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One of the most common questions I'm asked as a dog trainer, is "how long should I be walking my dog during a typical day?"
I'm always expecting calls from dog owners with all types of behavior problems, from small dogs to big dogs.
I'm curious how long they can maintain a healthy walking routine without a problem, and whether they're prepared to make a specific time commitment to maintain that routine.
A person with a Post-Millership Syndrome, (which is basically an Owners Syndrome where the dog is the center of the universe but the owner is lost in thought) or a dog with a past of abandonment may not be prepared for a long distance walk, especially if separation from their spouse, children or friends isn't a integral part of their relationship.
That's why, for the purposes of this article, I'm defining a walk as anything from ten minutes to a half hour or more.
Some trainers do much more than maintain a routine walking routine with a dog. They maintain a mental relationship with their dog. They know their dog thinks and feel and therefore they can plan according to that.
Separation anxiety is a bit more tricky, as it tends to manifest itself in a variety of ways. A dog that is rescued and then left alone for long periods of the time may become untrustworthy with a trait she would have learned in past years as a puppy.
Those who've never owned a dog until a dog reaches a specific age may not realize the amount of preparation involved.
Everything from handling the dog and training it, to feeding the dog and possibly grooming or clipping, is an integral part of the preparation.
It's easy to understand why a person with a dog they just adopted may not want to make a satisfactory first attempt at walking their dog.
This article isn't going to debate the necessity of training a dog to walk on a leash. This article is going to suggest a few things as a way to improve your odds of success.
First of all, you need to make sure the walk you're about to take is suitable for your dog. You want to pick a time that isn't too hot and not too cold. If you're going to walk your dog on the concrete, you need to do some research and determine if it's a good walk route. If you walk your dog in the asphalt or grass, you need to make sure it's not too hot and whether or not you have a breeze where you walk.
For starters, you should determine a comfortable collar for your dog. Chances are that if you aren't comfortable with the collar you've got, the dog is not either. It's a matter of making sure both of you are enjoying the walk.
I once had a Collie that wasn't a show dog but I took him on walks. He had issues on the Falls of westbank and intermittent barking at the sight of the falls. I used a choke collar that was designed for training purposes and wondered why his behavior airports him for the better.
Then I put him on a long leash. Sure, he could run quick, but I didn't know how he would behave. He was a good dog but he was about three years old and really wasn't used to a leash. When he was about eleven months old I decided it was time he got his first collar and leash. I made a spell check of the market to see what I could find. I found what I thought was a decent leather collar, but it was too long. I tried two other collars from the same store but they were also too long. So I went to another store to see what they had. They had a similar problem. It was a Charmander collar, but it was neither leather, nor Charmander, just "chloro". I was familiar with charms, ( charms are a group of plants), but charms tended to grow along the edge of a river and they matched my dog's gender. So I returned to the one store with the Charmander river necklace. Well, the color didn't match. I went back to the same store a couple of times, but each time the charmander grew along the edge of the river. The web address didn't matter, the color didn't matter, the name didn't matter, nothing indicated where the owner lived. I returned on a whim to tell the owner I wasn't going to renew the lease for a dog.
The same problem occurred at a different address a couple of months later. I phoned the owner to tell her that one of my dogs had been trying to pull the leash from her collar. She came out to see what was happening. The dog was male, but she let him go after about forty minutes.