Go for a walk down the leash and collar aisle at the local pet supply retailer…
…and what do you see? Besides a mind-boggling array of leashes and flat collars, now there are dozens of harnesses, halters, and special collar “devices” to transform your Iditarod-worthy canine into a doggie dreamboat!
Did they put something in the water? What’s happening?
Taking a dog for a walk can be difficult for some pet owners. It’s common to have difficulties with excessive pulling, barking, or lunging. We can’t seem to make the connection we need to make it a real “team activity”. Are dogs somehow different today? (…something in the water?) Or, are our expectations different– (and when did that happen?)
It’s a combination of factors…
How often do you walk your dog? You might need to “practice” more! Dog parks, doggie daycare…they’re popular “activities” for your dog, but they’re not substitutes for a walk. Please don’t think of a walk as a luxury, it’s a necessity! There’s both a physical and a mental component. The less often you walk together; the more pent-up energy your dog has, with fewer opportunities to practice getting better at it! You can’t improve, if you don’t show up.
Take another look at your equipment. For example, if you’re using a retractable leash, try a regular leash. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it–the dog most likely to walk close to their owner would behave best on a retractable–negating the need for it in the first place! Often, the way we grip or hold the leash triggers an Oppositional Reflex your dog can’t control! If this sounds odd to you, maybe you and your dog could use some coaching.
If you feel less important to your dog when you’re out for a walk, try to figure out why. You can compete with outdoor ‘distractions’, if you know how to prepare for them!
Suspect true on-leash “reactivity”?
Look for a professional trainer to help you strengthen the communication between you!
Need help? Contact me:
I’m located in Novi, Michigan and serve the surrounding areas in Oakland County, including Novi, Farmington Hills, Farmington, Walled Lake, Commerce Township, Wixom, West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. Northwest Wayne County-Northville, Livonia, Canton, Plymouth areas