Help, my dog takes me for walks!

Well! Prevention is better than cure, but with so many of you having adults or rescuing dogs with established habits, this can be a common problem.

First up, check your expectations. What does your ideal walk look like? Do you want a robot that marches beside you? Do you want a walking buddy where you’re both exercising and having fun? Do you want to romp and frolic and giggle together?

Then, assess your routine. Does your dog start to go nuts at the sight of the leash, when you’re putting your sneakers on, etc? Do what you can to break that routine and desensitise the meaning of the leash.

Find a good motivator. It has to be something that will keep your dog’s attention on you, or at least can get their attention, on the walk. The squeak of a toy, a really smelly bit of cheese, whatever works for your dog.

Use the above or another good motivator to reward when your dog walks where you want (at your knee, next to you with loose leash, whatever your ideal looks like). Put a word to this like “walk” or “heel” so you’re building a command to get this shape on demand. Timing is super important.

Be unpredictable. Change your route. Do sudden turns. Practice sit and drop in the street. Keep your dog guessing what will happen next so they’re paying attention.

And check your tool. What are you using to walk? You may have to change your tool to break existing associations and help give you more confidence. I can advise on various tools and how to use them, then work with you to phase them out if appropriate.

Have fun!! Call me, I can help.

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