We have had a breakthrough with the walking issue. It’s not been easy and it’s still not perfect, but it is significant progress – and definitely worth celebrating with a trip to one of Sydney’s most expansive and dog-friendly parks, Sydney Park in St Peters.
And here’s how we do it:
- We’ve scrapped the harness and use only a collar. Harry reacts so badly to the harness; looking sorry for himself at best, going rigid with fear at worst. Since he’s still not such a keen walker that he half-strangles himself with eagerness, we think the collar is best for him.
- The leash never goes on until we’re out of the front door. Putting the leash on while Harry’s inside seems to create some kind of mental block and he’ll resist immediately. Only once we’ve walked out will I clip the leash onto his collar – and he seems perfectly happy with this arrangement.
- I am always in a good mood when we go for a walk. You would think it’s the most thrilling part of my day as I skip out of the door in a bid to encourage Harry to do the same.
- Harry gets a treat when we make it out the door. But only one (otherwise he stops and looks up at me expectantly every two minutes) – and then we walk.
- We have followed the exact same walking route daily for several months. Harry seems to feel more secure when he knows what direction we are heading in, and that the trip always ends back at home.
And so we are making the most of this new-found enthusiasm for trotting out the door – as opposed to being dragged, bribed or tricked – with longer and more frequent walks.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better dog-walking spot than Sydney Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash at all times on the former brickworks, but are not allowed in the wetlands, the oval, cycling centre, playground or barbecue areas. With 40 hectares to roam, there’s plenty of space for everyone.
We loved the rolling hills and shady woodland areas, views of the city skyline and water dishes for dogs.
There’s heaps to keep non-canine walkers entertained too. Fitness equipment, a café, and an amazing kids’ playground and bicycle track, complete with miniature traffic lights and road signs.
till struggles to rise for an early morning walk. We shall soldier on with that particular problem. Sydney Park, Sydney Park Road, St Peters. For more information visit the City of Sydney website.