Through The Eyes of A Labrador Owner

Owning a Sporting breed dog that loves to work…

The Search

I currently own a 1 year 3 month old chocolate American Labrador Retriever that has graced Your Pet Space’s blog page (the lab that was sitting in the water bowl) named Aspen. I had been looking for a dog for months, and once I was back in Las Cruces I went with a friend one day to look at dogs in El Paso. I had already had an idea of what dogs I wanted to look at because I went online and wrote down the cage numbers about two nights beforehand. The day was finally here, my friend and I went to lunch, then had a bit of a delay but we eventually made it to the shelter. I went around and looked in the cages to try and see the dogs I had picked out first before asking to take any of them out.

Aspen's freedom ride!

Aspen’s freedom ride!

After taking a while to decide which dog to look at first, I chose one that was with a young Pitbull mix. This 8 month old female pup had only been in the shelter for 3 days, so unfortunately no information was known as to why she ended up there. The shelter pegged her for a Labrador Retriever mix, but I thought otherwise, which I will explain later in the article.  She was brought out of her cage she shared and, even though unsure, she was very happy and gave me kisses right away and rested her head in my lap. After that I had to see how she acted around children, men and women of all ages; she did great with everyone. For the last test, I had to see how she would do around other dogs so we went back and got one of my friend’s dogs and brought her along. To my luck, this pup did not seem to mind the dog, or having her ears and tail messed with. That was when I knew she was the right fit so I was the last adoption made that day. She was then spayed about two days later and I was able to pick her up around 3:00pm. I brought her home from the shelter with everything set up to go, including her new name: Aspen.

Thrills of training

Not long after I adopted her, school started up again so she was doing crate training before I had to go back in order to get her ready for it; well, she ended up having a hard time with being in a crate. She would drag things in that were close enough and chew them up, or whine and yowl for about five minutes after my roommate and I left to go to class. She also had no prior obedience training, like most shelter dogs, which was another hurdle I knew we’d have to pass together. Her training commenced in September of 2016 with beginning obedience for six weeks–this was when I remembered that shelter dogs don’t show their true personalities at the shelter; remember the “I don’t care” reaction she gave to my friend’s dog? Well, that turned out not to be the case. Aspen wanted to play with the other dogs in class instead of work on our training. Eventually though, we were able to graduate and move on to intermediate obedience.

Aspen asleep

Aspen asleep in her crate.

Intermediate obedience went a little more smoothly, seeing as she did not have as high an excitement level with other dogs once I got her attention back on me. She was also able to graduate and move on to intermediate obedience level 2. It was during intermediate level 2 that our trainer pointed out to me that she thinks she may be a purebred Labrador Retriever, so I got curious and did some research. Apparently there is an American and European style Labrador, with the European style being more broadly built, heavier set, with a blocky head; similar to labs seen in the show rings. Whereas the American style was built more for purpose instead of preference; they are more athletically built, have longer legs, a less blocky head, and a more defined rib cage. It was about the time this class started (I’d owned her for about 5 months) that I noticed a change in the way she behaved when being left in her crate; she used to watch me leave even with a Kong that was frozen with goodies in it for her. I started to notice that she no longer did this, she licked at her Kong contently and ignored the fact that I was even there which was a HUGE improvement for this dog. I had read online that music helps, so I decided to play the music at night first when she was falling asleep to let her associate it with a calm state, then I would play it while she was in her crate. I do think the music helped, and I still play it to this day for her when I leave for class. I have owned her for about 6 months now and she is barely getting to the point where I give her a “leave it” command around other dogs and children, and she listens (some of the time). I have to work hard with getting her attention on me for a couple minutes, more so with other dogs, and once I’ve got her attention on me she does what I have been working so hard with her on; act like there are no other dogs. She loves to work, and by work I mean learn. She has come VERY far with all her obedience classes and the training I do with her on my own.

Training improvements

In a total of six months of training, and through it turning one year old, she went from pulling me on leash all the time and not knowing one command to walking on a loose leash and knowing how to sit. Then from there she learned the command “stand” which is VERY difficult to teach once sit has been taught! She also has gone on to learn “down”, “left, slow” (when making a left turn she has to slow down in order to stay in the heel position), and “right, hurry” (when making a right turn she has to speed up a bit to stay at a heel position). I have also been able to extend the duration to which I ask her for a down stay, and we are currently working on our duration for a sit stay since we are not as good at duration with those just yet. Aspen has also learned “wait” which I use to let her outside or for her to come back inside the house, she also has to wait to get her food, play with her toys, and play with other dogs. The most important command I have taught her is “come”, which we are still working on; she listens well at home or in obedience class but it is still a struggle in outdoor areas, like parks.

