Friday

Right Side, Wrong Side to Walk Your Dog

My great-grandfather was an Irishman. He was also a breeder of fine Irish Terriers.Perhaps it is genetic memory but I have always had a fondness for that breed. So the other day at the super pet store, I gravitated toward a handsome young Irish Terrier and his very handsome owner...as we chatted, the owner said he was at the store to attend training class and had come early so his dog could settle down before class started.I thought that was a great idea. As the owner walked off, he dragged the dog behind him, gave a big jerk and said very very loudly,"heel!!"
The poor dog could not keep up on the slick floor, his legs were all splayed out on the linoleum,scrambling for all he was worth, the dog tried to stand up and walk a few steps before getting jerked and yelled at to heel again...the owner was holding the leash in his right hand and had the dog on his right side. Perhaps, I thought, this will be the first lesson and the man has not yet learned how to walk his dog.
A few minutes later I spot the instructor walking the dog in the class ring.She was walking the dog on her right side with both hands on the leash, picking him up by the neck with the leash as he slid on the very slick floor.
Now why on God's green earth would ANYONE try and train a dog to walk on a surface with such poor footing and why would you want to train your dog to walk on your right side???????
Remember that this man and the other people in class with him paid over a hundred dollars for this sham of a learning session.
The dog is not going to concentrate on what you are trying to teach him if he is busy trying to stand up. That is just common sense. But I see this happen at various pet stores who offer so-called training all the time. At least provide the clients dogs' some secure footing for their hundred plus dollars please, big corporate pet store.
Walking a dog on the right side drives me nuts...it makes no sense to me. Most homes and retail establishments are geared to right handed people and thus doors and gates are made to be opened with your right hand....how are you going to open a door with your right hand if your right hand is already holding your dog, (or worse, both your hands are holding your dog). If you meet someone on the street and engage in conversation, your dog should sit quietly by your left side while you talk. If you shake hands with that person, which hand do you extend? THE RIGHT HAND of course. I could go on and on but I believe I have made my point. I don't understand why these pet store trainers are taught such nonsensical habits to pass on to unsuspecting dog owners....suppose the owner of the Irish Terrier decides he wants to go on and get a Canine Good Citizen certification or make his dog a Therapy dog or compete in obedience...well then, his dog will have to unlearn what the pet store instructor taught them about walking on the right side as proper heelwork is always on the left side of the dog. In other words, the man will have wasted his money...(money better spent on green beer Puff says). Real dog training clubs, many of them sanctioned by the AKC do offer Canine Good Citizen Programs and Therapy Dog training. Check your local area for a club near you before wasting money on a pet store program.
Happy St. Paddy's Day !