I have been talking a lot about ‘the walk’ recently. And as much as it should always be the last priority (building your bond is essential first, and that takes time), done properly it can add to the bonding process and can bring much joy to all parties.
The thing to remember is that simply cannot expect to get it all right without putting in the work beforehand.
I’m talking about ensuring you’ve taught the dog that you are the decision maker in all cases so that he/she doesn’t inadvertently believe it is their job to manage and protect you.
I’m also talking about practicing what you want from the dog in the early stages of your lives together, whether new pup, or senior rescue dog. Don’t be afraid to wait as long as is needed for the dog to learn you would like him to walk by your side (rather than pulling ahead) all around the house and garden. Learning that’s what you want when first stepping into the wide world with al the new sights, sounds and smells is just asking too much.
However, in this video
I’m focussing on making sure that I’m happy with the moments DIRECTLY BEFORE the walk. And only then moving onto actually walking. It’s true – yesterday, because Ludo did not come to me when I called him to put his collar on, I left the house only with Chili dog.
I hope you find the video useful. Remember that, Ludo has been with us 4 months at this stage and so we have done lots of this already. However, I decided last week that we would go back a couple of stages as I found Ludo pushing boundaries a little bit which was in turn having an impact on Chili’s behaviour. Although admittedly slightly disappointing (I’m only a human) it is fascinating for me as a Dog Listener to learn from them both as they adjust to the new group dynamics. It was clear to me that a little regroup and reminder was required!
Teaching dog behaviour is not always linear. They are not computer programmes… and nor am I. Today actually, as the movie finishes, my hip injury started playing up. I thought to myself “shall I just push on to the park as a reward for the dogs because they are walking so nicely?”. My answer to myself was, no, because if I end up in more pain, my ability to teach them the right things at the right time will diminish.
So the walk was short, but it was under control, we were all happy and Ludo had been given lots of chances to calmly learn.