It looks like magic, but it’s really simple. I walk dogs every day for hours at a time - and usually 5 or more at once. Walking a dog is like breathing to me, because I practice all the time.
Dogs converse with you every time you are holding their leash. People who are trying to train their dogs (and are unsuccessful) tend to tense up the moment they take the leash. They think about every step they are taking, what the dog is doing, if they are holding the leash right – in essence, they are thinking too much and it shows.
When you lack control of the walk, this will cause a dog to become out of control on the walk.
When I work with clients on the walk, almost one hundred percent of the time, after listening to my instructions, the client appears to not know how to walk in a straight line. And that makes sense. I give a lot of instructions and it is a lot to think about. If you had never held a golf club before and Tiger Woods came up and told you how to drive a ball down the fairway, you would look clumsy the first few times you tried. You would stumble through your first thousand attempts probably.
But the magic happens the more you swing your club. You stop thinking about it and you just start doing it.
Walking a dog might even be more difficult, because ultimately you’re participating in a dance with your dog – playing off of each other’s subtle movements as you move through an environment.
When people struggle to walk “naturally,” I will tell them to pick a point on the road – a trash can or a sign – and just walk over and touch it. Often times this is easier than thinking about whether or not they are walking at the right speed, if they are putting too much tension on the leash, or if they are staring at the dog too much. Imagine how effortlessly you would move if I told you to stand up and go pick up a particular book off the bookshelf on the other side of your room – that type of movement and decisiveness is exactly what your dog responds to and follows.
Walk with purpose and your dog is more likely to follow you. Practice more and it will become easier for you to develop a “feel” for walking a dog – the same way you would develop a feel for swinging a golf club, a baseball, or a tennis racket. Imagine how you drove a car when you first got your learner’s permit at 15 1/2 years-old, and contrast that to how effortlessly you drive a car now. If you walk your dog a lot (in an organized fashion), walking your dog will become that effortless for you.
If your walk is REALLY broken, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org – the Walk Fix is our cheapest offering and sets a new tone for your entire relationship with your dog.