Exercise is a fundamental, physical need in a dog’s life. It is just as important as food and water, and it is your responsibility as a dog owner to ensure your dog has sufficient exercise. Practically speaking, it is the main ingredient in the recipe for a happy, well-behaved dog! Here’s how to perfect the walk:
1. Decide on a realistic walking schedule that you can commit to. Shoot for 1-2 walks per day, at least 45 minutes each. You’ll need to work up to this level gradually if your dog is a puppy or a senior.
2. Your responsibility on the walk is to be the LEADER.
3. Assume a relaxed, calm, confident state of mind.
4. Make your body portray this state of mind by keeping your head up, shoulders back, and chest out.
5. AFTER you have completed these steps, it’s time to grab the leash.
6. Wait for your dog to be calm and relaxed, and then clip the leash on.
7. Wait for your dog to be calm and relaxed (sitting quietly).
8. Open the door but remain inside. Stand by your dog and wait for him to be calm again.
9. Walk through the door ahead of your dog, then cue your dog to follow you.
Now you’ve laid the ground work for an active, focused walk where you are in charge and your dog focuses on you. It will be an activity for your dog to pay attention to you and to learn to walk nicely by your side. Maintain this consistent mental and physical state while walking.
1. Use the leash to keep your dog at your side or behind you.
2. Remove the slack in the leash so that the dog cannot easily reach the ground to sniff.
3. Maintain a brisk pace to give yourself a great workout. For your dog this is a wonderful physical and mental workout.
4. Any time your dog tries to pull you, pull back. Insist that your dog remains at your side.
5. If your dog tries to pull to the side, back, or down, simply deny this request by tugging on the leash. Continue on the path you choose.
6. Keep your eyes up and look ahead. Choose a visual target in your path and head for it. Don’t let your dog influence your route.
7. Keep up a good pace for 30-45 minutes. Certainly feel free to take a break mid-walk to let your dog relieve himself. Just be sure you are choosing when and where to break. Resume the walk immediately afterward.
When you return home from your walk, maintain control all the way up to the door. Wait for your dog to sit in front of the door. Open it without passing through. When you’re ready, enter ahead of your dog, again insisting that he remains at your side or behind you. Once inside, wait for your dog to be calm and submissive. When this occurs, remove the leash.
Congratulations! You are well on your way to a healthy, happy, well-behaved dog!
Keep up the good work – daily!