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Are you a dog trainer or a mindless walker?

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A question from a client recently gave me a reminder! As a dog trainer I sometime forget that I do stuff with my dogs that I don’t tell you, at least not often enough! This is an example:

When I take my dogs for a walk, whether it is from home or in a new place, I start my walk with some training,  I warm my dog’s brain and body for exercise, in the same way you might have a warm up before working out or running! I only go further on the walk if the dog is responding well and giving me lots of attention. I start, on lead, with an exercise my dog enjoys and at an easy level, say sits and downs for treats, working my way through all the exercises close to, as my dog demonstrates he is ready to obey further from me, I have generally passed several distractions, like other people and dogs. Once off lead I continue training, maybe sits and downs now at a distance, stays at a distance, always doing a recall here and there to check my dog will come to me and I can get the lead on, should the need arise. As I proceed on the walk I will start ducking behind trees, my dog should be following. Are you getting the picture? I add more games in as the walk goes on, maybe a occassional retrieve (but in a fun way, not in that repetitive continuous throwing and lets just make the dog tired way), running away and any other games I can think of!

The entire walk is interactive, I never just go for a walk and hope my dog comes along, which in fairness is what most people do, hence the dog being 2 fields away from the owner jumping on you, a scenario we have all seen! If you want to walk, mindlessly, round the field, leave your dog at home. If you want a well-trained dog your pet needs and deserves your full attention!

This may come as bad news to some people, but honestly it is much more fun than a mindless walk with a dog you only see at the start and finish!

Thank you for the photo’s, please keep them coming!

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