Saturday, May 3, 2008

Walking The Dog

*ahem* In the literal sense, I mean. ;)

It's interesting how many different ways people walk their dog. Mouth has a big chow/retriever mix, and he just holds the leash firmly at his side a few inches above the leash, so she has no choice but to walk by his side. I've seen people let their dogs walk them. And I've seen people let their dogs walk in front of them, but while in control of their actions at the same time. My method of walking Theo is next to me in a "heel". I don't hold the leash tight and make him walk next to me, because to me this defeats part of the purpose of a walk. Walking Theo isn't just about exercise, it's also about teaching him proper manners when we're out of the house. Theo's job while we're walking is to walk next to me, but to also let the leash fall completely loose. If he walks ahead of me, the leash pulls tight and I stop walking. I wait until he sits down (which is now immediately after he realizes I've stopped), and then we press on again until the next time he pulls. This was a long, arduous process in the beginning, and I still have to do it often, but the benefits have already shown.

When I was in Reno my mom asked me to take the garbage can back in from the street. I decided to test Theo walking with me off-leash. Look ma, no leash! It's not a busy street, so I was confident I could control the situation enough to feel safe enough to attempt it. And he did great! The whole way walking out (my parents have a looooong driveway by the way) Theo stayed right by my side. He would have on the way back too, except he was scared by the sound of the trash can on the pavement, so he ran on ahead. Hehe. But it made me trust my training with him.

If I made Theo walk next to me by holding his leash tight, I wonder if he would have stayed by my side, or instead have seen it as an opportunity to finally be to run free. Training can seem so daunting and impossible while you're doing it, but when you see it pay off, it makes it all worth it.


The Senakams said...

Great job! This is probably one of the most important thing to train your dog and train them well!

Bryson still isn't 100% reliable on this one (I blame it on "inconsistencies" between the way me and my hubby train him), but in general he's OK, and it makes life so much easier (and much more enjoyable :>) when you can go shopping and all kinds fo places with them without being in a tugging war (we've been there and that was NO FUN at all!).

Keep up the good work!

Lynn said...

Augh, I need to work more with Lucy. I definitely need to work with her on walking. She's a puller occasionally, and hearing how you describe Theo sounds so nice!

JuLo said...

LOL! Theo in general is not that great. When it's just the two of us and there are no other distractions, he's perfect. But how often are there no distractions? Erm, never. Yeah. I definitely want to post more on this subject. Stay tuned. :)