Two steps back

With the advancement of positive reinforcement; one man has single handedly moved it all back two steps.  Yesterday I was at the park with Luke; it is nice to take them out one on one and let them take time to smell the roses.  That is exactly what we were doing, meandering around the park checking out flowers, watching others walk their dogs and basically taking it easy.  As we made our way around the park I inevitably saw someone trying their hardest to get their dogs to walk behind them.  I shook my head as we walked past; with Luke deep in a bush sniffing.

I see many people now walking with their dogs behind them.  I frankly hate it when they go behind me; for one I can't see what they are doing and we are there to enjoy together.  If you watch a wolf documentary you will see that when they walk as a pack; all the members are indeed following the "leader" but not by falling in behind.  Many of the pack members are out in front; which in no way means that they are leading, they are just out in front.  It is such a simple concept to think that just because you are out in front makes you the leader when it is far more complicated.  Simple minds.

Another dog ran by us with it's owner yesterday as we had stopped to talk to a woman and her very cute little dog.  The man was jogging with a large Jindo type dog; he ran by and when the dog stopped or attempted to stop and sniff he nearly got his head ripped of and was flipped totally over.  The guy never stopped, never gave his dog a "come on" command, just kept running at full speed.  Luckily the dog was very buff and looked like he was accustom to this.

When we walk our dogs are we not taking them out for enjoyment?  Is this perhaps one walk of the day the time to instill all the "leadership" lessons that we feel that we need to teach?  Daily routine is when you create your leadership status and it is not done by force or making our dogs walk behind us.  I believe the whole walking behind us is more a status thing to show other people how our dogs are walking behind us more than for our dogs, correct?  When I see people walking with their dogs behind them all I can think of is that it looks like the Marines, no fun involved in the walk.

Walks are for fun; having two very senior dogs and one senior we head out for sniffing fun.  Luke still loves the walk part but Jessie and Tilley are very much in it to read their daily pee-mail.  Dogs are meant to smell and they do it very well.  I love watching them pick up a scent and follow it to the end.  Yes there are times when I say "we are power walking so no sniffing."  But most of the time we walk and sniff and enjoy our walks together, that's what it is suppose to be about.


  1. I can take my pack for a walk all off leash and they do "follow" me any where I go. Like you said, they may be in front of me, but if I turn to go in another direction or down a different trail within a minute or two they are all right with me once again. I am their leaded but not a forceful leader.

  2. Any walks I do with my standard are for mutual enjoyment. I keep her on the lease only until she's away from trafficked areas, or where leashing is mandatory. Otherwise, she's off the leash and running ahead, sniffing, rooting for gophers and meeting other dogs. She always looks back periodically, to check my location, and if I'm out of sight, will run back to me. Then the whole process starts over again. She's under voice command, but I seldom use it, unless her actions place her in a potentially dangerous situation. Her sisters are funny that way, too. One sibling has been trained to always heel, and despite my best efforts to 'shoo' her up front with her sisters, she prefers to remain by my side. But I like to think she's also enjoying the walk.


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