How to Train Your Dog to Stay Beside You

Hard
2-4 Months
General

Introduction

Training your dog to stay beside you whether you are on walks together or whether you are lounging around the coffee shop is a great trick to teach your dog. Dogs who often get the most attention out in public are the dogs who are the most well-behaved. Many people will comment on how well-behaved the dogs are and notice how they avoid distractions. Dogs who stay beside their owners have been trained to do so. They have been trained not only to obey their owners but also to respect them enough to stay with them no matter where they go and no matter what happens around them. If your dog is trained to stay beside you whether you were walking or relaxing, he will not be distracted by other animals or people around. This is an ideal situation whether you are walking through the neighborhood on a leash, at a dog park, or out downtown in dog-friendly restaurants.

Defining Tasks

Having your dog stay beside you starts with building confidence in your dog. He wants to please you, so he will work hard to do so. You are your dog's favorite person, so he wants to be near you. Dogs also thrive when owners set real boundaries. Setting a boundary with your dog of not allowing him to leave your side when you are out and about or when you were walking together will give him the confidence to be your best friend. You can use different keywords to let him know when it's time to leave together such as 'let's go' or 'come,' but ultimately you want to train your dog to stay with you whether you are walking or sitting. Though it's easier to teach puppies how to stay with you, older dogs can be taught as well. It just may take more time and repetition for your adult dog to understand.

Getting Started

To train your dog to stay beside you, your dog will need to start with a leash. Be sure to have lots of high-value tasty treats to keep your dog's attention as well, to reward him for a job well done. This is going to require a lot of repetitive training, so be prepared to set aside some time each day to train in short training sessions.

The Leash Start Method

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Step
1
Long leash
Attach a long non-retractable leash to your dog. Walk side by side with him.
Step
2
Treat
Keep him by your side as you walk with high-value treats. Every few steps, offer him a treat and verbal praise.
Step
3
Challenge
Loosen the leash and use the command to 'heel' with your dog. The distance between you two will open, but when talking to him, like when you say "heel" or "let’s go," he should respond by coming to you. When he does, give him a treat.
Step
4
Continue
Build more challenges by increasing the space you allow your dog to get away from you by loosening his leash. You can also take your dog off leash if he can be trusted to be near you while training or as long as you are in your yard.
Step
5
Entice
As you walk along, use the ‘let’s go’ or ‘heel’ command to call your dog to your side. Over time, this command will be one he will expect to hear when you need him to be by your side should he venture away. Entice your dog with treats to keep his attention with you as you use these commands.
Step
6
Practice
Keeping building the confidence in your dog by enticing him with high-value treats such as hot dogs or cheese. Keep him by your side using the command he’s learned and the treats he wants to earn.
Recommend training method?

The Lead Method

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Step
1
Start walkng
Put your dog on a short leash and start walking.
Step
2
Follow
Your dog will follow you because he wants to please you and be near you. If he doesn't, use a treat to lure him along.
Step
3
Treat
As soon as your dog catches up, offer him a reward.
Step
4
Key word
Use a key word or phrase such as "let’s go" and walk.
Step
5
Reward
Keep your dog close and continue to reward him for staying with you. Practice this several times before lengthening the leash. The short leash will give him the position you expect as he is training.
Step
6
Challenge
As he continues to learn to stay by your side, you can loosen the leash, giving him room to move away from you. Your expectation will still be for him to stay beside you, but you can begin to give him the freedom to move.
Step
7
Entice
Keep him close to you by enticing him with high-value treats and verbal praise. Keep this enticement up as he learns to be away from you on a loose leash as well as off leash.
Step
8
Keep it up
Keep him by your side until he fully understands it is always the expectation by using these high-value treats. As he learns this is where he needs to be, you can offer him treats less often, but still reward him for good behavior and good choices.
Recommend training method?

The Sit Stay Heel Method

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Step
1
Sit
Train your dog to sit and have him sit next to you or in front of you.
Step
2
Stay
Train the 'stay' command and have him stay as you walk away. If your dog does not already know these two basic obedience commands, work on them before training your dog to heel and stay beside you.
Step
3
Call
Walk a few steps away from your dog and call him with a whistle or by using his name. Do this only once. If he doesn’t come your direction, go to him.
Step
4
Treat
When you meet with him, either if he comes when called or if you have to go to him, give him a treat.
Step
5
Heel
Once you and your dog are side by side, ask him to heel and take a few steps forward. If he doesn’t follow, entice him with a good treat.
Step
6
Continue
Keep walking, and continue to use the 'heel' command giving your dog a treat every few steps he stays at your pace and by your side.
Step
7
Stay beside
While on walks have your dog stay beside you by calling him by name or by whistle and asking him to heel. If you re not walking, use the sit and stay commands to keep him in place.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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