Saturday, January 15, 2011

Maybe I've been doing the walk wrong!

image from
Over the last couple weeks I've been walking Zeus, he's become more and more resistant to "the walk", especially since the snow when we can't give him easy roaming. We've also had to be very cautious on our walks not to let him sniff or nose areas other dogs have used, especially pooped, because his immune system is not yet up to snuff. This has led me to make our walks more "marches" than "fun explorations" together, and Zeus is beginning to resist having any tension on his leash out of habit. (he may want to go out and pee, but if I pull on the leash he will automatically plant his paws and resist)

So, what to do? I want walks to be fun and enjoyable for both of us while still enforcing that I am the pack leader. Today I decided to bring a crumbled dog treat with me and every time Zeus dug in his heels, I turned his attention to doing tricks (sit, down, up, etc.) and rewarded him with a treat for doing them. This distracted him from "resisting the walk" and we'd get another 50-100 feet before he remembered "no, I don't WANT to go where you want to go!" We repeated this pattern, going way past where we normally got without any need to drag him.

I did end up dragging him the last 50 feet or so because the end of the road had two houses with barking dogs that kept Zeus from focusing... but beyond that, the whole walk went without a "drag". YAY!

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