QUESTION: Hi Don! I started using your training system less than a week ago and am seeing some very positive changes already – thank you! I have a question – while going for walks, my dog wants to stop and smell the ground and trees a lot – I assume he is smelling other dogs that have recently been there. Many times after smelling, he urinates in the area. Should I treat the smelling as a distraction and correct him? Is his urinating considered a dominant behavior that should be corrected as well? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer! – Nichole Bostelmann Suchomel
ANSWER: Hi Nichole. Thanks for such positive feedback! Re your question: Yes, you should treat his continued stopping to smell as dominant (i.e. “I want to do my thing…”) behavior. At the beginning of a walk, always give your dog a chance to relieve himself. Once he has done so, he has taken care of his bodily needs and any other smelling and urinating after that is just him marking territory, etc.
Once he has proven his obedience and you’ve reached the off-leash level, you can be a little more relaxed with him and let him have some “fun” time just roaming and enjoying his environment, but he MUST stay within the acceptable radius and also come/follow immediately upon being called.