Aspen celebrating

Aspen celebrating turning 1 year old with a pupaccino from Starbucks.

What it is like having a highly intelligent dog

For being so young, Aspen learns new commands very quickly and is a highly intelligent dog that lives to learn. She is one of those dogs that is so smart and motivated to work, that if she is not given a job to do, she easily gets bored and finds something to occupy her time instead. Owning a dog that loves to work has its benefits for me because I love to work with her and do some training each day. I have my reasons for training her at such a high level, which will continue, and even through all our downs we have faced with training issues, I am constantly reminded of the ups of our relationship. I love Aspen very much seeing that she is not the atypical Lab; she loves to work, but at home she is content just lying around all day with me as long as she gets at least two work and two play sessions in per day.

My advice on owning a sporting breed such as a Labrador is, if you do not have the time to exercise a breed like Aspen’s and make sure they are given a job to do to keep them happy, don’t get one because they can become destructive. They are so smart they find ways to occupy themselves by exhibiting the behaviors that are undesirable to owners and this is why so many dogs end up in shelters.

Aspen showing off

Aspen showing off her training accomplishments.

Dedication to the dog that has already taught me so much

All in all, I could not have asked for a better dog; yes, we still have a long way to go, since she will be working eventually, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world.


aspen posing

Aspen posing for a cookie.



Taylor-Otero Taylor Otero is a First Aid and CPR Certified Dog Handler at Your Pet Space, as well as a Pet Tech Instructor of the same.  Currently, she is also a senior at NMSU studying to obtain her B.S. in animal science in May 2016. After graduating, she hopes to get a master’s degree studying animal behavior and welfare, and plans to use that degree in her future as a dog trainer and possible veterinary technician. Taylor wants to own a dog training/daycare/boarding facility one day! She has had dogs, rabbits, horses, cats, birds and turtles.

Things Are Different in Yorkshire–Part 1

Samson the border collie

In The UK, All Animal Rescues Are No Kill

Things are different over here in the UK. It’s not just how we pronounce tomato as per the old song.  There are many things that are different: we drive on the left, we have a Queen…the list goes on and on. One notable difference between the US and UK is that almost all of our animal shelters and charities are no kill organisations. That means that if an animal is healthy, they will not be euthanized.

Think about that for a moment: no healthy animal killed. Now healthy also means mentally healthy as well, most of the time, which is reasonable. A dog who is of such unsound temperament as to be unadoptable is not often happy in kennels for the rest of his/her life, either. It’s not always easy and it’s not perfect, but it helps that the UK has a good and longstanding culture of spaying and neutering. Yes, we still get back yard breeders. Yes, we still have irresponsible people dumping puppies. But ‘most’ people consider it the norm to make sure that their domestic pets do not breed indiscriminately.

Another difference is that it is a lot harder to adopt a pet from a rescue over here. Generally, you’ll fill in a form, then talk to a member of staff, then have a home check and then and only then will the organisation think about letting you have one of the animals in their care. Once you’ve been matched with or chosen an animal, you’ll get a chance to meet the animal. Then, if all goes well, you’ll hand over a fairly hefty fee and take your new family member home. There will usually be follow up from the shelter or breed rescue and in many cases the animal never actually passes into the adopter’s ownership. It stays the property of the organisation but they agree to let you keep it so long as certain criteria are met.  One of these criteria is usually that if you cannot keep the animal, you will return it to them.

Harper the Border collie

Some UK Criteria Can Make It Harder To Adopt A Pet

Of course, no system is perfect. In my case, when I realized that working from home meant I could have a dog again, that home check was going to be a problem, as I do not have a fully fenced garden. The open driveway would have required an expensive gate, given the slope we live on and I did not have that kind of money free when setting up my own business. When I did go to see the local RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – arguably the UK’s biggest animal charity) I found out that the adoption fee for a dog was in the region of £150 (that’s about $230 at today’s exchange rate.)

