Let them sniff!
Who’s walk is it? Hopefully, you’ve answered “my dog’s”.
So how do you make it about them and is it ALWAYS about sniffs? Obviously, we all want our dogs to be polite walkers and that means there needs to be some structure, but how do you balance structure and sniffs?
For us, using a six foot lead is important so we can maintain control of the dog(s) we are walking, so they could, potentially, have the entire six feet of lead-way (see what I did there?). We never recommend using a lunge line or Flexi because neither offer much control if the dog is allowed to roam 10-25 feet ahead, plus the possibility of injury is high. Too much freedom and it's unsafe for the dog we are walking and other dogs walking in the same area. There's a difference between a walk purely for exercise and a walk purely for sniffing and tinkling so we try to balance our walks somewhere in between based on what each dog needs that day. For example, Mango, the senior Greyhound needs to sun herself, go potty, and get a minimal amount of walking so we focus on letting her do what she needs to do and no structure necessary, totally loose leash the entire way. When we walk Max, the Jack Russell, he starts off high energy and needs to speed walk or jog for the first 10-15 minutes and isn't focused on what his walker is up to. Once he receives that initial jog, he is able to settle a bit, keep a steady pace, and work on his loose leash walking + sniff breaks. His walks need to be more routine/structured so that he is able to do everything he needs to do. Both dogs are, not only having their physical exercise needs met, but also their brains exercised.
Sometimes, it's difficult to understand what our dogs need, so it's important that we listen to them. Huh? Like they talk? Actually, yes. Our dogs communicate with their eyes, ears, tails, body language, barks or whines, or by physically doing something. Some choose to teach their dogs things like ringing the potty bells or presenting the leash so they know when their dog needs to go out. My dogs aren't that sophisticated but one whines only when he has to go to the bathroom and the other paces. They've chosen things that get my immediate attention and I'm grateful. They leave no question. My only task was to figure those cues out and then listen to them when they request to go out. Observation and really getting to know my dog's tendencies + habits have been key for me to understand what Beans and Ryder are trying to tell me.
A lot of the time, common sense and knowing when a dog has had enough of something goes a long way. If a dog is only receiving training walks 7 days a week without any time for them to sniff their pee-mail, that's not balanced and that dog could be overworked. It's comparable to working only your upper body during your workouts versus upper one day, lower the next, etc. We believe that every walk can have a balance of a little training, some play, sniffing, and exercise. The amount of each is dependent on the individual dog.
Hopefully, how we walk our client's dogs has inspired you to try new things with your pup or strive to become a better listener, or even teach them how to ring potty bells. Need a trainer? Just shoot us a text or call 626-673-7978 and we'd be happy to schedule your FREE evaluation with first session. If you need a responsible, experienced, insured dog walker/pet caretaker, let's set up a meet and greet so you and your dog can get to know their new best friend.
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