When I gor my now three year old MaltiPoo I was determined to make him "walk the walk and talk the talk!
I read all the books, trawled theough the Internet and then put it all into practice, and of course all this great advice worked, as it was intended.
But I had the feeling the little guy just didn't seem to get all excited at the prospect of "walkies" as I expected! He just sat around til I hitched him up and then, somewhat reluctantly headed off with me in total, 110% command. I WAS the Pack Leader as Caeser rams down my throat everytime I watch his shows i.e. "he will not respect you if you let him do his own thing on walkies......... yeh!"
Sure, he walked 8.564763 cms behind my left heel, sat, heeled, laid down, never pulled, tugged etc. and did everything he was "supposed to do" and as all the "experts" said was essential to training a dog for a walk!
Then I had a thought, I wonder how "he" feels about it?
As we did our walk, he would look longingly at the "other dogs" all sniffing, scratching and apparently having a great old time doing what dogs like to do 'cos they love it!
So I relaxed the rules! Nay, I chucked 'em out altogether! Shock horror the Purists will undoubtadly say! You can't let him do this or that, like it is just "not proper!" Your dog loves to know he is not the pack leader and you are Da Boss!
But suddenly I had a loving little dog who now starts getting all excited late afternoon, looks up at me with those pleading brown eyes that destroy all my intentions and stands trembling and all excited at the gate as we get hitched up for our 5 k walkies!
He is trained well enough that he does not pull (not much anyway) and is generally well behaved en route. But now I let him do "his thing", if he wants to inhale all those wondedrful odours on a tree, shrub or post, I let him! OMG the Purists say! You have destroyed all your dog's respect for you, you are no longer the pack leader, yadda yadda yadda ......................
I read somewhere that a walk for a dog is the same expedrience as reading a newspaper is for you and I! The wealth of knowledge and experiences we gather from the paper is equivalent to what Fido experiences on his walk!
"That spot" that looks so bleak and barren to you and I conjures up in him images and smells of other dogs, cats 'n stuff that have passed that way before. It is akin to our enjoyment of say watching a few minutes of a great show on Telly (if you can find one nowadays!) and as he progresses on his walk, he savours every step as his nose leads him along a path enriched with excitement, experiences and imagination that we as humans cannot possibly understand!
He now looks up at me with that lovable, smiling look we all know (or should know) that says "Gee dad, we are sure having fun ain't we!" As we both watch Ronald the Alsation on the other side of the road, head held high, ramrod straight, pricision in every step, trained to a peak of ruthless efficiency ......... me and Bear just stop, pause and we both know that Ronald is damn jealous of us 'cos "we" are doing "dog things together" and the excitrement and love he displays is all the reward I need to know I am doing the "right stuff" with him!
Sure, our path is somewhat meandering, many stops to just suck up "that smell", have a scratch around a tree root or shrub, swap sides of the road for no apparent reason and God Forbid, be allowed to have a chat and a sniff of other dogs, and our walk takes a wee bit longer as the pit stops get somewhat extended but who cares, he is in dog heaven rolling on some dead worm or insect so what's a few minutes here or there?
Works for us!
Think about how your guy feels next time you "parade" him so bystanders can say "oh look, there goes so and so, isn't that dog beautifully trained?"
And to summariuze it, no, I am NOT suggesting you turn him/her into an uncontrolled piece of riff raff. Control is still control, just let your beloved pooch have a say in what HE/SHE LIKES - not what you think is right. I mean, you ain't a dawg are you!