Taking your dog on a walk is not only a great way for your dog and you to burn some energy (both physically and mentally), but it is also a great way to build a bond with your dog. However, the enjoyment of going on a walk with your dog can quickly be ruined if your dog is unruly on a leash or you don’t know how to walk him properly. Here are some tips to get the most out of your dog walking experience!
1) Never let your dog walk in front of you. Dogs are pack animals and every pack has a leader. In order for your dog to respect you as his owner, you have to show him that you are his leader. If you’re letting him walk in front of you during a walk, you’re telling your dog that HE is the leader and that he is in charge. Be sure that your dog is always walking directly beside you or behind you at all times.
2) Keep a steady pace. By keeping a quick and steady pace, you’re giving your dog a something to focus on. If she is busy keeping up a steady pace with you and focusing on her walk, it leaves little room for her to pay attention to things that my distract her and make her behave badly.
3) Don’t allow your dog to sniff and pee wherever she wants. Along the lines of tip #1, you need to be the pack leader for your dog. When you let your dog sniff and pee every bush, tree, pole and fire hydrant you pass, you’re telling your dog that she can do whatever she wants, when she wants. Make your dog walk close to you and stay focused for 15 minutes and then release her by saying “Okay” or “Go Potty” and give her time to check and send her pee-mail.
4) Don’t use a harness if your big dog is a puller. Why? Think about it logically. What do sled dogs use to pull a sled? A harness. What do working dogs wear to pull carts and other objects? A harness. Why do they use a harness? Because it allows the dog to use ALL of its body weight. So when you use a harness in an attempt at getting your dog to stop pulling, you’re essentially giving them more weight to use against you. There are some harnesses that are specifically designed to stop pulling but in our opinion, you’re better off with a walking aide that goes on there neck or a head halter. When using a collar or a walking aide on a dogs face or neck, you (the leader) have more control over where you want your dog to go because they have less strength in their neck. You’re at even more of an advantage if you use a head halter because where the head goes, the body follows. It uses the same idea as a horse harness and you’re able to gently guide your dog to walking appropriately. NOTE: The exception to this tip is if you have a dog that is under 25lbs. Their necks are so small that they can easily be damaged if they get pulled on. Be sure to use a harness for your little dog!