Is your dog a Coiled Spring when on a walk?

I wanted to show how calm Ludo is before we head outside for anything, but particularly for a walk.  See the video below – he’s seriously calm.  We’ve worked on this because I start my day how I want that day to go.  If you’re hyped up in the morning, your dog is going to get used to that and keep getting hyped up throughout the day.  The calmer your morning, the calmer your day.  And by the way, this was about 10am, and he hadn’t been out for a toilet yet either!  See video below ⬇️ then come back and read the rest!

I wanted to film us both at this point in the day because what I see often is that some dogs could be described as ‘coiled springs’!  A tightly wound, bouncy thing ready to leap out of the door!  And actually, this is not helpful to us at all especially if things are going a bit wrong when the dog is walking with us… pulling on the lead, anxiety, barking at other dogs and/or anything moving. 

Many people train their dogs to sit and wait just before a walk, usually because the dog is bouncing around and getting hyped up and in the way!  However, think about this – if the dog has been asked to sit and wait for some time, there will then have to be some sort of additional ‘command’ (inverted commas because I don’t like the word, I don’t use it, but the dog training world still does) to then release the dog from its sitting position.  And because the dog has been sitting and waiting, knowing something will be happening next, that dog is now a coiled spring waiting to bounce out onto his walk, knocking things over in his path!  If the dog is anxious about his walk (many dogs are) the being asked to sit and wait simply builds the anxiety too.

I teach a different way of doing things.  It’s not training, it’s being.  It’s showing, teaching, being patient, loving, understanding and being joyfully connected.  So if you do have a coiled spring awaiting his walk, it’s going to be much more helpful for you now to take things really slowly and SHOW your dog what you want without words, rather than adding stimulus (eye contact, words, your own slightly fraught energy!) to an already adrenalising event (going out of the safety of the home).  Too much dog training can rush a dog into action all the time “WHAT NEXT?”, “WHAT NOW?”, “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?” and, as I’m seeing a lot of at the moment, dogs are so adrenalised and on edge all the time that life becomes overwhelming and they lash out at everything.

So if you want to experience a calmer walk, all you do is get calm yourself, don’t invite them to become hyped up by looking at them or speaking to them, just get ready.  If they bounce around, you simply sit back down again, at any point in the getting ready procedure, even have another cuppa, and give them time to understand that you are waiting for them to become calm.  They won’t get this to begin with especially if they are used to a different way of being, but with time and consistency they will learn that going outside means calmness not franticness. 

#dogbehaviour #calmkindhappy #doglistening #boxernotbonkers

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