You think I am joking about keeping dogs off drugs. This short message can save your dog’s life but you may (GASP) disagree with me. When it comes to leash walking I inform every dog owner I work with the dog is not allowed to pull, bark or… wait for it… SNIFF!
“What! My dog can’t sniff? That sounds crazy, my dog has to sniff. You may be a good dog trainer Mr. Amazing Dog Training Man but I must disagree with you on this one,” is a common retort.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know there is a huge drug problem here in the States. I live in Westport, MA, a wonderful small town right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. We have great beaches, people, and community. Westport is also situated between two cities, Fall River and New Bedford. Each city has rampant drug use.
Many of my clients are either firefighters or police in these cities. They share horror stories of how bad it is.
It is now starting to affect our dogs.
According to a Newsweek article this week, Zoe, a three-month-old yellow lab, suffered an overdose and needed a Narcan treatment after going for a walk with her owner. The owner noticed she was chewing on a pack of cigarettes she had picked up while walking. She collapsed shortly afterward. Zoe was rushed to the vet and they discovered she was overdosing on heroin. The heroine was in the pack of cigarettes. Zoe was given the Narcan and survived.
So when it comes to walking on leash, I stand by my no sniffing rule. Once you come to a stop, you release your dog from the heel command and let your dog sniff to his heart’s content. But now you can watch your dog as he sniffs and make sure everything is safe.
Your dog will probably never come across an empty pack of cigarettes with heroine in it. But I guarantee your dog will come across dead squirrels, chewing gum someone spit out, old cheeseburger wrappers, and a bunch of other items you don’t want anywhere near your dog’s mouth or digestive system.
Also when your dog is allowed to sniff, it becomes too easy for the dog to forget what he is doing (which is walking politely on a loose leash, paying attention to you).
Anyway, leash walking is extremely important for your dog. Not only is it good for physical health, it is really good for mental health. If I stay home for more than two days I get cagey. Imagine how your dog must feel if he never gets off the property.
But the walk has to be enjoyable for you. No one likes being pulled down the street by a barking out of control dog. If you need help, fill out the free consult form to the right or give us a call at 774-319-6351.