San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 03, 2011
Walking one’s dog on a busy street can be a frightening experience for dog and dog owner alike. With the help of a book he read long ago called “Urban Dog” by Cis Frankel, Corey Vitale of SuperDog, a San Francisco dog walking service has come up with some simple tips to keep a best friend safe.
Corey’s dog, Rocky, a 1-year-old boxer, learned commands that may have saved his life one day while he was walking with Mrs. Vitale. Rocky ran into the street to save a ball he had dropped. When Mrs. Vitale instinctively yelled, “Street,” Rocky froze in his tracks.
An accidentally dropped leash, a stray cat on the other side of the road, or a delectable smell wafting from a restaurant across the street could all contribute to a dog’s impulsive action to run into traffic.
Corey came up with some useful information and exercises to walk a dog safely, and maybe even save his life:
The command “Street” should be used to replace the word “heel/ or sit” when you reach the street corner or the curb The goal is to have your dog immediately stop at the curb or short distance before reaching the curb. To begin, take your dog out with their leash and practice setting your dog up for failure. Start approx. 5 steps away from the curb and as you approach a step or two from crossing the curb say, “Street”. Use a firm, sharp and audible tone in your voice. As your dog walks over the invisible barrier of the curb, yell “BACK! Return your dog back to the curb with immediacy and say “Street”. Repeat several times until your dog is apprehensive to walk past the curb and say “Street” to reinforce to your dog that this command means that they are not permitted to walk past the curb.
When your dog begins to pick up on that, they will not walk past the curb when you say, “Street,” then begin having your dog learn to “Sit and Stay” at the curb and wait for your next instruction. Repeat this step several times, by walking up to the curb and say “Street” then say, “Sit”, then “Stay”. Do this until your dog understands, but never push your dog too hard if they are not ready. Come back later and work on it if it is causing your dog too much stress. Also, when using the “Stay command hold the palm of your hand out and toward your dog, like a crossing guard would signal “Stay”.
After your dog has learned how to associate to sit and stay when you say, “Street” (also, your dog will likely not do this on their own, so always follow up the “Street” command with “Sit and Stay”) then you are ready for the final step which is to say “Cross” when its safe for your dog to walk into the street with you.
To begin the command “Cross” ask your dog to remain in a “Sit/ Stay,” take 3 steps into the road and when it’s safe to release your dog, say “Cross” and walk your dog to the other side of the road. Repeat this step several times, by going from “Street” to “Sit”, to “Stay” then “Cross”.
To increase your dogs understanding of this command always use different time intervals before giving the “Cross” command.
After your dog has mastered this you can begin another fun exercise. Again, in order for your dog to associate what the command “Street” means you will need to set up your dog for failure. This time have a partner with you and pick a time of day where there is considerable less traffic (early morning or evening). Begin by having your partner hold your dog on-leash, then fake your dog into running over the curb into the street! When your dog, runs into the street, yell, “Back” and have your partner walk your dog to the curbside. Repeat again, until your dog recognizes that they cannot run into the street after you.
Next exercise, attach a second leash to your dogs leash (or buy a 15ft lead) and ask your partner to give your dog more slack on the leash. The goal will be for your dog not to enter the street as you walk around a parked car. If your dog, runs or follows you into the street, yell, “Back!” and say “Street” when returning to the curbside. When you’ve walked passed 1 parked car, walk up to the curb and congratulate/ praise your dog for not running into the street. Repeat this step until the desired result. Increase the number of parked cars you walk around until your dog learns that a no time can they run into the street. The goal can be to walk 1 full side of a city block or 5-10 parked cars.
Just a reminder, if your dog fails by not yielding at the curb after the “Street” command always reinforce this command on the appropriate side of the curb. Always repeat the steps: Street, Sit, Stay, and then Cross.
SuperDog is a professional, personalized and high-spirited dog walking service to San Francisco. Since opening in June of 2005 as a registered, insured, and bonded business, SuperDog has been providing daily dog walks and 1-hour adventures to meet each dog’s unique and individual needs. They also provide professional San Francisco dog daycare and puppy training.