How to Walk Fido and Talk at the Same Time
By Louise Louis
I don't mean talking like "good boy" or "go potty" but the body language
that lets your dog know you are in charge.
Most of the behavior problems owners encounter
are the result of owners letting their dogs take control.
This doesn't mean being a tyrant or using a formal "heel" process; it just
means being the leader of the pack.
Walking is one activity almost all of us do with our dogs, and one that can
reinforce our position as alpha dogs.
What do owners doi wrong?
Poor posture. People slouch, bend to look down at their dogs, fight with
the leash and generally look stressed out or impatient.
What should owners be doing?
Attach a leash to a body harness rather than a collar for walks.
Louise Louis doesn't like collars for walks because there's too much danger
of injuring a Toy breed's neck by pulling on the collar when walking.
She also doesn't like retractable leashes as they are too long to
maintain control and keep a dog safe on city streets. Some
cities are prohibiting them for the same reasons.
Her recommendation is a leather leash of 4 to 6-feet for city walks.
The leash handle or loop should be slipped over your left wrist.
This provides more control and decreases the chance that the
leash might slip from your hand.
Position the leash itself across the fingers of your right hand
so you can shorten or lengthen it as necessary.
Position your hands in front of you, just below your waist.
The majority of the leash should be between your right
hand and your dog. You only need about six-inches of leash
between your right and left hands.
Keep your head up and maintain a positive posture.
Unlike many trainers who believe a dog should not be
allowed to sniff, roll, and amble at everything they pass, Louise
Louis believes dogs should be allowed to act like a dog.
As long as he obeys your commands when you give them (come, sit,
leave it), she says to cut him some slack!
The only exception is for male dogs that are constantly lifting
their legs on everything in their path. Don't continually
stop for this.
You need to train your dog to relieve himself at the start
of the walk. His leg lifting has more to do with his trying
to mark his territory than to relieve this bladder.
If you remember nothing else from this, please keep in mind
the words of the late, great Barbara Woodhouse: head high,
Louise Louis is a certified canine specialist and
creator of the popular website on small dogs,
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