Dog walking behavior - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Dog walking behavior

May not be in the right forum so if it needs to be moved, I get it.

As I observe dogs being walked past my house and throughout my city when I drive around I observe so many different types of behavior from dogs being walked. It prompts me to ask... What is the proper way to walk your dog on a leash that allows safety and enjoyment?

Some examples:

I see people who walk one large dog and one small dog. Neither dog is calm on their leash and the human is constantly fighting to keep the dogs by their side.

I see people who walk their dogs so tightly by their side that the dog appears to not even be aware of anything except their walk and putting one foot in front of the other.

I see people who walk their dogs and as soon as any slight distraction comes their way they snatch the dog up off of the ground and carry it past the distraction.

My opinions on these three examples:

The first scenario is terrible. Those are the people I dread driving by because I fear that one or both of the dogs is going to spaz out and yank the leash and wind up in front of my car before I even have time to realize what has happened. The dogs seem to be having a grand old time but the human has zero control of the situation. How does this even benefit the dogs physically?

The second scenario seems happy and peaceful but I have a theory that dogs NEED to acknowledge what they are facing on their daily walks in order to be properly adjusted. I don't see what enjoyment the dog gets out of the walk when he/she isn't getting to explore anything. I know you don't want your dog stopping to check out every little thing along the way, but are they really having fun if they just march along and never get to stop and see anything?

The third scenario kind of ticks me off. Perhaps I'm too touchy but I feel if you are snatching up your dog at every little situation you are teaching the dog to be fearful and wary of everything. I'm not just talking about picking up the dog because another dog is barking. I've seen people snatch up their dog and carry it past other people, even if they are across the street and heading in the opposite direction. I see them do this when my neighbors dog is barking from inside the house... across the street with the windows and doors closed.

I don't take my dogs for walks around the neighborhood. I have a very large yard and they are trained (after a LOT of work with Gunther) that past the yard is off limits. They get plenty of exercise in the yard and we take them to special places when we want to give them the treat of long walks. Neither dog on their treat walk walks along drill like without seeing and exploring their environment. Neither dog pulls on the leash to get at anything. Both dogs walk past anything I don't want them to encounter by me simply continuing to walk, calling them, and a gentle tug on the leash. Yes we encounter wildlife, people, dogs, all the things you encounter in a neighborhood.

I don't believe to be better or have better methods or to have better trained dogs. I'm simply curious, is there a proper way a dog should be walked in a neighborhood or city that ensures both safety and enjoyment on the walk? I may have to resort to walking the dogs on a leash in a neighborhood one day so if there is a training method I'm interested.

Hail Gunther 7-2-2013

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 12:22 PM
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I agree with you, I have been working really hard with Wick so that we can go on walks where he gets to explore as much as he wants, unless I say "leave it" which for us means "nope you don't get to explore that, move on to the next interesting thing" it has worked really well and it helps us both enjoy the walks.

Like you, I don't like it when I see people whose dogs are just yanking them along or the opposite where the dog isn't allowed to check ANYTHING out (because what's the point of the walk then?!?) but that's just my personal opinion and it doesn't mean it's right. I'll be honest though I understand why they give up, it was exhausting teaching Wick to walk on a loose leash, but totally worth it! Now if I could get him to walk past a dog closer than 10 feet without trying to play with it we would be golden
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 12:43 PM
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Second scenario seems just fine to me, especially if you have a reactive dog. Having a dog stay in the slot, loose leash and paying attention to where I am going keeps the dog more focused on me and less apt to loose it's crap when another dog passes in my case..scenario two is best at this stage. I also believe a dog in a tighter heel position allows handler and dog to move as one...with the handler deciding where the two go. It is "my" walk when we are in this configuration not the dog's. Once we get to certain areas, I let the dog have full lead and she can follow her nose/explore/whatever....I've never viewed the "walk" as exercise for the dog, more a simple process to get from one point to another where the fun and exercise can begin. I suppose there are times when we are headed back towards home where she can have full lead as long as it is loose.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 12:46 PM
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Bear is 14 weeks, so I'm still doing some training with him. But I allow him to walk wherever as long as it does not involve switching sides and trying to trip me, and obviously no pulling. He can stop for the length of time in which it takes for the leash to get tight, and he continues no problem. No, we're not stopping to smell that brick for 5 minutes, I have other things to do today. Hes pretty good at walking by people now, he pulls and stuff but a couple tugs and "Bear lets go" usually works just fine. Dogs.. not going as well.. but has improved.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 12:47 PM
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Sometimes hubby and I walk all three dogs in town.They all walk at different speeds and are interested in different things to sniff so we do a lot of starting and stopping.When we walk along the little downtown area they are close to our sides.I want us all to enjoy our walk.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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See and that's the thing... All of this is observed in town. Perhaps all three of these scenarios play out completely differently when the owner is walking their dogs in a more relaxed environment. I feel that the town needs to have a dog park IN town that people can walk their dogs to. They set up doggy shower stations (which I think are a terrible idea by the way) so why not accommodate the in town people who can't drive their dogs to the dog park outside of town? I wouldn't use it personally, I don't use doggy parks anywhere. But for the many people who have small yards, only one vehicle per working household, and other situations I think they should have places where you can walk your dog to in town to go play.

Hail Gunther 7-2-2013

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 01:17 PM
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Bruno and I have a 2 part walk. The first part is right along side me and we're working on loose leash. He can stop and smell stuff for the length of time it takes for the lead to get tight then it's time to move on. If he does well on the first part, then we'll go around the block again and I'll let him explore stuff. The minute he starts being an idiot, the walk is over and we go home. That seems to be working the best for Bruno and I. He's catching on that the better he acts, the longer and more fun the walk is.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 01:23 PM
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Shirl, as you know we live in the country, and I would say 95% of our walk is loose leash, sniff and hurry. There is no tugging. If he does tug, for the next bit its strict heel..

I had him on Yonge Street Toronto, strict heel, left side, had no problems.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 02:19 PM
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I guess it all depends on what the purpose of the walk is to you? A walk is exercise and exposure to me. It's not for "fun". So no, I don't dawdle and let my dog sniffy sniff everything or really anything he wants. I expect my dogs to be walking loosely on leash at the pace I walk. I don't need a "fuss". My dog can be a bit in front of me or behind me. As long as the leash is loose.

If they have been good or I feel like it, I sto and let them sniff. Or we play on an open field.

Hiking is a different story. But my pups are generally off leash when hiking. I still expect them to be in tune with me and the pace I am going at.

But in a city or town. It's going to be controlled pretty heavily.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2015, 02:51 PM
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To me, walking the dog, is not just exercise for the dog (and let's face it, JUST walking is NOT enough exercise for a GSD LOL) ... it's mental stimulation.

When I walk with Ky, it's loose leash, in a "loose" heel but she's with me ... no sniffing, no stopping, we are walking. And I walk fast. 98% of this walk is for MY benefit as well - it's my exercise, my walk, I'm not dawdling. And I walk an hour every morning, and 1.5 hours every evening with her.

I do however stop at some random spots and let her sniff, see if she has to potty, etc.

These walks do not make up all her "exercise time either" There's lots more stuff being done, besides these two walks.

The first and third scenario - drive me insane. I used to be a lot more polite and patient and willing to work with other people "like that". NOW? I just avoid them like the plague ... I see something that is walking their dog and they have zero control, or aren't paying attention ... If I can cross the street, I will. If I can't (I.e. on a bike path and they are coming my way, I'll walk into the trees and just wait.)

I have learned that sometimes you simply can't fix stupid, and I don't even bother trying.

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