Anyone who owns a dog knows that regular walks are a large source of enjoyment for both you and your pooch. Not only do walks enable you and your canine buddy to get a much-needed dose of fresh air and critical exercise, walks also strengthen the bond of friendship between pet and their human. Most dogs we’ve known can barely contain themselves when the word “walk” accidentally slips in a conversation and we won’t even mention what happens when the collar and leash come out.
Given the fun and beneficial nature of walks, it’s important that they remain productive and stress-free to both dog and owner. Teaching your dog to not lead the way in your daily walk is helpful for safety reasons, as well as useful for avoiding obstacles, allowing the human to control interactions with other dogs and establishing the owner as the pack leader who provides guidance as to route choice. Good thing for dog owners, teaching your dog not to walk in front of you is also a relatively simple training task!
Whenever you set out to teach your dog to “not” do something, owners should realize that dogs have a hard time understanding the word “no” without context. If you want to teach Fido to not walk in front of you, instead of making them stop the behavior, your goal should be to teach alternate behaviors instead. This positive reinforcement method is useful for cementing behaviors in your dog’s brain, teaching your dog how to learn generally and improving morale for both humans and canines by making training sessions more about fun and less about yelling “no” or “don’t do that” repeatedly.
Before setting out on your first walking and training adventure, you and your pooch are going to need a few basic supplies. A sturdy collar and leash are essential in any outdoors training activity, especially one involving walking. Even if you walk your dog off leash, you should teach new behaviors on leash to help avoid distractions. A flat buckle collar and appropriate length leash should work well for you and your pooch.
You will also want to acquire a treat pouch and fill it up with plenty of tasty, bite-sized treats. The pouch should fasten easily to your belt or waist to allow for easy access when you’re juggling the leash in your other hand. Treats should be no more than a bite to allow for quick eating and so that your dog doesn’t get filled up and uninterested before your walk is over. Once you’ve rounded up these items, it’s time to choose your method of teaching your dog to not walk ahead of you.