The most “liked” column I have written for Dogster was about why it is critical to observe leash laws. Nearly 20,000 of you clicked that button. The article struck a nerve because owners who flout these laws exist from coast to coast. Some of them angrily responded to my article, insisting they had every right to have an off-leash dog who runs amuck and molests (“he just wants to say hi!”) other dogs and humans. Many more of you wrote to tell me about the severe physical and psychological damage your dog has suffered because of a run-in with an off-leash dog.
Dog leashes are used to walk the dog in public places. Having the dog wear a leash is a way of protecting the dog and other persons (e.g., if the dog runs away and bites someone). Also, the length is one of the important aspects of the leash. The length of the leash must be chosen according to the size of the dog and it is important because it allows a good control. Leashes should not be either too long or too short. Too long leashes do not provide good control of the pet which can result in unpleasant accidents with more aggressive dogs whereas too short leashes are uncomfortable for both the dog and the owner. The perfect leash can restrain the dog but at the same time is not viewed as a punishment for the pet.
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Scheduling multiple training sessions throughout the day will help your dog learn more quickly because dogs like schedules and he will depend on, and look forward with happy anticipation until you can go out again! I like training right before breakfast, lunch and dinner because my pups are hungry and pay more attention to me, and I can even use their kibble (food) for reward!
Speaking of reward, positive reinforcement refers to operant conditioning, and I won’t bore you with the details right now, but suffice it to say B.F. Skinner, one of the leading researchers on reinforcement, found that positive reinforcement (to reward good behavior) is far more superior to punishment in altering undesirable behavior because positive reinforcement results in lasting behavioral modification, and punishment changes behavior only temporarily; and presents many detrimental side effects. If the problem behavior changes temporarily, it will reappear later, and it comes with even more problem behavior! Good Behavior = Reward and Bad Behavior = Punishment, does that sound familiar? Positive reinforcement training is what exotic animal trainers have used for years to teach dolphins, whales and large cats among other animals. You cannot force a dolphin to do what it does not want to do!
Keep moving on a walk instead of stopping and chatting with others. While you and the other person are smiling and looking at each other, your dogs may be sending signals to one another that they are uncomfortable. Keep moving and stay focused on your dog’s body language. If your dog stiffens, growls, starts randomly sniffing or scratching, or you can see his hackles (among other warning signs that your dog is getting uncomfortable), do a U-turn and put something visual between you and the trigger upsetting your dog.
Some prefer a plastic stand because of its lightweight and portable makeup. For apartment dwellers especially, a product made of this material is great for toting up and down staircases or on cross-country moves. When it comes to the best plastic stand to go with, the Jack Post Handythings model is an excellent choice since it only weighs a total of three pounds.
If your pup barks: Some dogs have the habit of barking at other dogs while on a walk. Oftentimes, this behavior comes as a result of lack of exercise. Make sure your dog gets the proper amount of mental and physical stimulation for his age and breed. If this is still a problem, use the same process as you would if your dog is lunging, as described above — create distance and offer treats before he starts to bark, so every time he sees a dog he gets used to turning his attention to you.
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