Practice Makes Perfect

During our trip to visit my parents in Virginia last weekend, we were ‘forced’ to walk the dogs on-leash, as they live in a busy community neighborhood.

Look at that tired pup!

Look at that tired pup!

We look at our living arrangements as such a blessing… we live on a piece of property that is blissfully large and safe enough that we can walk and exercise the dogs off-leash most times. However, this trip brought us the realization that when you live in (or visit!) a place that requires you to walk your dogs on-leash, you are faced with a great opportunity to work on training each day. In some cases, the dogs in this circumstance may actually be receiving more exercise and interaction, than those who are just let out the door to a fenced in backyard, unsupervised.

walk2

During our walk, a little white dog ran out from one of the yards, across the street, and up to our dogs. The owner was calling her (“Cookie!”) but she was not interested! Thankfully, J jumped in front of the Jeep that was headed straight for her, and was able to grab her collar. We were so proud of our dogs for reacting quietly and politely, even as the little dog would bark in their faces and run away, only to repeat the process!

walk1

We really enjoyed the opportunity to share some focused training time together with our dogs, and were so impressed by how quickly they were able to refresh their polite leash-walking skills.

walk5

Tonka found a souvenir on our walk!

Do you walk your dog(s) on-leash on a regular basis? Is it out of necessity, or because you realize the importance of these skills? How would your dog handle a change in the routine, or an impolite dog disrupting their walk?

Are we the only weirdos that go to the gym while on vacation??

Are we the only weirdos that go to the gym while on vacation??

3 thoughts on “Practice Makes Perfect

  1. As you probably have seen on our blog, we recently did a 60 day challenge to walk our dogs each day. We have an (albeit small) backyard that allows the pups to do their dooty and romp around a bit. But we were finding some behavioral issues starting to pop up, and felt that we were also missing an integral bonding opportunity. So now, (almost) every morning we take the pooches out on a walk. It’s been a pretty big thing for Ed – we’ve seen a lot of progress but also a few new issues that we need to work on (hello, bicycles). For the majority of The Challenge, we’ve taken the same route — but I think we’re starting to see Ed take “ownership” on the streets, causing a few outbursts. I’m wondering if actually changing the routine up would be beneficial.

    As for disruptions, a few weeks ago we were out on our daily walk and were put in a similar situation as you — except we were across the street. Thank goodness it was a quiet street and there were no cars coming! The dogs did really well even though they were both trying to check out the little fluff-ball, but Edison didn’t make any gremlin noises! I was able to pull them along – but the dog followed us until its owner FINALLY stopped calling for him (which he was skillfully ignoring) and came and got him. I obviously couldn’t stop and take him home with an 80-pound dog I was worried might try to eat him…

  2. Regular basis? No…we only walk on leash a few times a month. Once in a while I am not up for taking them on a hike or play at the park so we just walk around the neighborhood. I always treat them as training walks, throw a handful of mini-treats in my pocket and work on stuff like heal, watch, sitting at curbs and waiting for permission on sniff or pee. And once in a while we go into town, out to eat or into stores which they are on leash for and we practice the same things.

    I took them on daily walks like this when they were younger so now they just get it and I don’t feel the need to keep doing them for training purposes. They could care less about off leash, reactive dogs, cats, etc. so not anything to work on that way! One thing we still need to master – if someone excitedly says hello to them, they’ll usually pull me towards them to say hi. I’d like to train them to watch me for a cue to say hello when this happens. I might set up some scenarios with friends to practice!

  3. Our dogs get walked regularly on leash, Bundy every day if not twice a day and dear old Maxi gets a short walk 4-5 times a week, off leash walking is only permitted in some areas at local parks and at the beach. There are dogs that are walked off leash but they either have better recall than we do or those dogs are extremely focused on their owners unlike our two black doggies who love to sniff and greet every human they see.

    Bundy isn’t bothered by noisy dogs in their yards and he is pretty laid back about meeting most dogs but I always check with owners before allowing a meet and greet. I did panic once when a large dog burst through a broken panel in the fence, he always growled and barked whenever we walked past so I quickly picked Bundy up but thankfully the dog was not interested once free of his yard. Maxi is not so good, she looks happy and friendly and then snaps at dogs who get in her face, some people seem to take offence when we don’t allow her to say hello but it just isn’t worth the risk.

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