So, several hundred pounds for a gate, plus the adoption fee. I’ll admit, around about then, I gave some serious thought to going and buying a puppy. But I’ve always taken on adult dogs before, and didn’t want to give that up. I actually enjoy the challenge of training a dog that may not have had the best of starts in life or that has reached adulthood without the necessary manners to appeal to most adopters.

border collie in gentle leader

The Problem Border Collie

I knew I wanted a Border collie. I’d done my research, I’d had working dogs before so I understood working drive, and hubby had owned the breed in the past…so the search was on. That’s how I found myself looking on the internet at the ‘Dogs for Sale’ section of a well known website. It was a rather sobering experience to find quite so many of that breed advertised between six and eighteen months. The descriptions usually being along the lines of:

‘lovely dog but I don’t have the time to walk her and she is so energetic’


‘I adore my dog but he nipped my children and I can’t control him’ or ‘we got Scout as company for when I was home with the kids but I’m going back to work’.

All the timeworn excuses offered up to shelters…but these people wanted to sell the dog instead.  They were people hoping to either get some of the cost of the puppy back at worst or at best, hoping they would get some say in who their dog went to.

I spoke to one lovely lady in North Wales whose collie bitch had such appalling separation anxiety she couldn’t even go out of the house without it destroying things. Idiot that I am, I’d have seriously considered that one, as I can fix that with time. But after a couple of calls where the owner and I chatted at length and I explained how I’d approach the training and desensitisation, she decided to keep her collie and thanked me for the advice. Another one who’d nipped their five year old who was running round the garden got the poor thing put down before I could call them. By that point, I was, once again, considering going and getting a puppy…or maybe a goldfish.

Then, after a few weeks I saw a pair of blue merle collies advertised. No price on the advert, simply that the bitch was eight months old and the dog fourteen months. There was a brief line or two about changing work circumstances and not wanting to have to leave them alone so much. They were local, they were beautiful, and they had to come as a pair.

merle border collies

They Sounded Like The Hounds Of Hell

Two days later, I turned up at a suburban house to meet them and it sounded like the hounds of hell were inside. The owners came to the door, and I was greeted by a massively built male collie who had no intention of letting ANYONE in the house. He was backing it up by getting his teeth up to face height while explosively barking. This was interspersed with backing away with a low body carriage and tail between his legs. The bitch, bless her, was just bouncing up and down to get attention.

The owners got them on leash….eventually… and we took them for a walk. It was like the Iditarod. I’m not a slightly built woman; I’m five foot ten and used to work outdoors as a ranger. Those two nearly pulled my arm out of its socket, and all this time the owner was saying how good they were on the lead. How good the male was off lead and…wait for it…how yes, they’d not really had time to train the little bitch, but that didn’t really matter… as she was never more than six inches from the male. Well, that last bit was true enough as I could see. She spent every second chasing him, grabbing his scruff and neck and was utterly fixated on him to the exclusion of everything. Meanwhile, the male was fixated on toys.  Now, by toys I mean anything he could find to bring and throw at his owner to play fetch with. I’ll give him this: he could throw well, and remarkably accurately. The stick that hit me on the knee confirmed that!

harper and samson the border collies

Who Would End Up With The Problem Border Collie?

We were towed back home by the two dogs and a little later my husband arrived to meet them after he’d finished work. The attempt by the male to see off the intruder was repeated – I was controlling him this time until hubby was in the room. When released, the performance carried on. For a good fifteen minutes. An hour later, having played fetch for most of it, we finally left telling the young couple we’d have to discuss it and we’d call them back the next day.

Out in the car, we looked at each other and I can’t even remember who said it first but the words were almost identical:

“Well, if we don’t take them, someone who can’t deal with that pair will–and he’ll end up getting put down when he bites someone.”

Stay tuned for part 2 of this story in an upcoming post!

Flag of the United Kingdom

Wendy Hyde lives on the edge of a ‘Grim Northern Town’  in the UK- -which is green, clean, welcoming and cosmopolitan. She’s worked in countryside management, engineering and banking and today makes custom leather work–everything from masks and medieval reproductions to handbags and custom dog collars. She’s also been known to occasionally teach any of the assorted historic and ‘primitive’ crafts she’s learnt over the years. She’s had animals most of her adult life and never met a dog or cat she couldn’t get along with.

Ask The Trainer: Do Dogs Need A Pack Leader?

dog and trainerOnce Again, Here’s Our Ask The Trainer Feature!

