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Discussion Starter #1
I have managed to train my dog to walk right next to me when on leash walks but he is usually sniffing the ground or looking for mailboxes and polls to sniff and pee if he smells another dog smell.

Should i continue to let him do this or should i make him focus on me when we are on walks. Also i am not sure if i should let him keep marking spots because sometimes when we are on walk he will stop and pee 5-6 times which can be annoying.

Do you guys let your dogs sniff the ground as you are walking them... i noticed some dogs just calmly walk next to their owners without doing all the sniffing but i am not sure if that is being fair to the dog as i know they love to sniff.
 

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how about I say "both"? walking with solid focus at all times can be a bit boring for dogs. Especially if you are going for a long walk. How long can you make it focusing on nothing but your dog as you are walking?

Instead, I ask for focused heeling for portions of the walk, when we are approaching traffic, along the highway or passing a house where I know there is a problem dog or other distraction. Other times, I simply ask for loose leash walking and we keep a brisk pace but he isn't focused on me and we don't stop to sniff. Then we have portions where I release him and he is allowed to sniff, potty, and we walk slowly giving time to take in all the smells and sights.
 

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Yes. When we are just walking, he is allowed to experience his environment. If I want his attention then I ask for it. If he's sniffing and I want to keep moving, I tell him 'let's go'.

if we are training, he better not be doing anything other than the command I've given him.
 

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Both. We usually let Jack sniff if it's just an idle walk around the neighborhood. These are done almost for the sole purpose of getting us all outside for some fresh air instead of exercise. When we take him on hikes off leash, of course he gets to sniff, but we keep walking on and don't stop to wait for him.

The only times he doesn't is when we're in a populated area, near/on/crossing a road, walking by people/dogs on the trail, or at an event. Those times we need him to focus and stay right next to us. Especially in a crowd.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
How old is your dog?
1 year 8 months.

What i get from the responses is to allow sniffing as long as we are on walks but if i need him to pay attention when near other dogs and crossing the street then he needs to pay attention to me (Sounds great). What is the best way to start the training to have him go from him sniffing and then having him focus on me and walking when i want him to? I am guessing ill need to be able to tell him command to turn him from allowing him to sniff to ok time to walk and focus on me but i am not quite sure how i can do that

Also how about marking...do you allow that?


My dog is not neutered should i be allowing him to mark on walks. There are alot of mailboxes when i walk him in the neighberhood and he looks forward to sniffing each and every mailbox and will pee 5-6 times on the mailbox during our walk. Not sure if i should allow him to do this.
 

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my answer is NO

not until released and free to romp

you said "I have managed to train my dog to walk right next to me when on leash walks but he is usually sniffing the ground or looking for mailboxes and polls to sniff and pee if he smells another dog smell. "

but then the dog is not walking with you -- he is in his zone

dogs have such a phenomenal sense of scent they don't need to be stopping and pulling off course
 

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1 year 8 months.

What i get from the responses is to allow sniffing as long as we are on walks but if i need him to pay attention when near other dogs and crossing the street then he needs to pay attention to me (Sounds great). What is the best way to start the training to have him go from him sniffing and then having him focus on me and walking when i want him to? I am guessing ill need to be able to tell him command to turn him from allowing him to sniff to ok time to walk and focus on me but i am not quite sure how i can do that

Also how about marking...do you allow that?


My dog is not neutered should i be allowing him to mark on walks. There are alot of mailboxes when i walk him in the neighberhood and he looks forward to sniffing each and every mailbox and will pee 5-6 times on the mailbox during our walk. Not sure if i should allow him to do this.
Start by making the release clear to him. Walk him in heel, stop and have him sit, then calmly release him from the sit to sniff around. Use the sit like that so he doesn't anticipate the release and break to mark on his own. You can start into heel again randomly from the sit too, to keep his attention. Do it over and over, lots of repetitions then add distance. When they're released they get to be a dog. Mine marks like a demon and I crack up when he puts on that full macho display, kicking up grass and all. When they do that though, its on you to use a little sense about where you allow it.
 

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I never give my dogs commands while walking. I let them do pretty much what they want and manage them by the leash. The only exception is sitting at corner before crossing a street. Otherwise, I let them use their ears and nose on walks. One reason is the strength of distractions through nose, ears and eyes is so strong that giving commands creates habits of me having to repeat commands, or poor execution of the commands, or excessive use of correction to enforce the command....none of which I find appealing or want to create. Anyway, as long as he/she is walking in control, I have ability to shorten or lengthen the lease to control situations. Lastly, if the situation is too much, then I should be walking AWAY from the situation. Of course there are exceptions to the above, but by and large my walks are for the dog's enjoyment and not my control.
 

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Walks on leash are business here; no sniffing and especially for the males; no marking. She is only on leash in areas where it is required or where there is a lot of traffic. Otherwise she is off leash. On country roads with the occasional car, she walks ahead of me on the shoulder and will sit on command until I am with her when a car approaches.
 

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Cliff you still have some basic expectations where the dog is "with you".
Sure it is not a rigid military like march down the road -- but if the dog is pulling you like a kite or
to criss cross your path to some doggy-goal then YOUR pleasure goes out the window.

