Obviously, I am a dog lover, caretaker, enthusiast – whatever, you want to call it.  I write about dogs and travel, therefore, I read everything I can get my hands on how to improve the lives of dogs (and other animals) and their humans.  One essential part of being able to travel safely, comfortably, and enjoyably with our dogs is good dog behavior and training.

I have two very crazy dogs that I adore and I love walking them both, but at times they can be very naughty. I am aware that I make exceptions and excuses for my dogs because I see them as having abandonment issues that occurred before they came to live with me – they are also petite so they seem less menacing – but truth be told they are still dogs no matter their size.  We all love to go for walks and on trips, especially to the beach where they can mingle with other dogs, however, I find that on the leash they are their most challenging.  One of my dogs is very timid and wants to back out of the harness when strangers approach, while the other is very aggressive and growls and barks at other dogs and, more recently has taken to biting and thrashing the lead when other dogs approach us.  To say the least this behavior is unsafe, unacceptable, and unpleasant for all involved.

Recently, I came across a great publication, The Whole Dog Journal.  They publish an incredibly helpful newsletter discussing everything about dogs from feeding to training.  In one article they stressed the importance of the “come” command with a technique that changed and improved the quality of our lives immensely (and that of the raccoons that visit the backyard nightly).   The Whole Dog Journal technique made it so simple and pleasant to implement with both of my dogs and now, I look forward to receiving and reading their letters regularly.  In addition to the letters and website, they offer more detailed guides to most topics presented and so much more...

Below is a sample of a Whole Dog Journal article on walking your dog.  For more information, visit The Whole Dog Journal.

Proper Walking Etiquette is Essential    
Have you ever felt dismayed over the shrinking access for our canine companions? I know that to a large degree we've brought it on ourselves by our collective carelessness about proper public and leash-walking etiquette.

Teaching your dog how to walk politely on a leash is more than just a convenience. When you can walk in public with your dog following your moves, he's more likely to stay out of trouble.

Teach your dog the difference between walking and heeling. Whether you're teaching "Heel," or the less formal "Let's walk," the correct position for the part of the leash that stretches from you to the dog is slack, hanging down in a valley. Be sure when your dog is with you that you keep the leash slack. If you keep it tight, he'll think tension in the leash is normal and correct.

Remember that your dog's leash is not a steering wheel or handle. It's a safety belt, intended to prevent your dog from leaving. It's not to be used to pull him around, nor should he drag you along behind him.

For left-side walking, start with your dog sitting by your left side. I suggest holding leash and clicker in your left hand (same side as the dog) and having a good supply of treats in your right hand.

For right-side walking, just switch all the equipment to opposite hands. Make sure there's enough slack in the leash so it stays loose when your dog is in the reinforcement zone you’ve identified for polite walking.

For more information on how to reform a puller into a more pleasant walking companion, purchase Whole Dog Journal's Walking Your Dog ebook.