When you are on a walk - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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When you are on a walk

So when you are out walking just for pleasure do you have your dog heel or just let him wander? I don't mean like on a 50' lead or anything just sniffing the grass and bushes and stuff.
I have taken Darius on a few walks around the neighborhood and he likes to sniff stuff and not stay right on my side, he has not been to obedience class or anything yet so he hasn't been taught but I am just wondering how everybody does it.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:23 PM
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I read somewhere (don't remember where) that suggested to have the dog walk in a heel for the entire walk and then to "reward" a good walk with some added leash length/exploration time at the end. I have stuck to that so far for the most part, but since my dog is a pup, we stop about half way and play/sniff/potty and then continue on. So if we are walking, we are walking in a heel and I release him to explore. I hope that helps!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:34 PM
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I don't keep Cruz in a heel. I let him wonder a bit but stopping and sniffing is a no no. Stopping and sniffing every two feet I found can cause two problems. One, they din't want to stop and when they do it's on thier terms. I want the walk on my terms and does not include stopping and sniffing. I also think when you let them stop frequently, say a row of light poles or mailbox posts, they see the next one just ahead and may cause them to pull. They want to get to the next post or whatever as quick as possible and that usually means faster than you want to go. I've seen other dogs around do just that. Yank go go go stop. Yank go go go stop. All the way down the street.

But we do a heel at least part of the walk. I also use about a 20' lead when we go off onto trails, fields ect. I just let him enjoy zig zagging and we play alittle find it with some treats.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:47 PM
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I have my dogs heel. I don't let them sniff and have them keep their nose off the ground. They are only allowed to sniff when given the release command. Heeling is hard to teach and I make it a habit for them to always be next to me. It's my walk (technically I'm only walking because of them so really it's their walk ) and I like to have them focus on me then everything else around them
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I don't let him stop and sniff but I was letting him walk on the grass and sniff like tracking, he was continually moving. I just didn't want to be forcing him to be in a heel position and not let him enjoy going out and walking. Again, he has not learned "heel" yet but I have been keeping him on my left side and keeping him fairly close I just don't want to stifle his fun time and make him dread walks. I need to find some trails to take him on but haven't explored much with him yet as we are still getting used to eachother and he is still learning to trust me.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:38 AM
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I like a nice, gentle walk. We usually walk in a heel and his reward for being good for the 1/4 mile is to go on his 50' lead or off leash for a good run. I wouldn't say he has a tight heel, but it's a nice, loose leash and he doesn't investigate much.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:43 AM
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I think it's pretty non-debatable that dogs have more fun sniffing around and exploring rather than walking by our side. My opinion is that the more obedient and well mannered a dog is, the more freedom it should have.

I would start with loose leash walking and end at full voice control. The more reliable he becomes with commands and the more well mannered he is in the presence of stimuli, imo the more the dog should be rewarded with free time.

I will say that I always start and end my walk in a heel. Coming out for a walk the dog is already hyper, I don't want him thinking he can run around being a butt head. He has to start out in a nice calm heel before he is released to go sniff and pee on whatever he wants. Some walks/runs I never release him from the heel. It's whenever I feel like. A walk doesn't automatically mean play time.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:45 AM
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Unless we're specifically working on heelwork for part of a walk, which is rare, they aren't heeling. A loose 6' lead is fine, or if possible, they are off leash. They can sniff and do as they please, get recalled back into heel position for a stay if people come, or if they are leashed I ask for attention while walking by people, and they're expected to leave it when I say if they're hung up on sniffing an item.

Never had a problem. I don't think it's very enjoyable/fun for either of us to have my dog staring at my face an inch from my pant seam when we're out walking in nature. XD They're good dogs - they earned the right to sniff and explore just like I am.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 12:52 AM
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When we are walking for exercise I do both. If I'm on my own, I am walking two GSDs together but they will both heel together on command and free walk on command.

It is healthy for them to smell things along the way (gets their brain working).

I don't allow them to stop though when they like, however if they are really showing interest in an area I will let them have a good sniff.

if your GSD is eating and eating and eating and losing weight - please consider testing for EPI.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 10:52 PM
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Depends on where were walking. Down the sidewalk she's always in a heel, out in the mountains or on the greenbelt i let her run around And sniff things, shes never far from me, and if we see somebody she heels right away.
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