There is a widespread belief that to have a dog it is necessary to have a lot of space and a garden at home. This gives the dog freedom and we will guarantee the quality of life that a dog deserves. This is only half true. Although it is true that having a large garden gives us certain advantages, such as being able to play with our dog in a controlled space or that the dog, if required, can do his business without dirtying the house, this space should never replace the time of the walk. Too many dogs live in large houses with land but can never go beyond the fences that surround them. This supposes an enormous impoverishment of the quality of life of our dog.
The daily walks are not something reserved exclusively for city dogs that do not have a garden and are their only opportunity to relieve themselves. They are the moments so that they can discover new smells, meet other dogs, run after the ball and, of course, relieve themselves. The walk is a necessity even for dogs that have a huge house with a large garden, just as it would be a necessity for us to leave our home even if we lived in a large mansion with all the luxuries at our disposal but with no option to cross the door.
Many owners have established a walking itinerary that, for some unknown reason, they do not want to give up under any circumstances and the day they have less time to walk their dog they seem anxious and annoyed every time the animal stops to sniff. The walk should be calm and relaxed. It is time for the dog to discover the world around him, not to complete a circuit. Therefore, the most appropriate thing is not to set a goal but to keep track of time and turn around when necessary. This way we make sure that the time our dog has spent walking has been of quality and has not generated stress that could possibly be taken back home and could cause conflicts.
Being able to run and sniff at will is one of the greatest pleasures for a dog. A fenced area for dogs, wild areas like a forest or open field, or some parks where dogs are allowed to go loose are a good place for our pet to enjoy in freedom. These are great times to play ball or frisbee or run with it and make sure it releases enough energy. In order to release our dogs from the leash, we will have had to teach the dog to always come to the order when we call him, in order to avoid them running away or accidents.
Since the walks are for your dog the great moment of the day, take advantage of it to make up for any deficiencies that it may have had during the week. If you haven't had time to play with him, take the ball and throw it to him. If you have been busy for several days dedicating only short walks, as soon as you can book a great walk for some area that you do not get used to walking and thus discover new and exciting smells. If you still have to brush their hair, take the brush with you and take the opportunity to remove excess hair on a park bench, so you will also save yourself from having to sweep the floor at home.
The walks are also a great opportunity to practice some orders with our pet. Thus, it will be important that you take prizes with which to congratulate them every time you do well. Reserve this moment for the second half of the walk, once the dog has been discovering smells for a while, has seen other dogs and has relieved himself. It is then a good time to ask him to sit down when we stop at a zebra crossing, for example. We can also practice calling in the park when it's loose, or ask it to be still while we walk away.
For many owners, walks are an obligation instead of a time to enjoy with our dog. It is something that is reflected in our attitude, that the dog perceives clearly and that does not benefit our relationship with him. The walk must be considered as an opportunity to have fun. If this does not happen we must analyse the problem in order to solve it. If walking with the dog is stressful because it pulls, you should aim to redirect it through training. If the walk is something boring, we can introduce variations such as looking for new parks to go to, take advantage of it to run or teach our dog a new trick. The walk can also be a moment of relaxation to disconnect from the routine of work or home and find a refuge for our minds. Walks are a commitment to keep, so see it in a positive way!
It is all too common to meet those people on the street who seem to be walking his pet. The dog is anxious, continually pulling on the leash and gasping excessively. And what about the owner? If he is not angry, he seems to look around for help.
This should not happen. A dog is to be enjoyed, and it is clear that in these cases the walk is being torture for both the owner and the dog that is continuously receiving tugs on the neck and developing an unnecessary level of stress. Taking into account that this is a routine that we must repeat 3-4 times a day, and up to 5 or more if it is a puppy to relieve itself because it is in the learning phase, it would be better to strive from the beginning to teach it to our dog to walk next to us.
There are many reasons why a dog might seem anxious during a stroll and pulls on the leash:
The technique is very simple although we will have to repeat it many times:
1. Congratulate the dog when it is by your side: You can congratulate with compliments, petting or edible prizes. Whatever it is, we must ensure that the dog understands it as something very positive.
2. Do not give in and stay firm when the dog reaches the end of the leash: We are going to let the dog go ahead and reach the end of the leash, at that moment the leash will tighten, we will put up resistance, and the dog will not be able to keep moving forward. This way you will learn what the belt limit is and you will not pull more than that distance.
3. Change direction when they pull: If they pull, it is because they want something, but we must teach them that it is not the way to get it. When they pull and reach the end of the strap, we simply will turn around and change the direction. We will call their name for them to know we have changed directions and they must follow.
4. Congratulate again when they are by your side: By changing the direction, we will have left the dog behind so that, even if it is to get ahead, it will come back to our height. When it reaches us, we must congratulate him.