3 Methods to Teach Your Dog to Walk Beside You


Dog training experts have many ways for you to control your dog on walks…

No matter what your dog’s age, size and breed mix teaching them the right way to walk beside you is the most important skill you can train your furry sidekick to do. Not only is his or her safety at stake, so is yours. You do not want the four-pawed love of your life to bolt, strain wander or trip when you are out on a stroll together! For this reason, we offer three ways we learned from experts how to encourage proper “heel” command obedience through dog training.

1. Stop and Go
Brandon McMillan of Lucky Dog TV show recommends the stop and go with a treat method. With the leash held loosely in your left hand and a treat in your right hand say “Heel” and hold treat in your closed right hand about six inches from your dog’s snout as you start to walk. Now, your pup will probably keep snatching for the treat, so, stop, then say “heel” again and start walking again. As your furry walker goes more steps with you, then stop and say “good” and give them the treat.

Now, this is only the basic step, but you want to continue them until your doggie walks further and further by your side, before you stop and give them the treat. As you make progress with your fur buddy walking longer, you can move the treat away, from their face and to your side. Then you can slowly ween them off the treat, but be sure they get praise and a treat at the end of each walking session.

2. Turn around, stop and go

Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer recommends walking your new pup around the house or back yard first to get them used to the collar and leash, while following you. When the tail wagger starts to lead you, or wander away from you, Stop, turn around and Go in the opposite direction. When the pup realizes you are the leader, then your turn around times become less and less. Cesar also says to reward with praise and a treat when your doggie follows you, without having to stop and turn around.

3. Play walking game

Sarah Fraser, a certified professional dog trainer and co-founder of Instinct Behavior & Training in New York City, tells PetMD about a great game to play with your dog, to get them fully focused on you while they are on their leash.

With leash in hand, take a few steps backwards. Out of curiosity your pup will follow. When they come to you, say “good” and reward them with a treat. Take more steps backwards in a different direction, and do the same praise and treat reward when they follow. Do this about 8 to 12 times (steps backwards) and then proceed with your dog on the leash for a short normal walk. When your fuzzy companion follows along with you, be sure to stop at the ends of the short walks and praise with a treat. According to fraser, what you are doing is making your dog totally focused on you. After all, you are the leader, right?

All training experts advise that when you are teaching your dog, no matter what their age, size or breed mix, to walk along with you, be the one in command. The way to make this point to your K9 partner is with kindness, patience, treats, praise and repetition. You will find that your precious tail wagger will look forward to walking adventures with you, not ahead of you, because you are his or her main focus!

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  • Margaret Mobly
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