Lisa is all set for her run. Shoes are tied. Water bottle is full. She even has a new hands-free leash for her dog, Bailey. The weather is absolutely perfect. So off they go, just a girl and her best friend hitting the trails for a nice relaxing morning jog. All is well. They turn a corner and Lisa sees a squirrel the size of a chihuahua sitting in the middle of the path. Before she can say “Just Keep Going” the squirrel takes off and so does Bailey, dragging Lisa behind her. The end result? Lisa trying to explain to her neighbor, David, why she is laying in his irises with Bailey drinking out of his birdbath. Sound familiar? Well you are not alone. Many dog owners start out with what they hope to be a fun and enjoyable run with their pup only to end up frustrated, and maybe even embarrassed, in the end. So what gives?
Remember, your dog isn’t a “bad” or untrainable dog, regardless of their age. Be assured there is hope! Often this is a case of who’s leading who.. Most dogs are born to follow a leader. You might say it is literally in their DNA. In the dog’s understanding of the world, they want to know that someone else has things under control so they can just relax and be happy on the walk. We don’t want a fun hike to become a job for them. Hence the pulling and straining and even wariness of other dogs and people on a walk or run.
When we work with dog owners that are having this issue we typically find that the best course of action is to make sure they have the right connection with their dog. Get your dog trained first for leash walking and then advanced walking before you progress to running. Be consistent, be patient and above all, be the leader your dog needs you to be! The investment in training time you make now will pay huge dividends for years to come resulting in many miles of safe and enjoyable running.
If you want help in getting your dog walking, running or hiking for this summer, give us a call! We are happy to help you learn the skills you need to lead your dog down the path to happiness.