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I do both. No, I don't think you're giving her any wrong message about being in charge if you allow to her to smell the roses or whatever and run around a little on your walk. To me, the walks are primarily for exercise, but dogs also enjoy checking out the sights and smells along the way. In fact, going slowly for this can make an excellent outing for an elderly or infirm dog.

With Monte, who is 10 months old, I let him walk on a loose leash and sniff what he wants to and hike his leg occasionally. I sometimes practice heeling and other obedience commands during the walk, and I think that is where you will maintain your training program with Chi, as long as she is still responsive when you want her to be, I don't see a problem, and I think she'll enjoy the walks more.

I usually tell Monte to heel when we cross streets and have him do the automatic sit when we reach the other curb, before I release him to go ahead of me again. He has really taken this to heart and now sometimes sits on his own when we reach the far curb even tho I keep on walking. I feel the leash tighten and turn around to see him sitting like a good boy, waiting for praise. :)
 
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