When did dog walking become a science?
I read a great article pertaining to walking your dog. In New York, an article ( http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/a-dog-walker-to-make-you-feel-almost-like-you-are-there/ ) was conducted to see if people trust or feel comfortable with dog walkers.
Are they actually coming in and walking the dog? Are the dogs actually going outside? These high tech New York walkers have decided to go above and beyond giving their clients “pee and poo” alerts, photos of their dogs walking and full updates on their dogs day including trackers to detect how far your dog has gone that day. However, even with all the extra bells and whistles what happens when your dog walker encounters a behavioral problem?
Many dog walkers don’t understand how to treat or correct behavioral problems while on a walk. As a trainer, fixing dog walking problems is only one small step in correcting an undesired behavior but how does this stay maintained? What happens when the trainer has fixed the problem and the walkers still walk the dogs unable to maintain and fix or even understand why the problem occurred. This is a question that arises a lot in the animal training world. For example, your dog starts barking and growling at other dogs randomly during the walk. The walker might pull the dog along to continue the walk or in some cases give the dog attention for undesired behavior. It is hard to expect them to know that behaviorally this only strengthens the undesired behavior trainers work so hard to get ride of. The same works for dogs pulling on leashes or not walking on walks.
Maintaining behaviors is tough probably the toughest part of training. Trainers can get you on the right track but remember it is up to you to maintain and observe your dogs behaviors in the future!!
Don’t let small problems become expensive training lessons.