I often receive compliments on how well my dog Luna walks on her lead which I’m very grateful for. Luna was not always well behaved when on walks, she would pull to the side to sniff and explore things that took her attention, as well as straining to go ahead when we moved towards open space where she’d go off lead.
This was when Luna was a puppy and I homed her at three and a half months of age, so her ventures outdoors were of course very minimal. My first point of reference was to work on creating a calmer experience with Luna before we leave the home, to take things slowly with patience and not rush the process. This would then make for a calmer beginning to the walk, and start as I meant to go on.
Here is where the first stage begins, to take into account how our dog is behaving during the preparation stage for going out, if the dog is excited then we need to lower the excitement levels. This means considering how we are in that moment, are we excited, nervous, anxious or maybe all of those feelings.
Be mindful not to judge yourself and allow awareness of what you are experiencing, be present and slow it all down to allow for calmness to arise.
Whatever your routine entails, take your time and see how your dog responds to your quietness of mind and energy. This will help you to begin the placing of lead & collar on your dog with the dog feeling that you are in control of your energy, and not joining in any over zealous behaviour.
If you need to at any point, stop and take a slow deep breath, pause the whole process and start again when you and your dog are ready. It helps to put time aside to practice, as when people are rushing to take the dog out, this also encourages the dog to rush and you’ll both be sharing the same experience of over excitement.
When I guide my clients through this there is no golden rule on how to do things, I work very instinctually as each dog & their owners are different, therefore I help them with their strengths and turn the points they need to improve into positives.
Enjoy the learning and you will be on your way to a greater experience of walking your dog, remember to practice diligently and with a positive mind so your dog feels safe and secure under your leadership.