Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Art of Walking a Dog




So there I am on one of my early morning jogs, when I noticed two dogs taking their owner for a very brisk walk. I say brisk, because the poor guy had to really motor to keep up with the dogs, which were doing their best to drag him along at the pace of their choosing. He didn’t look like he was enjoying the walk slash jog very much and to me the dogs seemed a little frustrated. I say this because if one of them did decide to slow down and sniff the roses, metaphorically speaking, the owner would pull it back into line and keep on walking.
Here’s my take on this: the dogs were trying to get to the next interesting point as quickly as possible in order to give it a good sniff before having to get back into line.

It all brings to mind a wonderful book I discovered years ago about dogs and their nature called “Living With an Alien” by Pam Whyte.
From this book I learned that the most important aspect of his daily walk from the doggies’ point of view was getting to smell the neighbourhood, all those important stops where other dogs have been and made their mark. She called it “Reading the news”.
Think about it – a dog’s greatest sense is in his nose – since we are so visual by nature we forget that dogs receive a lot of information via smell.
So when we go for a walk, we tend to drag Rufus along, we especially like it if he keeps up with us and find it annoying every time he has to stop and sniff and do his business.
So poor Rufus comes home from his walk feeling a bit frustrated cos he missed out on all the news.
She says in her book that dogs don’t need long extended walks and certainly not at a jogging pace. The fitter the dog the more antsy he will get being stuck at home all day.
A long extended walk is fine if you can fit it in, but all he needs is a good five or ten minutes round the neighbourhood, with plenty of opportunity to stop and smell the flowers, or the lamppost, or whatever.
Short daily walks give him something to think about afterwards, when he can digest “news” of his territory.

If you have a dog or two, then this book will tell you so many things about your four footed friend that you will never see a dog the same way again.
Pam is South Africa’s answer to The Dog Whisperer, you can check out her website here.
http://www.naturaldogtraining.info/index.html
If you love your dog, or if you have problem issues with your dog, then this book is for you.

Here are some interesting facts from the book:
Did you know that when your dog sits on your feet, he isn’t being cuddly, he is dominating you?
That dogs actually want you to be the pack leader, but if you don’t take up the position then Fido will?
That as pack leader, you should always eat before Fido does, so make sure he sees you scoff something before you put down that bowl of Eukanuba.

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