How many times have I heard the phrase "Caesar's way?" Too many times and as I hit the parks, beaches and public places I see it far too often. I much prefer Sherri's way; how about we start implementing that instead? I'm all for it and I can bet your dogs will be as well. Yesterday I had Elsa out at one of our favorite parks before it heated up. There was a person there who walks her dog regularly and he is by her side, head and tail down. I'm pretty sure he's not having any fun. As he passes by us with his owner he is not allowed to say hi as she reigns his leash in tight. Hmmmmmm.
I see a lot of people out there walking their dogs like little robots. No sniffing, no looking, no fun. They must walk either beside or behind their owner. Then there is Elsa and I; she is sniffing like mad, watching the birds and rabbits and walking loosely on her leash. She had some chuck it fun to get rid of the ya ya's and then had a few meet and greets along the way. Happy? Oh yes. Having fun? Yep.
The way I look at it is like this. We are out for a walk to get some exercise and social time. I had my time at he gym, got in my daily workout in. So when we are out for our walk it is our special time; time for us to hang together and have fun. It is time that I take out of my day to give to my dogs. I do not feel as though it is a duty but more a promise I made to my dogs. "I will give you what you need to be happy." Yes I am the leader and a strong and serious leader at that; but it doesn't mean that there cannot be fun. I have rules that must be followed and will be enforced. I also have a great desire to ensure happiness in my dogs.
Have fun, lead, teach and guide. I want to see a happy tail when we are out; not a tail just hanging there because we are walking to fill a need to walk the dog. The whole idea that a dog should always walk beside us or behind us because of the "alpha" idea is false; a myth and completely wrong. Watch a pack of wolves on a documentary, they are beside, behind, in front and all around the alpha. But it is the alpha who is guiding; no matter where the other members are in proximity to him, they are following. Just because you have your dog walk behind you does not make your the leader. Physically it looks that way but are you really? Being the boss is a constant; not something you throw on and enforce via a walk.
Dogs need outlets; they need to do the things that dogs do. Those include sniffing, searching, running and playing. It is a sad life for those dogs who are not allowed to indulge in canine things. Dogs live in our world but they are still dogs; very different from humans. I don't want to chase a ball and run in circles for a half hour but Elsa sure does. Luke now in his senior years likes the more subdued dog activities. He is a huge sniffer and along with a nice walk he likes to watch Elsa being a young dog. I have said this often but I will say it again; I take great joy in seeing dogs have fun. We are not here to keep our dogs down in constant pursuit to be the "alpha." We are here to lift them up to be the best that they can be and have fun doing it.