When you don't enjoy the walk -- the dog ends up NOT going for a walk !

Too much hassle - dog stays at home .

As a younger person while working in a office environment , a bunch of the "girls" and I would
jog down to the Humane Shelter - and volunteer to take some of the dogs for short walks around
the parking lot .

The staff did say some dogs landed in their care because they were unmanageable when on walks and
in a city with postage sized residental yards - walks were a necessity to keep the dog healthy and happy.

Manners on the walk , a proper relationship

There is a good medium .

Start the young dogs with obedience .
 

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When we go to the park, I let Russell pee on the first tree or pole we come across. After that, it's no marking. I let him doodle around, sniffing whatever, while we go through the trails at the park. Pleasant for both of us. Scarlet is learning not to lose her mind over squirrels, ducks and Canadian geese in the park. The birds are pretty easy, but those darn squirrels like to taunt her...
 

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I let my dogs be dogs when walking. They are free to stop, sniff and pee. Walks are for my dogs, for them to be dogs. They are not required to "march in single file" for the whole walk. If I need to walk through traffic or pass other dogs, then I give a "heel" command. Then the dog can go back to sniffing and being a dog. I do enough training with my dogs that I have no use for the "structured walk." If I need my dog to walk at my side I give a heel command, then I release the dog. When I am out walking my dog we are out for a walk. I totally agree with Cliff on this.

Think of it this way, a dog has the mentality of a small child. When kids are in school they have to behave and walk single file down the halls. On their lunch break, they get time to run around the playground and be kids. If the children were forced to march in single file for 40 minutes around the playground, school would be really boring and unpleasant. I don't want to be boring to my dogs and I expect a high level of performance form them.

The whole Cesar Milan thing of the dog never being allowed to be in front is one of the things he does that I don't agree with. I also do not like "calm submissive" dogs. Because of what he does to the dog to achieve that state of mind. For me, structured walks are something that I do not do. The only thing structured about walking my dog is where we are going and how long my dog gets to walk for.
 

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Hmmmm. Maybe I should let Russ pee more. I’m just afraid we wouldn’t get more than 20 feet into that park, for all the peeing going on, lol.

I’m with you on the “calm submissive” dog thing. I love a dog with attitude, a little sassy. Okay, I’ll admit I encourage a bit of bad behavior now and then. This new puppy is all attitude. I might be too old for her, lol.
 

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If leashed walks would be longer, yes, than I would give her way more freedom. She is hardly on leash and has pretty much free reins besides staying around, that's why the times she is on leash are structured. Thankfully we don't live in an urban area where leashed walks are mandatory.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
my answer is NO

not until released and free to romp

you said "I have managed to train my dog to walk right next to me when on leash walks but he is usually sniffing the ground or looking for mailboxes and polls to sniff and pee if he smells another dog smell. "

but then the dog is not walking with you -- he is in his zone

dogs have such a phenomenal sense of scent they don't need to be stopping and pulling off course
I have him walk next to my left leg at all times and i allow him to sniff the ground while walking next to me. The mailboxes tend to be on the left and he doesnt have to pull away or tug on the leash to sniff them. I usually stop and let him sniff but if i say lets go he will stop sniffing and come with me. Part of the reason i am asking this is to see if i am encouraging bad behavior by me actually stopping and letting him sniff the mailbox and mark it.


It seems people do different things when on walks which is to be expected.

Personally i like the idea of having the dog walk on leash and letting him sniff and having a command for him to know when to stop that and do a structured walk. I will work on that from now on.
 

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Hans, my GSD, already had been allowed to mark when I adopted him at 18 m/o, so I only let him sniff during a walk in places where it's ok for him to mark. When we are in a 'no mark zone', I put him in a heel. I try to be courteous about where he's allowed to mark. I also know that it's best not to let him sniff around indoors, especially someplace new, because he will try to mark.
My Mal puppy doesn't mark yet, but I'll probably correct for it so it doesn't really get started. I allow him to sniff on walks, throwing a little heeling and other obedience in as we go.
I do think they need time to just sniff around and "be a dog". :)
 

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The only time I have a need for them to be right next to me is if we were going thru a store, crowded sidewalk, dog show, or some other thing. During those times they have no problem walking right next to me but even still they aren't as automatic as some dogs I have seen on Youtube. As long as they mind the voice and the leash I have no problem with whatever.

Here is my thing about the dogs going ahead of me: can't tell you how many times we get to an intersection of trails and if we don't have a normal "route" that they expect to follow they stop and wait or they look back and sometimes I would indicate to them which trail to take. If they run out the door ahead of me the first thing they do is whip around and watch to be sure I am coming and to see what we are going to do. If I don't immediately come out my boy will sit at the glass door and stare at me because he wants me to come with.

if I let them out the garage for a walk and I go back in the house because I forgot something (which I always do)...sometimes it takes a long time because I am disorganized and I am wandering around in circles looking for something. I finally come back out and they are sitting in my driveway staring holes in the door waiting for me to appear.
 
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