Today during our lunch break my 9 pound Chihuahua Reggie and I were walking to Starbucks a few blocks from my office. While we were strolling along leisurely, taking in the surroundings, Reggie was walking on a loose leash about 3 feet in front of me. A person passed us from behind and asked, “Who is walking whom?” I answered, “We are walking together”.
Am I walking the dog or is he walking me?
As he marched on I started thinking about his question and what he really meant by his question, “who is walking whom?” Technically, of course, I am walking Reggie. I am the one with the thumbs able to attach his leash to the collar. I am the one with an urge for a Grande Earl Grey Tea latte from Starbucks. I know exactly where it is located and how to get there. Reggie is a 9 pound Chihuahua; how could he possibly walk me? If Reggie was able to walk me, he would most likely take me out of the city to a remote beach or forest area. I think to myself, if only he could drive, then he could potentially drive and walk me. How perfect would that be?
The dog certainly isn’t trying to dominate me
I realized what an antiquated statement that was. People don’t realize that the times of the belief that dogs are trying to be in charge, or trying to dominate by “walking us” are as outdated as transistor radios or rotary telephones. Today our dogs are our companions. We should mutually enjoy the lives we share together.
Being out with my dog is the best part of my day
The best part of my day is taking my lunch break with my canine friend Reggie. He makes me smile when he wags his tail when he we encounter a canine or human friend. The best part however is, he gets me off my chair and helps me get some exercise in the middle of the day. Hence I get back to my desk with some fresh air in my head and a tea in my belly.
We walk together
So who is really walking whom? Is he walking me? I am not sure how to answer that, but I believe I was correct – we walk together and we both enjoy our lunch break walks.
Are you walking with your dog?
Is your dog pulling on leash? I have good news for you; pulling on leash does not mean your dog is trying to “walk” you. He might however just have his own agenda because you are not walking together. Is he just an attachment at the end of your leash? Are you preoccupied by what happened at this morning’s meeting or busy checking the latest Facebook posts? So then the question really then is : “Are YOU walking with your dog?” If this is not the case, then your dog cannot possibly be blamed to trying to hurry to get to the dog park faster where his companions are there to play with him, or getting back home quickly because noises outside the home are frightening him and you are completely absent to help feel more comfortable, or getting to that left over chicken bone that smells so delicious around the corner that he has smelled long before you can even see it.
Teach your dog how to walk together
If your dog is pulling on leash and is making your walks not enjoyable to the point that you feel you are being “walked by your dog” no matter what size he or she is, it is probably time to teach your dog how you would like to walk together. If he is not being taught what that should look like, how would your dog ever know? Because you want to walk with your dog and not just “walk your dog”, like you are taking your pet rock for a stroll, you will therefore not teach this to your dog by using medieval metallic torture devices around your dog’s neck (aka choke or prong collars), but will use modern techniques, skills and tools. This can be easy taught by using the following the Wagfield programs, specifically Checking In and Walking Nicely on Leash – available in Puppy 101, Rescue Refresher and Training Top Up courses.
Start walking with your dog to maximize your walking enjoyment!
So take charge and start walking WITH your dog and enjoy every minute you get to spend with your “best 4 legged friend”. You both deserve it! And next time someone asks you who is walking whom, you can say with a smile on your face – We are walking together!