So often dog owners want to know why they can’t get their dog to come every time he is called no matter what he happens to be doing or where. “He can be stubborn.” “He has a mind of his own.” “His breed is like that.” These are all reasons I’ve heard people use.
The other day I was working with a client whose dog had a ‘bad’ habit of pulling really hard on a leash to greet oncoming people. It is actually not an uncommon behavior problem that I get called upon to help with.
On that appointment, over the course of one hour with numerous short sessions, that same dog learned to stay at his owner’s side with a loose leash while I walked up to pet him. Much more work will be needed with different people in different settings but the learning process was begun.
Grass to sniff. A yard to run around. Dirt in which to dig. A human taking the leash means walk time! People who move around and give lots of attention. Ugh, what do all of these have in common? They get many tails wagging and they have the potential to be major sources of dog handler stress.
…but they don’t need to be your enemy. In fact the opportunity to do all of those things can actually be an asset to your teaching and strengthening of wanted behaviors.
I often talk about the benefits of feeding at least a portion of your dog’s food, through training and activities including dog food puzzle and chew toys. When we bring animals into our homes, we need to remember that enrichment is such an important piece of setting ourselves, our pets, and our relationship up for success. Providing our pets with opportunities to problem solve, exercise their minds and bodies, and use their senses allows them to expend energy they need to use in positive ways and also adds to their quality of life. If you don’t believe me, read my blog post about scientific research that demonstrated it.
When you share your home and your life with a dog, there are so many activities your will be doing together. One of those that is pretty much universal is walking together joined by a leash.
And one of the most common issues people have with their puppy and dog is walking with their dog or puppy on a leash, a loose leash that is.
I am a pretty consistent exerciser, working out about 5 to 6 times a week. There is such an emphasis with people to strengthen our core – the muscles of our abs, spine and supporting limbs. That strength decreases lower back pain and stress on the rest of our body, and helps us to have more upright posture and prevent injuries.