I’ve been taking Poncho out to Kimball Park and the Ventura State Beach a lot lately, training him to run for longer periods of time while on leash… Yes, running for a sustained period of time is new for Poncho the dog… no “marking or sniffing”, just exercise…
Trust me, being a dog trainer I know I need to fulfill Poncho’s dogginess, I’m not a tyrant. I make sure I take him on separate outings for sniffing, marking, chasing things, and rolling in dead stinky stuff etc… But for the running/exercise part, it’s all about training those slow-twitch fibers…keeping his heart-rate up, and getting his yah-yah’s out so he’ll want to relax at home, and have better concentration for when he sits at his computer and blogs.
What I have found to be quite unsettling is that it seems I’m the only doggy guardian out there using any kind of food rewards for rewarding those behaviors I want! For a dog, I would think going outside into the big beautiful world is like going to Disneyland! And if I want to keep Poncho motivated to run with this old slowpoke, vs romping and playing like a dog…then I’m more than happy to pull out the leftover lunch meat. Not tons of it mind you, I don’t want him to get sick, just little nibbles every once in a while, and only for the action of “running”.
I witness all other dogs either be yelled at, choked, or completely ignored by their guardians – usually because they’re into their own world – however, their dog is straining to get to us…just to say *hi*. How horrible this must be for the other dogs. And I must say, I think this behavior on the humans part is hypocritical. We brings snacks for ourselves and/or for the kids. We stop at coffee places, fast food places etc…for our own “rewards”, but yet being stingy with our dogs is a good thing. Well, I think not.
So, I ask you, if you’re spending time taking your dog out for walkies, try this experiment: bring some of their meal with you on the road, instead of giving it away for free out of a bowl. They might enjoy walkies more, and you might get those behaviors you want! Oh, and if you’re already doing that, then you deserve a treat too!
If you want to learn more about walking or running your dog with simple successful techniques, you might want to join in on one of my classes at the inquisitive canine studio or Ventura College…it’s rewarding for everyone.