The Importance of the Walk

Dogs like routines and we like to reproduce their “instinctive” routines as much as possible. In nature, they start their day by following their pack leader on a morning hunt, enjoy a nice breakfast, then go sleep it off.

Take your dog for a vigorous morning walk – Remember, you are the pack leader and he is following you on the morning hunt – he is not towing you around the block. He leaves the house after you, walks next to you, enters the house after you.

The leash is not a steering wheel – it is not a tool to show you where your dog wants you to go  – the leash should be slacked unless you are doing a correction – the leash is there as an emergency safety measure – to protect him from running into the street by mistake – or for corrections – Problems that occur when a dog is “not good on a leash” have to do with deficiencies at the handle end of the leash.

The walk is not just physical exercise – it’s a basis of your relationship – you are bonding.  He will adore and respect you if you are a good leader and show you know how to be his leader. The walk is both physical and mental stimulation for him – Take your morning hunt /walk seriously, he will take you seriously

Feed him breakfast  when you get home– it is natural to eat after the hunt not before – they don’t save leftovers in nature to eat before they hunt the next day..  And it is his reward for being a good follower on the walk.

He will then  be full and ready to relax after his meal. Leave a bone/toy for him to chew on to reduce any anxiety of being left alone – Leave without fanfare – the pack leader does announce to the pack he is leaving – the boss does not make it a point to tell his workers “I am leaving now”

Return to your house (den) without crating an emotional reaction.  Greet your dog when he is calm and quiet – this reinforces that being calm makes good things happen.

Dogs play during the day. Go exploring, hiking, running during the day.  Enjoy these activities with him. Even during play there are pack rules that are followed – just as teaching children to play soccer requires them understanding the rules to make it safe and productive – learning the “rules’ of playing soccer does not take away the fun of the game, it prevents it from turning into an out of control noisy band of chaotic screaming kids stealing the ball from one another – Show your dog the rules of play – letting go when you say, stopping when you say – it will be more relaxing for you and less frustrating for him when he understands what a good ballplayer does.

Repeat your walk/hunt in the afternoon/evening before the evening meal.

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