It doesn't matter if the dog I'm walking is an old family dog or the excited puppy it all boils down to one thing.
Dogs love to walk.
I take a number of special and elderly dogs for walks throughout the week and to be honest I always allow them to squeeze a few extra minutes beyond their allotted walk time.
For the first few walks I allow them to direct me where they want to go. It can be difficult for dog to suddenly have a new person in their life doing the one pass time they enjoy, so I remain calm, happy but in control.
Normally after three walks together I start to see the soft eyes, the willingness in their body language to be lead by me and a nice even tail placement.
I will share a story which I think is funny and happened not long after I started taking friends dog's for a walk. Angel was a little Jack Russell who had gained a number of kilograms after her cancer scare. The family were giving her every treat under the Sun and the universal attitude from all was "She's old and may not be with us for long so let's just spoil her.'
Angel was like a round yellow, white and brown ball with four stick like legs under her girth. Her eyes were excellent but she had some skin issues and had a very reserved nature. So I took Angel for a walk down to the local park to have some off leash action. We were meant to be gone for an hour. Two hours later an very fizzled me brings Angel home.
Walking to the park was fine, walking around the park was fine the nag was coming home. Every time I reattached the harness the dog stuck her paws in and refused to move. I'm pulling and cursing under my breath at this eight kilo dog stopping a fully grown adult from going home. I'm thinking I'm a monster for pulling this sick old dog around the park. What would people think of me? So what did I do that first time? I picked her up and carried her home. A very bad move.
It was a learning experience. Old dog, sick dog doesn't mean their attitude has changed. A person can't tell a dog "Sorry, you have cancer and are going to die" a dog doesn't understand that. Instead they suddenly find themselves been given free rein at home to do what they want and some dogs are more than welling to go the whole hog to enjoy themselves.
So what did I do with Angel on the next few walks? I tried giving treats to see if she would follow me. Which she did for about three feet and then wanted for the next treat. I tried walking away, she took that to mean let's sniff around the tree's and have fun and the final approach I took was the choke chain.
The obedience school training for years before came in handy. Once I put the chain around Angel's neck I'd said "Come" pulled the chain short and sharp and walked. At first there was resistance and some twisting of her body by Angel but by now I was frankly over Angel's "Me me me" attitude. We would walk with the chain relaxed and everytime I could feel her getting ready to stop I would pull the chain short and sharp and say "Come".
In the end I won and Angel and I had an understanding about when we would be going home. Angel would go on to live for another three years after that first walk and cancer did finally take her but she showed me that in her mind been sick, obese and having rashes meant nothing. She was going to enjoy her life.