Saturday, February 8, 2014

Hallelujah, Doggie!

How much do you praise your dog? How are your walks going? How much do you connect on those walks? Praise your pup! "Hallelujah, Dori! You're the best walker ever!"

Because walks need to happen regularly, both sides can tune out if the human is boring. Often on walks we connect with our dogs only to say no or to give a cue! "Leave it" when Tommy wants to eat something cool on the sidewalk. "Watch" me when a bike goes flying by. "Sit" because you're at a curb. How annoying are humans?

But what about the praise? What about a little petting on the walk? If a group of dogs walked without the obstruction of their human, they'd connect with one another periodically, touching, checking in. Are you on auto-pilot?

Why walk with us if we're not any fun? If he's daydreaming about something else, Tanner, our "street dog," can forget the nice walking technique he's learned, but you know what brings back his attention? "Hi, Tanner! What a good dog!" He goes right into step beside us again. Even advance praise for what you know the dog should do will have him working as part of the team.

We're all so bossy. We're too stingy with praise and attention. Put away your cell phone and leave your coffee at home. Be the fun part of the walk--you've got a lot of competition for your dog's attention. You'll be surprised how only a little extra attention is needed to change your dog's attitude--and your own.