Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taking your dog for a walk

I am a firm believer in taking dogs for walks. Even if you have a fenced back yard, you should walk with your dog. It's not just the exercise, although that is good for both of you, it's the social activity of doing something with your dog. It creates a bond between you. Of course it also helps them sleep through the night if you wear them out.

Finn's schedule starts at 5:30 am, when my husband gets up for work. Finn gets taken out in the back yard for a quick tinkle. At 7:15am I take him for a walk. I fill his water bowl and give him dry kibble for breakfast. Sometime around noon-ish my son gets up, and takes him for a walk before class. I get home at 6 and take him for another walk. He gets dinner at 8pm (kibble, a bit of leftovers and warm water is the current formula) and a final walk at 10 pm.

He is starting to enjoy the walks, when we pick up his leash he wags his tail and comes to us. He is very polite about door ways, and walking, finally starting to sniff more, and relax on the walk. Wolfhounds are sight hounds, coursers, they are bred to run ahead and go after prey. I try to get him to walk ahead on the leash, and encourage him to sniff anything we pass that may be interesting.

I also see this as enrichment. Kennel dogs don't get the chance to sniff smells and identify things. I try to help Finn educate his nose, plus mentally stimulate him as he works to identify what he smells. We explore new places together, and I talk to him a lot, both to keep him focused on me, but also working on teaching him to recognize commands. He is very submissive, and never needs more than a quiet 'no' to get him to stop. He still looks for his family though., on every walk.

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