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Jack's Diary - Freedom

Wednesday 14th August 2013 @ 11:53am By D'For Dog

FREEDOM

In an ideal world all dogs would be free to roam in their environment, free to interact with other dogs when they wanted, and free to hunt and scavenge at will. I have heard that for some populations of dogs in the world this is the case. But I live in a suburban area on the outskirts of a city, and that means that as a dog, I have to follow some rules.

Once I left my pet shop prison and was living in my forever home I found out that I wasn’t allowed to chase the neighbour’s cats, rip open the rubbish on the side of the street, or visit the neighbourhood dogs whenever I felt so inclined! What I did come to realise is that I could earn more and more freedom outside by learning and following some basic rules when away from the house. The first of these was leash manners…

To help keep us safe from dangers such as cars and animal control officers, most humans keep us dogs on leads when we are off our properties. Leash walks can be very unpleasant if we have

n’t learnt our leash manners! Lunging and barking at other dogs, pulling our humans along on our leads, and jumping on the people we meet are definite no-nos.

So Mum spent some time teaching me my leash manners. First I learnt that pulling on my lead doesn’t work. Every time I tried to pull Mum towards something, she would turn and walk the other direction. She gave me lots of praise when I followed and treats for walking nicely beside her. I quickly learnt to keep my lead loose when we were out and about. Because I could walk nicely on lead, Mum could take me more places with her wit

hout having to struggle with me dragging her along the pavement!

Next I had to learn to pay attention to Mum while interesting things passed by us while we were walking, like other dogs, children on bikes, prams and the mailman. Rather than lunging pulling and barking at these things, Mum taught me I should sit and pay attention to her. Mum gave me treats while these things approached us and I quickly learnt there was no need to act defensively while on lead. Once I had that bit mastered, I got to hang out at cafes with her as well!

What’s even better is the more I’m out and about the more I learn to behave and the more I get taken out. So it’s a win-win for both of us, and something all humans should teach their fur-kids.

Next time I’ll tell you about how I learnt to come back to Mum when I was off-lead and share some stories of the cool adventure walks we went on.

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