Tuesday, February 28, 2012
City Dog: On Walking a Dog in the City
Which is how it always works in the movies.
But then we have real life where the most minor thing like a walk can become unfathomable. Even the most well-behaved dogs can lose all focus the moment they get outside. For some dogs it's just so exciting to check out squirrels. Or maybe they really want to meet that other dog across the street. Or maybe they're just not used to this thing we call a leash. When I first adopted Miss M she would be so wonderful in the house, but then the moment we got outside there was so much going on she wouldn't listen to me. The worst part: she would even think the leash was a toy and she would keep grabbing the leash and to play tug. And guess who wins a tug contest with a 70lb excited dog?
live in the city, and most of us don't have backyards, we are forced to take our dogs out several times a day from the moment we get them. And this can honestly be a struggle with all the other dogs, squirrels, loud noises, and people that come with living in a city. At the same time, we really do enjoy our walks and we know how important it is for our dogs to get out, get exercised, and meet other people (and dogs!). Lately we've been getting questions about how our dogs walk nicely with us in the city We know all dogs are very different, and have different sensitivities, but here are some things that have worked for us.
Our Dogs Walk "With Me"
to walk like a jackrabbit.
We also loved hearing about SociaBulls members Willie and Nabi's amazing guest post (if you haven't read this before, you seriously need to see all the great advice they have) about just taking 'one step at a time' and 'not cheating' and 'checking in'.
Give your Dog a Job
really worked for Mr B was wearing his backpack. When he puts his backpack on, he realizes he has a job to do and he becomes more focused. When he carries things he also has to work harder, which makes the walks that much more beneficial, and leaves less room for jumping running and misbehaving. We always do make sure he's not carrying too much to be a strain, and that we balance each side of the bag. Added benefit: so many more people want to meet a pitbull wearing a cool backpack!
Choosing Training Gear Appropriate for your Dog
At the same time I do want to mention we have been getting disparaging comments from people making judgments about the gear dogs have been using in our photos.One thing we like about the community we have built here is that it’s owners sharing information with other owners to help us have positive relationships with our dogs and our community. While we all have preferences about training tools we use, we didn’t think it’s fair to make judgments about people’s choices of gear while not understanding their experiences. .We all know that long-term behavioral training takes time. Additionally, we do know that there can be damage from all types of walking gear. Even flat collars can cause severe neck and disk damage.
We have found this link from Bad Rap about proper fit and use of prong collars to be a useful source about prong collars.
And just be aware to properly secure whatever you may be using. We've know prong collars to open unexpectedly, clips on leashes to come loose, and dogs to slip out of collars.
Treat Every Walk as a Training Walk
and loves to perform, so I quickly learned one way to keep her interested is bring the treats and allow her to practice the tricks she's already good at on our walks. It started with 'sit' where I would randomly have her sit whenever I stopped. Then she automatically started sitting at every corner. We would randomly practice 'waving', 'finish' (walking around me in a circle) and 'down stays'. The extra mental stimulation is extra exhausting, plus imagine how many people you meet when your dog waves at them?
These are things that work for our dogs. And we also love this guest post from Maize about managing a leash reactive dog in the city, and Willie's guest post about walking two dogs at the same time.
What other things have seemed to work for everyone?