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Today I had just finished walking Galen when on of my neighbors walked past with a Weimeraner. Walking Galen can be challenging because he's interested in EVERYTHING. He wants to sniff every bush, watch every robin, chase every squirrel, greet every pedestrian, stick his snout down every chipmunk hole, and lie on my neighbors irrigated green lawns (which have much nicer grass than my neglected yard.) Walks for him are a full sensory experience.

My neighbor's Weim, in contrast, walks perfectly off leash at heel. Doesn't glance left, doesn’t glance right, doesn’t put its head down to sniff. Doesn't even glance up at its owner. Just trots along. The dog looks dead eyed.

As I get ready to start Galen in his first training class, I was thinking I hope I never train him to the point where I crush his joy and personality.
 

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Beckie is a smaller version of Galen and I have no intentions of ever changing that ! I think it’s a blessing for a dog to be able to be what it’s nature intends it to be. Galen is a lucky dog.
 

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My first impression of a dog like that would be that it's probably been through a poor quality very harsh e-collar training program. Dogs trained well don't look dead eyed. They look happy to accompany their owners even if they are asked to walk at heel. Though that seems to not fulfill the dog's need for mental stimulation at all! There are times when walking at heel is useful, but a leisurely neighborhood walk is not one.

Galen sounds just like Misha was. He still hasn't lost his joy for all things outside.
 

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I have a neighbor whose dog will walk like that with him thru the neighborhood. When the dog is in his yard he jumps around, plays with his human kids and looks quite happy. He sometimes releases him while they are walking to sniff and look around but when he sees others walking he calls the dog to a heel and pop, he is right there. I am impressed. Renn on the other hand will walk nicely on loose leash, he doesn't sniff but he does look around. My goal is to keep his attention on me at all times. He will get his free time to do as his wishes when we are home on our property. He still isn't good when he sees other dogs while we are walking so we are still working on that.
 

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I always feel sorry for dogs like that too. I think I'd rather have a dog wildly pulling than dead eyed. Most of my enjoyment from walks comes from watching my dog enjoy them. A nice heel is a lovely thing, especially in a busy area, but sniffing is more important!
 

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That is sad for sure. I don't expect heeling on a neighborhood walk but I do expect frequent check ins and always a loose leash. Javelin loves heads up heeling but it isn't for a neighborhood walk. It is very doable to achieve those two different goals.
 

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Today I was walking Pogo, who definitely isn't a paragon of perfect behavior or training. He trotted along slightly ahead of me on a loose leash, showing off his lovely daisy cutter motion. (Unlike a show bred poodle, he does not move like a dressage horse. He would clean up in hunter under saddle class, though.) He turned his head to look at things which caught his attention but weren't interesting enough to justify a stop. He walked in front of me on the asphalt when the edge of the road had sharp pebbles. He shifted away from me onto the cooler grass when there was enough room. Occasionally he'd glance back over his shoulder at me. Several times he slammed on the brakes and spent time thoroughly inspecting a bush or other landmark. I waited for him to finish reading his mail before asking him to move on again. To me this is how a dog walk should be.
 

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Cowpony your description made me laugh becasuse it describes my boy perfectly, he has a fairly short neck for a spoo and very different action from my girl who has the “show poodle“moves. Wren from the side looks much more like the “hunter under saddle”!! I always thought he reminded me of a pointer but I love your description more;)
 
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