Sunday, January 17, 2010

Problems on the Walk?

Many people don't take their dogs on as many walks as they should because they have issues keeping their dog under control. Whether it's pulling, lunging, or other problem behaviors, there's hope!

Here are The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan's tips for a successful walk:

Be aware of your energy and body language. Make sure you are communicating a message that says, 'I am the pack leader!' Keep your head up and your shoulders back. Think positive, and envision the walk going well. You might be surprised at the results.

Keep the leash short – but not tight. This simple tip can save you a lot of headache. Flexi-leashes and other longer leashes make it harder for you to communicate with your dog and easier for her to go wherever she wants. But, don't forget, it's also important to keep the leash loose. If you make a correction, it should be quick, and then the leash should be returned to the relaxed state.

Position the collar at the top of the neck. If you've ever seen sledding dogs, you'll notice that the harness is around the lower part of their neck, near the shoulders. Why? This is where their pulling power is located. You're actually helping your dog to pull you around if you have the collar placed there. Instead, position it on the upper neck, which is the most sensitive area.

Record the walk. Ask a friend or family member to help you film you and your dog on the walk. It may be easier to see your problem areas after the fact. What's your posture like? How do you react when your dog misbehaves? Are you putting tension on the leash? These are the types of things to look for while you watch. If you don't have access to a camera, ask a friend or family walk with you and then share what they noticed.

Enlist the help of balanced dogs. If your dog barks or lunges at other dogs that you pass on the walk, take time to do just that activity with another dog you trust. That way, you can practice remaining calm and correcting your dog. Then, when the situation arises when you're not expecting it, you'll feel better able to handle it, and that confidence will be communicated to your dog.

Practice! You and your dog won't get better if you don't go out there and do it! Celebrate every success along the way. Learn from the bad days, but don't dwell on them. And then one day, you'll find you've done it! You've mastered the walk!

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