SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 5, 2013

How to train your dog to follow your lead when going for a walk

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Q: We have adopted a 3-year-old beagle mix. He is well-behaved and listens very well. Our question: Can a beagle mix learn to walk on a lead without pulling? I walk every day, between two and four miles. I am not a slow walker. We would appreciate any advice/help you can give us.

A: Don’t take “no” for an answer. If your dog pulls, you must retrain your dog to walk with you.

This can be accomplished with the help of a halter leash, training treats and the command to “watch me” instead of allowing your pet to drag you willy-nilly.

As a daily walker, you are in the ideal situation to take your boogie-woogie beagle boy out every day. Your dog could become an eager exercise companion. However, you must be vigilant about training him to follow your lead.

Q: I am 76 and recently adopted a 1-year-old dog from a shelter. I love the dog to pieces, but recently she has been urinating in my bed. It doesn’t happen every day, but I have to break her of this habit. We went to visit my nephew, and she did the same thing to his bed. I have a big yard, and she plays with my son’s dog. It’s not as if she doesn’t get out to do her business. I play ball with her in the yard, and I walk her when my knees let me. What would cause her to do this, and how can I solve this problem?

A: Give your dog a bed of her own and ban her from yours. If she doesn’t have an incontinence problem (a veterinarian check will tell), your pet sends you the clear signal she owns your bed — and your nephew’s. So keep her away from other people’s beds. Her peeing on beds is more about dominance and ownership than about relieving herself, although there could be some of that going on, especially if you don’t walk her enough. Whenever your knees allow, take her for a real walk away from the yard. Ask your son or nephew to help out by walking her, too. Your dog will thrive with enough exercise and healthy attention.

Q: The dog was around before the kids. Now, my kids are 1 and 3. The dog will not play with them. She just runs away and growls. She will gladly play with adults. Why not the kids?

A: The baby and toddler are dog rivals — not supreme leaders worthy of play pal status, respect and admiration. The dog eyes the kids warily and doesn’t quite understand why they’re not covered with fur and eating out of a dish on the floor.

To ease the dog into play with the kids, you should get the ball rolling. Bring out a plaything — a tennis ball is good — and start a game with everybody involved. You and the 3-year-old can take turns throwing the ball and commanding the dog to fetch. The 1-year-old can watch from the sidelines and laugh. When the game ends, allow the 3-year-old, with your supervision, to feed the dog a high-level treat (freeze-dried liver or chicken) as a reward for playing nice. Repeat this routine again and again — and again. Always make sure you’re supervising.

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Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Follow the “Ask Dog Lady” fan page on Facebook; Twitter at @askdoglady. Email questions to askdoglady@gmail.com.