Take a Leash Walk – With a Friend!
Leash walking with a friend and their dog is an activity that is under-utilized among my clientele. You and your dog stand to reap many rewards with this simple, social experience.
First and foremost, it’s a skill that all dogs should have in their repertoire. It’s an excellent discipline for your dog, or puppy, to learn that leash time is not play time. When on leash, their task is to walk forward, sniff, explore a bit, and keep slack in the leash at all times (a separate topic) even with a dog friend walking beside them. Provided you are also giving your dog ample off leash play time, there is no need to feel guilty about interrupting any attempts to play while on leash.
Learning to co-exist, but not exuberantly interact with their walking mate, may also help your dog pass other dogs on leash without the need to drag you across the road to say hello. If they walk with friends frequently enough, other dogs on leash will lose their irresistible appeal. Your dog’s ability to resist leash entangling play dances with their friend can be greatly influenced by you delivering well-timed rewards and praise when your dog is walking calmly and ignoring the other dog. For details on how to pass other dogs on leash please see my previous post: https://www.7cedarsdogtraining.com/post/leash-reactivity
Secondly, moving through space together on a walk is a highly social activity for dogs and humans. It’s fun! And, it makes the leash walk even more enriching for your dog. For a certain subset of dogs who cannot be off leash with other dogs for whatever reason, it can be the only safe social activity they can participate in. If you have a highly reactive dog, or one with a dog-bite history, a qualified, force-free dog trainer can help get you walking in a safe, social setting.
To make your walk even more enriching try walking in a novel location. Whoever you are walking with probably has some favorite neighborhoods or trails. Excellent leash walking loops can be found in Langley, Freeland, Bayview, Community Park and Trustland Trails. Mix it up. Ask around and explore something new with your dog, and a friend.