Respect the Walk is a campaign to change public perspective of how a walk with a dog should look. Because how it looks is a reflection of the relationship between the dog and handler. When the dog is in front, he’s in the lead position physically and mentally. We're used to seeing the dog in front. Most people walk their dogs this way and why not? It's what we see on TV and movies, print ads, commercials, signs at the dog park and dog trails, signs that tell you to pick up your poop and most professional dog walkers! A dog in front knows his job there is to make decisions and protect his pack. This is where many undesirable behaviors, like leash aggression, come from.
When you take the lead on the walk, you take that job away from your dog and allow her to follow knowing that you have everything under control. You are there to make those decisions and protect her which makes her feel calm and comfortable. This reflects a relationship of trust and respect.
Respect The Walk apparel and merchandise is here to help change perspective of this simple act of walking a dog. By seeing representation of a balanced relationship, we can shift public perspective and gain control of unwanted dog behavior. It's not going to fix all the problems but change starts with your mind. With your help, we can spread this message across the world! When you wear or display your Respect The Walk merchandise, you have an opportunity to teach people without even talking to them. Our subconscious is powerful and when people realize their walk doesn't look like the picture in their mind, they'll think about how they can change to match that picture.
Currently, all proceeds go towards Trots Dogs opening a training facility with supplemental daycare and boarding in Long Beach, CA. So that once people know what they want, we can give them the tools, technique and support to put them in the lead and have a balanced, happy relationship with their dogs as well as maintain the good behavior while they're away at work or on vacation.
Online shop coming soon. Plus, we have so much more in store for you so stay tuned!
Many people wonder how long it takes to train their dogs. “How long do I practice sit and stay? How long do I have to crate train ? How long do I keep him on a short leash?” Sometimes what I really hear in these questions is “How long until my dog is fixed?”. “So I practice these things and it’ll fix my dog and then I can go back to normal?” - seems to be the way a lot of people think. I give a time frame just so people have a goal but the reality is, dog training is forever.
It’s not about how long it takes. It’s that you take the time to understand how your dog thinks and help him to achieve a calm and balanced mind. Providing an environment and family dynamic that puts them in the most natural state of mind for a dog. Yes, there is technique and activities to get them to that place, but what really changes things the most for people with dog behavior problems is changing their perspective combined with that technique. It’s learning the language that your dog understands.
Having a dog is a lifestyle. Communicating with your dog is something that happens every day for the rest of your dog’s life and the next dog’s life and the next one and the one after that. What I want for my clients is to have the mindset that their dog is an animal and has a different psychology than humans do. I want my clients to respect the nature of the animal living with them. Once you learn the language and practice, you become fluent. Then it’s no longer work or “dog training”, it’s just fluent communication. And that lasts a lifetime.
Since our business and skills have grown, we’ve incorporated more tools to our dog handling repertoire. One tool that we utilize for some pack walks is a walking stick. We get occasional comments on the stick as some see it as a weapon. “Beating them into submission eh?” is what comes to some minds when they see it. On the contrary, the walking stick has many non violent uses for us. To be very clear, we never ever beat dogs with anything.
After one of our sheep herding days, I decided to try the stick out on a pack walk. In sheep herding, they use a “crook” which looks like a stick that Little Bo Peep would use, a staff with a hook on one end. It’s a communication tool to give direction. Tap on the ground to show “this is not the direction I want you to go” among other things. It’s an important tool that’s been used in various circumstances for thousands of years.
"The crook as a symbol of power, guardianship or prestige appears in both ancient and modern art and emblems. The crook and the flail were two symbols associated with the ancient Egyptian god, Osiris. Political and religious leaders from Pharaohs to Jesus to Kings and Popes have carried them to symbolize that they shepherded or led their people.”
It’s a leader’s tool. If you’ve ever walked with one you've likely felt a sense of stability and confidence. You may walk with your head a little higher, your posture a little straighter and your stride a little more calm and intentional. The effects on your state of mind in itself are beneficial when you are in a leadership position. Leaders have a calm and confident energy and this is the energy that animals follow. Whatever tool makes you feel this way is a tool that will benefit and accommodate your biggest asset, your energy.
With your calm and confident energy found, the stick now becomes a guide. It’s now an extension of that energy and yourself. On a pack walk, when placed to your right, dogs will go left. Placed left, dogs go right. Placed in front, dogs stop. When we have 15 leashes in one hand, the walking stick helps us to guide dogs gently to one side or another, guard from other passing people or animals, stop unwanted behavior by hitting the ground or a little tap on the butt and can also be used in defense of stray or off leash dogs who approach. It’s handy for untangling leashes, hitting crosswalk buttons and we’re hoping to have mounts attached soon for camera use (selfie sticks, we love 'em we hate 'em).
We don’t always use walking sticks but when we have a lot of dogs, it’s super useful and helps us keep our cool. All our clients dogs give us their trust, respect, loyalty and love. They know we’ve got everything under control so they can relax and follow. No violence necessary.
Check out one of our pack leaders, Yasmeen, guiding dogs out of the grass with the walking stick. We stop for potty breaks at times specified by us. When the dogs are allowed to walk in the grass by their own decision, we get noses down to the ground and tracking behavior which means their attention is not with us. Notice the stick never touches the dogs.
