(WD Walking Your Dog tip #1) Tips for Walking Your Dog

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Have you ever felt dismayed over the shrinking access for our canine companions? I know that to a large degree we’ve brought it on ourselves by our collective carelessness about proper public and leash-walking etiquette.

  • Remember that your dog’s leash is not a steering wheel or handle. It’s a safety belt, intended to prevent your dog from leaving. It’s not to be used to pull him around, nor should he drag you along behind him.
  • For left-side walking, start with your dog sitting by your left side. I suggest holding leash and clicker in your left hand (same side as the dog) and having a good supply of treats in your right hand.
  • For right-side walking, just switch all the equipment to opposite hands. Make sure there’s enough slack in the leash so it stays loose when your dog is in the reinforcement zone you’ve identified for polite walking.

For more information on how to reform a puller into a more pleasant walking companion purchase Whole Dog Journal’s Walking Your Dog eBook.

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WDJ's Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

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