You Had Me at Woof
By Ellen Epstein
Owning a dog walking company has many rewards, but I have also witnessed so many issues with the pups we care for that it makes us go hmmmmm. I always wonder why people would rather live with a difficult dog rather than do a little work which will yield great rewards.
The most common problems I see are simple basic training needs that were never addressed, like jumping, or PULLING, or not listening to commands at all. This can be annoying or dangerous for you and your dog. While volunteering at Wholistic Hound Academy I couldn’t believe the difference between the puppies whose owners were proactive and those who just let their puppies be cute. After one week of training, the happy puppies were eagerly trying to please their owners and were beginning to learn to be ‘good dogs’ forever.
It is so rewarding to bring up an attentive, calm and loving dog. Read on and see how easy it can be. Trust me, it will make your life, and your dog walker’s life a joy.
According to the AKC site in an article by Paisley Lunchick, RVT, here are some tips to start you out.
Loose Leash Training
In competition obedience training, “heel” means the dog is walking on your left side with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. Puppy training can be a little more relaxed with the goal being that they walk politely on a loose leash without pulling. Some trainers prefer to say “let’s go” or “forward” instead of “heel” when they train this easy way of walking together.
Whatever cue you choose, be consistent and always use the same word. Whether your puppy walks on your left side or your right side is completely up to you. But be consistent about where you want them, so they don’t get confused and learn to zig zag in front of you.
First, make sure your puppy is comfortable wearing a leash. Give your puppy treats as you put the leash on each time. Then, stand next to your puppy with the leash in a loose loop and give him several treats in a row for standing or sitting next to your leg. Take one step forward and encourage him to follow by giving another treat as he catches up.
Continue giving treats to your puppy at the level of your knee or hip as you walk forward. When he runs in front of you, simply turn the opposite direction, call him to you, and reward him in place. Then continue. Gradually begin giving treats further apart (from every step to every other step, every third step, and so on).
Eventually your dog will walk happily at your side whenever he’s on his leash. Allow your dog plenty of time to sniff and “smell the roses” on your walks. When they’ve had their sniffing time, give the cue “Let’s Go!” in a happy voice and reward them for coming back into position and walking with you.
Now you and your dog will have pleasant, easy walks and your dog walker will love you forever!
Ellen Epstein is Top Dog @ Bow Wow Meow Pet Care