There are always a certain number of people who take the dog walking class because they are frustrated with their dogs' on leash behavior. There will be other people, however, who are afraid that something they are doing is wrong and causing their walks to be anything but fruitful. There will be a few people who take it just because they've always wanted to walk as a group, but never had the opportunity. And all of those folks are welcome!
Oftentimes, a big part of the problem is about expectations. Dogs like to go on walks so that they can relieve themselves and explore their world. They aren't as interested in how far the walk takes them, but on the journey itself. And sniffing. It's all about the sniffing. Every.Single.Step. Of. The. Way. Sniffing not only brings dogs joy, but it helps them relieve tension. Dogs who sniff all the time during their walks, however, are frustrating for owners who want to, well, walk. So, changing the expectations of the humans so they embrace the sniffing and the joy their dogs get from it helps to improve the quality of their walks.
There will, of course, be leash pulling dogs and dogs that drag behind their owners. And dogs that bark at other dogs. Those are all fixable problems and worth exploring in a group environment. It does you no good to walk your dog, alone, super late at night to avoid all encounters, instead of dealing with the problem head-on.
When I teach a leash walking class, it isn't about the perfect "heel," or dogs trotting by their owner's side, making constant eye contact, per se. Sure, there will be some of that, especially when you need to be able to pass obstacles in your path, you need your dog's attention. For the most part, however, it will be about teaching the dog AND the owner, how to be good walking partners. Once again, it's all about good relationships between people and their dogs.
As always, if you have questions about your pet's behavior, you know where to find me. And I hope to see you in that dog walking class in January!
Desi's favorite part about walking in town is
all the people he can charm into petting him..and the sniffs.