Features March 2014 Issue

9 Expert Tips for Walking Your Own Dogs

1. No. Headphones. Ever. A walker’s attention should always be on the dog and the surroundings.

how to walk a dog

2. No talking on cell phones except in an emergency.

3. Practice makes perfect. Ask for (and reinforce) your dog for loose-leash walking, and polite sits at street corners and when you stop to talk to someone.

4. Use good equipment that is appropriate for your dog (for example, if not well trained, giant dogs probably need more than a flat collar – and retractable leashes are not considered safe, ever). Inspect the fit and condition of all your equipment frequently. Ensure that your dog wears a tag with current information.

5. Pay attention to your dog’s body language. Chances are she will alert you about anything amiss on the street or trail long before you become aware of it. Whether that’s another dog walker approaching, a mountain biker flying down the trail toward you, or a mountain lion trailing you, an early warning can help you manage the situation – but if only you are paying attention.

6. Carry really good treats. Professionally trained walkers know that good training is built with top-shelf reinforcements.

7. Make sure your dog is healthy before starting any exercise program.

8. Do not let your dog run off-leash unless he has a reliable recall. (The only exception would be in a fenced dog park, during off-peak hours, so you could work on your dog’s recall!)

9. Manage your dog’s behavior! Don’t assume that it is okay for your dog to interact with every dog and every human you come across. Not only is it rude, but it can also trigger unexpected, and maybe unwanted, reactions.

Comments (9)

1. Always; keep your dog beside you not in front of you. Pack leaders walk in front. YOU are the pack leader.

2. Never; use an extendable/retractable leash. See #1.

Posted by: catmando | June 19, 2014 9:28 PM    Report this comment

Prong collars can be a very effective and safe walking tool. Its the only collar my dog walks well on and welcomes to be put on. All the gentle walk harnesses etc they run from because they are not comfortable. Harnesses are made for pulling not walking. I have two huskies mixes and when they see a harness they know its rollerblading time. Chokes by far are most dangerous to the neck and trachea.
A dog constantly pulling is not food for their neck either. Retractable leashes are only for some dog used in vet clinics, pet stores or on a normal walk. They are bulky and allows the So dangerous freedom if around songs and people. Use the right tool for the right dog.

Posted by: lolo | June 19, 2014 8:38 PM    Report this comment

I have a 4 yr old golden doodle and I have him on a prong collar only when we walk. The collar is not at all tight. He never pulls, he follows training commands while walking. He has never been corrected with a prong collar but he knows when he has it on we're going for a walk which means he walks on my left side with his shoulder next to my left knee. When I switch the leash from my right hand to my left it means time to smell everything he wants and mark anything possible. When I switch the leash back to my right hand it's back to serious walking. With the flat collar he pulls to the point that he is choking himself. The clink of the prong collar hitting the clip of the leash is all he needs to hear to have a calm walk.

Posted by: Nicks side kick | March 1, 2014 9:32 PM    Report this comment

i think a good retractable in a safe area increases a dogs normal function especially a hound that picks up scents......don't take the "dog" out of the dog.

Posted by: Unknown | February 23, 2014 11:04 AM    Report this comment

hey, they do NOT mean aversive and cruel equipment such as pinch or choke collars. Whole Dog Journal does NOT condone such things. They are talking about harnesses such as the best one on the market, the Freedom Harness with velvet strap that goes under the "arms". I personally would never use a face harness, most dogs hate them and most people put them on way too tight. The key is to show your dog how to walk nice on a leash, and then use the harness just in case he pulls (sees a bird, for example). The harnesses can clip in the front (no-pull) and on the back (just for normal well-behaved walking). I put an ID tag on the harness as well as the collar my dog wears. For tips on how to help your dog learn how to walk on leash, google "silky leash", which is a protocol developed by the now world renown Grisha Stewart, the developer of BAT 2.0 (a dog behavior modification protocol for aggressive and fearful dogs, which is a miracle unto itself and ALL 100% positive). Also check out empoweredanimals dot com.

Posted by: soberdog | February 22, 2014 4:34 PM    Report this comment

Know where you are going and what kind of obstacles and distractions to expect. Having a plan goes a long way to avoiding those things you really aren't ready to work on yet. Be prepared for those things you know you are likely to encounter along your route.

Posted by: Dog Lovers Digest | February 22, 2014 4:18 PM    Report this comment

I have to use a harness on my Britt. She pulls too hard (still in learning mode) and I don't want to strangle her with a leash attached to her collar.

Posted by: Karen D S | February 22, 2014 12:18 PM    Report this comment

Answering the other comment ...harnesses come in all sorts of shapes, also head halters.

Posted by: WENDY H | February 22, 2014 12:03 PM    Report this comment

"- Use good equipment that is appropriate for your dog (for example, if not well trained, giant dogs probably need more than a flat collar..."

Hmmmm, what would they have us use? Prong collars? Choke chains" Just wondering what options they mean.

Posted by: Sheila H | February 22, 2014 11:31 AM    Report this comment

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