I brought Dexter to the park the other day for a walk, let me just say it did not go as planned. He was a nightmare on the leash. All the other dogs around just sent him into overdrive. He was pulling, whining, and paid no attention to me.
What should I expect from him though? Ever since we moved he rarely gets to go to the park, and even less often, to the dog park. It just surprised me because before we moved we would walk to the dog park nearly every evening. We would do our laps around the park then go into the enclosed dog area for him to play with other dogs. Since he was old enough to go out in public that was our routine together, he never had any problems on leash or walking by distractions. But when we moved Dexter and I no longer had the access to such a close-by park. We moved far from the middle of the city to the edge of town, the closest dog park is a 20 minute ride in the car. Since we moved his walks now consist of walking around the stale neighborhood, besides the occasional passing dog, it's pretty boring around here. I think it gave Dexter a bigger blow than I realized. Without having those experiences where he would calmly walk by other dogs and other distracting things, he lost the ability to ignore them. Now when he sees a new dog it's such an uncommon event for him he just can't contain himself.
The last two nights I've been working with him on walks. I carry a few treats and keep positive thoughts flowing. He gets praise and the occasional treat when he walks calmly. It is pretty easy for him to do when there are no dogs around. We've passed two dogs on our "training" walks so far. I've been crossing to the opposite side of the street to try and make the distraction less intense for him. He doesn't freak out but he is still pulling until the dog passes behind us. I still need to work on keeping his focus. Another thing I need to do for Dexter's sake is get him out more often. I never realized that it was such a huge difference to him if we walked around the boring neighborhood or do laps around the park. Exercise was exercise, so I thought. It seems that I was badly mistaken...
What I'm trying to say it that walks are just as importantly mental exercise for dogs, especially for such intelligent and energetic dog as Dexter. I need to step it up and give Dexter more outings where he actually gets to greet and socialize with other dogs. It is what he needs, and what he deserves for being the amazing dog and friend that he is. That's it for now. My cousin and I are actually about to walk Dexter down to a local school where I can let him run around the grass field. Hopefully a 2 miles walk and an open space will help him burn off some of his frustrations, especially since he has agility class tomorrow.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!