Thursday, July 22, 2010
Exercise Your Dog Before Leash Walking.......WHAT????
We all want to enjoy a nice leasurely walk with our dog, right? Well thats not always how things play out. You get up in the morning, throw on your walking shoes, grab the collar and leash, and head out for a walk. The only problem is your 4 legged friend is so charged up it ends up being more of a drag around the neighborhood, barking, leaping, sniffing, you get the picture. Then as if you're not frustrated enough, you ask me, the dog trainer, how to make Fido walk 'nicer' on leash. My response is "have you tried exercising your dog before you walk him". It sounds like a crazy idea, isn't the walk exercise?
Some dogs, especially young puppies or high energy dogs benefit from 10-15 minutes of off leash play in the yard before being leashed up and taken on a walk. A short game of fetch or just romping around the yard can help burn off some steam and make walking on leash a much more reasonable request.
I often encourage students to exercise their dogs before coming to a group class or working on leash walking. This does not mean run your puppy or dog into the ground, it means 10-15 minutes of off leash romping in a safe contained area. If you don't have a fenced yard then let them play with a food dispensing toy indoors for 10 minutes, the brain power required to work the toy is good exercise too.
So next time you want to take your dog on a relaxing walk, exercise them first :)