Dogs are pack animals, an idea that is quickly forgotten with all the baby talk and ‘cutesy wootsy woo woo’ to Princess Queen of Fluffy. If anyone has seen Cesar Millan then you already have a strong idea of what this mentality is and how it affects the behavior of your dog. One of the key parts of having successful control of your dog is by controlling the walk. And as Chicago dog walkers, control is a huge issue. So to help you take control of your walks, here are some tips to take you from follower to leader, the role a dog owner is meant to be.
Use Short Leashes
This is huge as a city dog walker. Chicago sidewalks aren’t very big to begin with and letting your dog roam 20 feet ahead of you is entirely counterproductive. A shorter leash lets you have a greater control of your dog, and attaching the leash at the top of the neck is best to get messages through to your dog.
Once your show your dog a leash does it usually bolt for the door tail wagging, barking, whining or any of the previous? This is a bad time to leash your dog. A proper submissive mindset is a big deal! It’s like if you start your day on speed and caffeine: bad things are sure to follow. And for dog walkers, Chicago is a bad place to have an out of control dog!
After presenting the leash wait for your dog to calm down and relax before putting the leash on. Not that ‘I’m sitting now can you put the lease on so I can drag you to the door?’ waiting either. I mean full relaxed posture sitting or best yet, laying down beside you.
Control the Door
It’s amazing how a walk can fall apart before it even gets out the door! If your dog is charging down the steps and tugging you after the leash out the door you’ve already started wrong. You should always be the first one out the door. Make your dog wait patiently beside the door before you invite them outside. You are giving them the privilege to leave the house, your dog should have your permission!
Remember Who Is In Control
Consider when you have followed behind someone while talking or being lead somewhere. Have you ever noticed that you stop and move automatically by the actions of the person you’re following? That is the ‘submissive’ attitude. When you are being lead you follow, it’s just common sense. It’s the same with your dog.
So start leading! Make sure that you walk ahead of your dog. They will often instinctively follow their dog walker. Chicago doesn’t treat misbehaving dogs kindly no matter how cute they are, and proper leading will make your dog see you as pack leader and someone they should listen to. Your dog walking behind or beside you is ideal, but be sure to correct them if they start trying to dart ahead.
Calm assertiveness is crucial to becoming a leader figure to your dog, something that is necessary to have a calm and happy canine. Remember that consistency is a major point or proper dog training, so you must commit to these steps every time you walk your dog. And don’t be afraid to enlist some outside help if you have an out of control dog on your hands. A proper dog trainer is a small price to pay when an overly excited or aggressive dog could be put down and you could be sued in a dog bite case.
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