You’re out walking your dog and they’re off leash, if you were to just stop walking, stand still where you were, no prompting, no nagging, no calling your dog back to you, what would happen? Have you ever tried it? Where would your dog be?
Very quickly this is where my dogs would be:
This is because of our relationship. When we are out and about, we are exploring TOGETHER. I’m not just letting them burn some physical energy. We are exploring the world with each other.
This means that sometimes I will just stop, and it is my dogs’ job to check in and come back to me, without being asked. It may be I’m tying my show lace, or taking a photo of something, or I’ve just stopped to double check they’re paying attention to where I am. Now, the other important side to this is if they stop to sniff something, I wait for them. We are walking together, if I expect them to stop and wait for me, then I also have to play my part and show my involvement in our relationship and stop and wait for them
So often I see dogs that are let off leash and the owners have minimal control over their dog. Recently, I have seen dogs barging past their owners to get out of the car and running full pelt at other dogs, this dog is paying no attention to its human and is actually being rather rude to the other dog. There are other dogs that are just running from tree to tree, with their owner progressively walking faster and faster to try and keep their dog in sight. The best I’ve seen recently was an owner screaming their dogs name and the dog ignoring them, they then proceeded to count ‘1…’ dog still not listening ‘2…’ surprise, dog still not listening ‘3!’. Yea you guessed it; dog still wasn’t listening!! I’m not sure what the repercussions were meant to be for the human getting to 3 and the dog still not listening, the dog was a good 20 metres away.
Walking your dog is about having time to interact with your dog, it is the best time to build and strengthen your relationship. Change the way you walk your dog to suit your current relationship. If going to a park where there are other dogs, means they’re going to ignore you, then go somewhere quieter. Where you and your dog can work on their ability to focus on you, so they find spending time with you rewarding, and listen under distractions. Gradually build yourself up to the busy dog park and you and your dog will both enjoy your walks so much more.
If you need help getting your dog to focus more when you are out and about, then get in contact and I can help you.