If you’re interested in sheep herding or learning how to effectively use a walking stick with your dogs, give us a call!
The other day I was taking a walk with my two dogs and went to a coffee shop to get a bag of beans. I’ve seen dogs in this coffee shop before so I knew it would probably be ok to take them in with me especially since I was just picking up a bag of beans. I walked in and saw two people being helped at the counter so I told my dogs to sit. Admittedly, they were sniffing curious and needed a little extra attention to get them to sit but they were calm and close to me. While I’m settling them, a gal at the counter said loudly “Actually, we don’t allow dogs in here.” in kind of a snarky tone. I have issues with both the overuse of the word “actually” and the context in which it’s used but that’s another story. So I was thinking that I’d take them outside and said “ok”. But then she followed with “But what did you want to get?”
Now I'm confused as to what the rules are. Should I take the dogs outside or is she going to help me with a purchase? “I just want a bag of beans.” I said. “Oh they’re right over there” she pointed to the shelf right next to me. I grabbed a bag and waited for a second. The people in front of me were still at the counter and I felt pressure to obey the first rule but there was no follow through. So now I was confused and experiencing some low level anxiety. I am the type to go by the rules, generally. It saves a lot of stress. I decided to take my dogs outside, but remembered I had their product in my hand so I set it down at the doorway and tied my dogs to the bike rack 5 feet away. A customer that was sitting near the door picked up the bag “Did you leave this?” she asked, as if I was up to no good. “Yes, I’m going to buy it after I tie up my dogs.“ I replied and I went back in, grabbed the bag and waited in line again. Finally, the people ahead were through and I walked up to that same gal at the register. “Is that it for ya?” She asked. “Yes” Just like I stated earlier. “Yeah, we used to allow dogs in here but we got busted so now we can’t” she said. “Well, that’s why I brought them in. They were allowed last time” I replied. I paid. I left.
The whole interaction took less than 10 minutes but left me feeling a little anxious and unbalanced. I assume she told me I couldn’t do something and then immediately felt bad about it so she changed her tune and tried to help me. But it didn’t help me because she wasn’t clear. Sure I got coffee, but I also got confusion. The whole coffee shop got confusion. Had she just told me to leave the dogs outside, I respectfully would have done so. Instead, I got flustered and behaved in a way that caused a stir in the environment.
This is what a lot of people are doing to their dogs every day. When you’re unclear with your communication, your dog gets confused. Confusion creates anxiety, anxiety can create a myriad of unwanted behaviors like pulling on the leash, chewing, digging, barking, whining, etc.
When you want your dog to do something, give clear body language and direction with a calm and assertive energy. Don’t feel bad about giving your dog direction as they will usually, happily do as you ask. Your dog lives to please you so show him what pleases you. If he’s not getting it, follow through and teach him what your direction means. Your dog wants a calm, happy owner and to be included in your life. When a dog has good leadership, he makes good choices. When he makes good choices, he gains more trust. When you have trust you can give freedom. Discipline is what successful people embrace. It’s not a bad thing. It keeps you on track and moving forward. People who are disciplined are productive and balanced. Your dog needs discipline as part of being fulfilled and balanced too. Set an intention and follow through with it. You'll feel a sense of empowerment and you both will be peacefully content together.
"OH MY GOD SHE'S SO CUTE!!!" Puppies. We all love them. They are cute and floppy and cuddly and smell like pee. It’s pretty hard to resist an excited puppy wanting to be pet. But how much do you really love puppies? Do you love them enough to ignore them for a minute until they are calm? Because that’s what’s best for a puppy learning how to behave in our world. Learning to control excitement is one of the hardest things for a puppy owner. But when every stranger encourages excitement and jumping, the puppy learns that it’s normal, expected behavior. So, it would really benefit the puppy to wait for a calm state of mind to pet or ignore altogether. Too much excitement leads to unwanted behaviors and many dogs are given to shelters or put down because they become unmanageable. If you truly love puppies, do the right thing and hold back for a minute.
Many puppy owners let them do whatever they want and setting rules would be considered mean. Then once the dog is older, they are scolded for behaving the way they have always been allowed to behave. Is that fair to the dog?
Other puppy owners know that training is essential in the younger years to achieve a well behaved dog later on. But when you walk a puppy, it’s a no holds barred love-a-thon. Strangers will go out of their way to come love on the puppy and don’t mind excitement, jumping, mouthing or any other behavior that would be considered bad form for any adult dog. So, who’s the love for? Most people don’t realize that allowing the behavior means you’re agreeing that it’s ok and it encourages the dog to jump on everybody for attention. If the owner denies the stranger puppy love? How cruel.
So how do we solve this dilemma? Education and awareness. For starters, if you are a puppy owner, here are some things you should know:
So, if you see a puppy walking down the street. Be respectful of their space. Would you want strangers invading the space of and touching your new human baby without asking? Ask the owner first if you can pet the puppy and if there are any training techniques they would like you to follow. They will either thank you or possibly be inspired to start training. If they don’t seem to care, do the puppy and owner a favor by rewarding a relaxed state of mind. The more we all do our part, the more we can spread the message and have better behaving dogs in our environment.