never walk near the sidewalk because the dogs will pull sideways to sniff for messages left by other dogs or animals.

9. Follow the same procedures when returning home by entering first through gates and doors while the dog is still on leash.  Only when off leash can the dog/s go in or out the door first.

10. The dog must always walk next to you or slightly behind you. Walk with confidence – head up- and step out. Walk at the dog’s speed to help prevent them from pulling ahead.

NB The leash means “follow me-I’m the leader”. The dog must build an association that when on leash my handler is always in front of me.

NB On the walk, if the dog/s bark at people, bicycles or other dogs, stop, change direction and show leadership by leading them away.

NB Start with short walks. Don’t have a destination in mind that you want to reach. Think of the walk as “spending time” with your dog.

NB Avoid walking the same route every time where your dogs know that four doors away dogs are waiting to bark at you, and your dogs are straining to go straight there and bark at them. This is how you teach your dog to become aggressive.

NB When walking with many dogs train the dominant pack leader the walk routine first before adding a dog on his/her outside or on your right side. Follow the same route and procedure for a while so that the dog/s can get used to it before going to new places.

NB If you dread the walk or do not feel well, “Don’t go!” Dogs will also dread the walk because they can sense your feelings.

Read: Walking your dog and walking many dogs