Art of the Dog Walk.

The art of the dog walk–and what an art it is!  As anyone that has ever walked multiple dogs will tell you, it’s no easy feat, especially if you are hoping to not become the laughing stock of rush hour traffic (which is a rule I generally try to abide by).

Fortunately for me, I have pretty well behaved dogs with pretty good manners….most of the time.  That is, unless our arch nemesis Mr. Squirrel crosses our path.  But seriously, I really am fortunate that all three pups walk so well since I don’t have a yard to let them loose in.

Buddy does sometimes want to “lead the pack” and pulls a little too hard so I got him a gentle leader and I have to say, it was a great investment!  No, I am not lazy and didn’t want to train my dog properly.  I got Buddy when he was about a year or two old and no matter how much time I spend working with him (at this point it’s been about six years) I can’t break him of this habit.  So, for the sake of my sanity I eventually gave in and bought the gentle leader.

Of course, people see it and think it’s a muzzle and immediately ask, “Does he bite?!  Is he mean?!”.  I explain to them that he is very friendly and what they think is a muzzle actually does nothing to keep his mouth shut but instead helps me to have a little more control over him.  I mean, if I had a hold of you by your nose I could probably make you do what I wanted too.

I think I could write a 1,000 page novel on the crazy things people say to me while I’m walking them but I’ll save that for another day.  Back to the point: walking dogs.

Of course Tag is my little angel dog and walks like a dream.  Aside from the occasional pull Buddy usually walks pretty well too.  Maggie, with all her new found confidence, is all over the place though.  She likes to zip from side to side and sometimes over or under Buddy and Tag.  It’s hard to get angry because she is so clearly enjoying herself (I swear Buddy and Tag look at me, roll their eyes, and seem to say, “this crazy kid…”).  There are so many new exciting things for her to explore and the fact that she is no longer nervous is great but this is something that we need to address.  I don’t want her acting like she’s never been on a leash when she meets her forever family.

I have a little trick that I do with Maggie.  Since it’s hard to get her to focus with the other two dogs there every time she looks up at my I give her a little treat.  I want to encourage her to “check in” with me often so that it keeps her more focused.  I give her encouragement or gently correct her when she gets too excited.  It seems to be working and I can tell that she really is concerned with making sure that I am happy with her.  She gives me a little look like, “Hey mom, how am I doin?”  It’s pretty darn sweet.

Do you have any tricks that make dog walking easier?

4 thoughts on “Art of the Dog Walk.

  1. Chipley rescue dog Tang has serious anxiety when we walk. She is in obedience classes at Doggie Dayz and we are trying to socialize her, but I am afraid I am going to have to hire someone to come help us with her walks. I am pretty good at training, but this is beyond me. It seriously looks like an episode of the Dog Whisperer. Treats don’t even make a dent when she sees another dog…last night she even put the leash in her mouth, desperately trying to chew it off to get away. 😦

    • I feel your frustration, really. I had to practically drag Maggie behind me, tail between her legs, all slouched down, ears back, everything – until I started walking them as a group. When she could see that the other dogs were ok with things it visibly gave her confidence. Have you tried walking her with other dogs? You mentioned she is scared when she sees other ones but don’t you have other dogs in your home? It truly makes all the difference. I wish I had better advice! Hang in there, it will get better!

  2. A trainer I know swears by stopping walking when the dog pulls. She simply stops and waits until the pulling stops. I think you could try this, coupled with the treat, to see if it has an effect on Maggie. You’d have to be a patient person to pull this off!

    • I actually do that too! It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference though because as soon as I stop they all stop and stare at me, then go back to pulling when we start walking again. Basically it doesn’t phase them. I’ll have to start doing it more consistently and maybe it will start to make a difference. Thanks for the advice!

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