I often get asked the question: do dogs need a pack leader? My answer is yes, dogs need a good pack leader. Dogs by nature need some one to lead them. Even the small breeds need a leader. Problem dog behavior such as social issues, fear biters, separation anxiety and other dog behavior issues develop because the dog does not have a good leader.

dog tricksHow To Be The Alpha Dog/Be A Good Pack Leader

So, what is a good pack leader? A good pack leader has calm, assertive energy.  A good pack leader does not yell or scream.  A good pack leader is consistent in what they are asking of their pack. They do not ask the pack, “Would you like to do this?”  Instead, they lead the way . A good pack leader has great focus on what they are asking of the pack…and is also very clear in communication.

How To Solve Dog Behavior Issues

Some of the ways you can become your dogs pack leader are: Always have your dog walk beside you and be your partner. Reward calm behavior. Never reward a dog when they are feeling nervous or scared.  This only makes the dog think they are doing the right behavior. Pack leaders always go out the gate or door first.  As the pack leader, you should be able to take food and toys away from your dog. Always feed your dog when they are calm.

dog and soldierYour canine friend will be a happy well balanced dog, if you will be a good, calm, assertive pack leader.  And here’s a great video to demonstrate how to be the alpha dog with subtlety!

Tina CaldwellTina Caldwell, our Training Editor and author of “ask the trainer”, has been training dogs and their families for about twenty years. She likes to work with all kinds of dogs and people, and has shown and competed in many different events over the years.   Some of her specialties are conformation, obedience and agility trials.  Her favorite breed of dog is the Cane Corso. You can contact Tina through Petsmart Eastgate in Cincinnati, or at

How To Train An Abused Dog

Often you will come across a dog that has been abused at one point in his life. These dogs are difficult to deal with, as the normal things we do cause them anxiety and fear. You can, however, increase your chances of teaching an abused dog to trust with a few simple changes in approach and a lot of patience.

Dog under tableHow To Approach A Once-Abused Dog

When interacting with this dog, bend down to appear less threatening. When talking to him, keep your voice low and cheerful. A loud or frustrated tone will cause him to fear. Call him to you; don’t approach him. If he makes an effort to obey, praise him. Don’t wait for him to obey completely. Remember, he may be used to getting hit when he approaches someone.

When you do get to pet this dog, avoid his head. Keep your hand palm up as it approaches him and gently rub under his chin or on his chest. Rubbing either spot tends to calm a dog. If he moves to step backward, let him retreat. In time, he will stay longer.

Nervous puppyWhen A Dog Is Nervous

When a dog is nervous or you have a skittish dog, he will often wet the floor involuntarily. If this should happen, it is important not to allow your frustration to show. It is not a deliberate attempt at disobeying and will likely disappear as he gains trust in you.

How To Train An Abused Dog

When training or retraining an abused dog, keep any sessions short, with just a few minutes of actual touch each time. You can gradually increase the time as his trust grows. Often, just sitting quietly and waiting for him to approach you will make him feel comfortable. If your initial attempts fail, try this.

found dog in Honduras named LuckyThese Dogs Make A Great Pets!

A once-abused dog can be as trusting and loving as any other.  Working with abused dogs takes patience on the part of those in their lives. A crouching position, low voice and appropriate touch will win them over eventually.  The effects of animal cruelty can manifest in many nervous dog symptoms.  But love and time really do conquer all.

Where to Adopt

Here are a couple of links we recommend for awesome shelter and rescue organizations in Cincinnati.  If you need a referral in another location, feel free to contact us!

Lil Paw Prints Animal Rescue Haven

Rescue Me.Org

Pet Book Reviews: The Dog Listener

The other day I was asked about puppy bonding techniques.  And I was pleased, because it at last gave me a chance to do one of my favorite pet book reviews.

And on the amichien bonding method, no less!

Jan Fennell

Jan Fennell

Jan Fennell is the international best selling author of “The Dog Listener” and her training, the amichien bonding method, is used by dog owners worldwide. The success of her method has resulted in six books being translated into 27 languages and published in 34 countries! Jan has had two national television series in the UK and Australia, television appearances in the UK, New Zealand, the USA, Poland and Australia, countless radio appearances in many more countries and has given talks and seminars in twenty six countries- to date.

I began reading Jan Fennell’s The Dog Listener just after speaking to an animal communicator about our young dog, Castle.  We were having some behavior problems with our little Brittany, among them mouthing, jumping and border running (incessant barking at the fence line).

