Though it can sometimes be a chore for us, taking the dog for a walk is their favorite part of the day. They’re able to get out of the house (something we take for granted every day) and trot alongside their favorite person. They’re able to walk up the side of the embankment and smell those smelly smells that smell. For your dog, going for a walk outside is an adventure in exploring the world.
Like in most relationships, we don’t all express the same amount (for lack of a better word) control. Some of us feel pretty relaxed and chill on a walk with our four-legged buddy and others are nervous and restrained, fearing that their little fur ball will pick up and eat something icky. We all have a different way of holding the leash that connects us with our dog. How does the way you hold your dog’s leash express your relationship?
- The Dangle: You and your pup have walked the block together many a-time and remain ever in step. You’ve built a strong sense of trust, and you’re sure you could even let them go off-leash, if not for the stuffy, gray-haired homeowners association board. You hold the dog leash loosely, knowing full well your aged pup won’t jerk away or run off. Having practiced proper dog-walking etiquette with your pup, the two of you have long had a solid walking partnership. Your steps being totally in sync, your dog knows when you’re going to move right or left. You move with grace and poise.
- The Grip: Tight grip walkers are usually first-time doggie parents. They’re worried that if they let the pup get too far ahead or behind, they risk the dog getting loose and running away. Though you hold the leash tightly as an act of love, holding such a tight grip on the dog’s leash does the exact opposite of what you want them to do, and that’s walking calmly on the leash. Dogs can become overly excited and agitated when they pull on a leash during a walk, and they tend to pull harder when their owner’s grip is strong. It’s similar to a game of tug-of-war: if your dog is able to lead and pull you in his direction, he wins. As the owner, you are supposed to be leader of the pack. This means your pooch must walk by your side, not out in front of you. Holding the leash in a grip says the dog is the boss.
- The Wrap Around: The wrap around is for the duo that still hasn’t quite mastered walking as a pair. To you, dog leashes are friends, and keep you and your walking partner in check. Your pup still has a tendency to lunge out at joggers and cyclists for some free head scratches, and you know that if you don’t hold tightly enough, he’s sure to get away from you. But you also know that by holding too tightly, you can encourage bad walking behavior.
Wearing the leash like a bracelet, your hand held firmly on the slack, you strike an even pace with your dog in time. Through treats and corrective training, you and your pooch learn together how to maneuver the potholes, baby strollers and speeding cars out on the road. Soon, the two of you will be walking together evenly, a pair of friends enjoying an early morning or evening walk.
Unlike your human friends, who always seem to walk too fast or too slow, your dog friend keeps pace with you. Your walks are your moments, so get out there and have a good time exercising together.