Taking your dog for a walk is meant to be a fun bonding experience for you and your furry one, especially when it’s a gorgeous day! Both of you can breathe some fresh air, enjoy some social time and establish who’s boss between you.
But what if you’re not in charge of your Lead?
Walking an unruly dog can be a nightmare – it doesn’t matter what size they are, all that matters is that being the owner, you can get yourself worked up and the whole outing becomes a chore. This is what I would call a negative reinforcement for both parties. You being the owner, don’t enjoy it and the walks get shorter and shorter. It’s a no win situation.
So how do you gain back control of your Lead?
It’s all about managing your mental and emotional (energy) state way before the walk begins. Being present is important even before you grab the lead or let them know it’s ‘walkies’.
Walking your dog is not about who’s stronger than who, it’s not about who’s smarter either. It’s all about who takes the Lead. If you’re not aware that you’re the leader, then your dog will certainly take the lead without a doubt. Taking the lead is simply about being present both mentally and emotionally. You’re taking charge of the situation. Your dog may (or may not) know this at home however stepping out into the world is a different environment. This is where it’s important for you to step up and take your Lead.
Mentally aware means that you’re calm, alert and know the route
Emotionally aware means you’re present, grounded and ready
Now that you’re ready, here are a few tips to get your dog ready.
1. Get yourself organised in your mind and put all other ‘to do’ lists aside for now
2. Bring your dog’s lead out, show it to them. If they get really excited, place it down on the table and wait till they calm down. This may take a few goes for them to get the message. If this happens, take a seat and lead with your energy.
In the Home
3. It’s important to have the Lead with the lead (leash) on them while in your home. Practice walking and teaching them NOT to pull inside the home.
4. By taking your Lead, it means that YOU always walk through the door first. If you doggie charges ahead, stop and pull back on the lead. Simply move your dog back so that they are behind you OR drop the lead and change your direction. Your furry friend will wonder what’s going on and will follow you.
5. As you take the Lead, by walking through all doorways and passageways first, your dog knows that you’re the Leader, so practice this inside the house by going through each room with the Lead on.
6. It’s good to check in and see that you’re relaxed and calm in your energy and state (body posture).
Then you will know that you’ve take your Lead naturally.
I know it’s easier said than done but practice makes purrfect!