Never having heard of the amichien bonding method myself, I’ll explain a bit here:

The amichien bonding method, simply put, is one of respect and understanding rather than a form of dominance or force.  By intuiting how dogs treat each other, we can key into how they choose freely to follow a leader, instead of being made to.


Jan Fennell’s teachings are based on four times in wolf families where the pack members re-establish who is leader:

  1. When the pack hunts.
  2. When the pack eats.
  3. At times of danger.
  4. When the pack reunites.

It is at these times that dog owners must understand how to make dogs want to do what we expect of them of their own free will.

puppy bonding techniques french bulldog leashedWhen the pack hunts translates as walking in the modern dog world.  Jan tackles subjects in this area such as dogs that run wild off leash and don’t return, chaos in the car, and so on.

pet book reviewsWhen the pack eats is handled in many different ways, including eating first (or at least “fake eating”, since in wolf packs the alpha pair eat and then the rest of the pack) and dealing with problem eaters as well.

I can tell you that Dave and I personally have mastered mealtimes using Jan’s techniques with our three dogs.  We simply establish our leadership by waiting until all three have given us a “down stay” to put food down–and although this was tricky at first, we now have it down to less than 60 seconds per mealtime!

Dog Danger: pet book reviews“At times of danger” could cover a lot of territory–but certainly for us, border running was equivalent to this issue.  Castle was once attacked by a dog only blocks from our home, and its clueless owner continues to walk him right by our house every day.  Castle would begin fear barking and racing all around the yard to confront her nemesis approaching from all angles every time he passed.  And when we did force her back inside by using a leash, she would still bark and pace agitatedly for some time after.

Thanks to Jan’s book, and the amichien bonding method, we rarely now have trouble getting her to be more interested in coming in than barking at the fence.  But she also covers things like canine confrontations, fear of noises and dogs that bite. running dog pet book reviewsWhen the pack reunites, for us, took a little longer to understand–until we realized that it meant every time we re-entered the room, to a dog!  But this was the reason for Castle’s jumping–and the solution much simpler than you might expect.

Other situations Jan covers in this book include: nervous aggression, separation anxiety, puppy bonding techniques, potty training problems, multiple dog issues, dogs that are too possessive (of owners and/or toys), nervous dogs in general and problems specific to rescue dogs.

The book also includes a 30 day training guide–how cool is that?  And she even got her horse training hero, Monty Roberts, to write the foreword!

In short, we highly recommend The Dog Listener, and the amichien bonding method!

Here are some words from Jan, also, taken from her website:

“The absolute joy that dogs have brought into my life, from a very early age, made me wonder if it were possible to repay this gift in any way.

Like a lot of dog owners, I was less than happy with traditional training of dogs, which involve jerking, pushing and punishment but knew of no other method. There was also the widespread acceptance of the notion that to successfully work with a dog demanded a knack or special gift, a belief that prevents many loving owners from ever succeeding.

Also, like most people, I knew that dogs had an excellent communication system of their own but as a human, with a completely different method of communication, failed to see how I could bridge the gap and make real “contact”. Then in 1989 a good friend, Wendy Broughton, introduced me to the work of the acclaimed horseman Monty Roberts, and I saw, for the first time, how it was possible to not only learn the communication system or language of another species but more importantly, find a way of responding in an acceptable, kind way to that animal and thereby open true conversation, with the emphasis on working with the true nature of the animal, gaining its trust and willingness to co-operate, of its own free will.

This gift of understanding means that we are all now able to quickly identify, understand and consequently, resolve all type of undesirable behaviour. We can do this (no matter what the breed or age of dog) without the use of force, fear, frustration or gadgets, and it can be achieved by anyone who chooses to adopt my method ‘Amichien® Bonding’.

There is only one thing better than finding something so special and that is being able to share it, which I have been able to do through the books, DVD’s and courses for many years now and how wonderful it is to have a team of highly qualified colleagues, worldwide, passing on this information in such a way that empowers all dog owners.

I wish you joy on your journey of understanding and promise that you can do this too.”

Jan Fennell

Click here to buy: Books By Jan Fennell

 Joy Jones, Publisher, is also the Vice President of Your Pet Space, a cage free dog boarding facility serving the greater Las Cruces, NM area. She is also a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave (below). When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.

