I took my six-month-old Lab Ted on a pack walk today. Ted was on a lead while the others walked loose by my side. It’s a migration walk, where we set off at a fast pace heading for a specific location. We walk in silence, enjoying the tranquillity and joy of travelling together.
All I ask is that the dogs follow my lead as we stride peacefully along. Once the dogs are in the zone, they move easily, totally focused on following the path I tread.
It’s a primal activity for dogs to migrate, and it facilitates bonding of the pack. It’s extremely therapeutic to unbalanced or troubled dogs, who often have no experience of sharing the company of other dogs.
Homeless people do this all the time and look how balanced their dogs are. I’ve never seen a homeless person with an anti-social dog … ever. They spend their lives migrating.
Having had weeks of one-on-one training it was time for Little Ted to integrate into the pack. Once I insisted on the same behaviour within the pack as I had walking him alone, he settled down.
Being surrounded by older, balanced dogs helped Ted understand pack discipline and he strode out like a seasoned campaigner. Cobra gave him a couple of nudges for getting in the way but otherwise it was plain sailing.
When I returned to the truck, I realised the metal ring on Ted’s lead had snapped off, leaving me holding a line with nothing on the end. For the last half hour Ted had walked along at heel, totally free. The rhythm and momentum of our walk had kept him focused.
If you want a balanced dog, try regular migration walks. You’ll be amazed at the result.
We are now back outdoor training. For details, visit vicbarlow.com