Cesar Millan: From El Perrero to Leader Of The Pack

cesar millan and dogsNo matter what side of the—pardon the expression—invisible fence you’re on about him, the fact is, Cesar Millan is an impressive individual.  From his humble beginnings as an illegal immigrant to reality TV superstar to broken man to rising phoenix in the dog rescue world, it has been a wild ride for this man.

But before I get too far into my personal adoration of Cesar, let’s talk about some of the things his detractors say about him, namely:  that his techniques are more intimidation than training, his seminars are more like thinly disguised marketing ploys and that sometimes he’s downright mean to dogs.

Others have written about how his high emphasis on exercise is a force for good in training, even if his methods focus more on negative than positive reinforcement.   Even noted behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin has said that she understands why and how Cesar’s approach developed: because it was based on the handling of dogs that commonly ran in randomly formed packs in his Mexican hometown, and especially on his grandfather’s farm, growing up.

Cesar Millan and his beloved Daddy.

Cesar Millan and his beloved Daddy.

Cesar himself has often responded to criticism as it just being the price of being famous—and honestly, don’t we know that’s true?  The only thing that disgusts him is when people accuse him of abuse of animals.

Behaviorists  like Dr. Grandin now know that the old paradigms of all dogs simply being “baby wolves” and the idea that wolves themselves live in a dominance hierarchy are outdated.   We did think this was the way things were at one time because there were very few field workers studying wolves.  But new research shows that full blooded wolves live in a society structure more like a family than a pack.  Also, after so much selective breeding, not all breeds of dog now carry wolf traits—for instance, Alaskan Malamutes have more wolf traits than say, Dachsunds.

What does this mean for training your dog—and especially about Cesar Millan?

It means that Cesar’s techniques are completely appropriate for some dogs, less correct for others and completely wrong for some others.  In my opinion, a good rule of thumb is probably:  the more wolf-like traits your breed has, the closer a fit the training by Cesar Millan will be.

Whether you believe in what Cesar does or not, the fact remains that he is a knowledgeable trainer who has become a legend for his rags to riches story, as well as his transformative life.  He has been a force for good in the dog world for many years, because of his tireless media work against breed specific legislation and education of the public—and now, with his new emphasis on dog rescue.

Want to see how much Wolf is in your breed?  Go here.


Joy Jones, Your Pet Space

Joy Jones

Joy Jones, Publisher, is also the Vice President of Your Pet Space, a cage free dog boarding facility serving the greater Las Cruces, NM area. She is also a syndicated columnist living with her husband Dave. When not working on Your Pet Space, she writes a metaphysical column, as well as urban fantasy and humor. You can e-mail her at as well as send her a friend request on Facebook.


Dog Whisperer: Importance of Walking

Tina Caldwell, our very own resident dog whisperer, reminds us that walking weather is back!  Here’s why you should walk your canine on a regular basis.

The Importance Of A Walk

The most important activity that you can do with your dog is the walk.   Birds like to fly, fish like to swim, dogs like to walk.  Going for a walk allows your dog to get out and travel. The walk stimulates your dog mentally as well as physically.   Dogs that do not get enough good walks can become bored, hyper and destructive. The walk allows your dog to burn off energy, but it also strengthen your position as the pack leader.  
Some simple guidelines for a nice pleasant walk:
First, always start the walk out calmly. Ask your dog to sit and be calm as you put the collar and leash on. Your dog should walk beside you or slightly behind you.  Never let your dog pull out in front of you. Why? As the leader you should ask the dog to follow you, the dog can not pay attention if he is out front smelling the ground and pulling.    Keep a short leash, but not a tight leash. Anytime you stop there should be slack in the leash.  A tight, tense leash will create tension in your dog. For the first twenty minutes of your walk, your dog should follow your lead. After that, you can let your dog sniff and explore, then back to the walk.  Make sure you set a good pace for you and your dog.  Keep it interesting: change routes, go to different parks and pet stores. Dogs love that.
There you have it, much as famous dog whisperer Cesar Millan might recommend.  Have a fun walk, everyone!
Tina Caldwell
Tina Caldwell has been training dogs and their families for about twenty years. She likes to work with all kinds of dogs and people, and has shown and competed in many different events over the years.   Some of her specialties are conformation, obedience and agility trials.  Her favorite breed of dog is the Cane Corso. You can contact Tina through Petsmart Eastgate in Cincinnati, or at