Nothing is more frustrating than trying to take your dog for a walk and all he does is pull on the leash, circle around you, and do everything besides walk beside you where he belongs. This can lead to your pup not getting the exercise he needs, which at the same time means you aren't getting yours either. Training your dog to walk beside you is one of the easier skills to teach your dog and more importantly, it could save his life.
The only thing that makes this skill challenging for your pup, is that all he wants to do is sniff absolutely everything along the way. He is not likely to be very happy with you keeping him on a leash that prevents him from doing so. However, once he gets used to being by your side, you can both enjoy long, calm, relaxing walks.
In many ways, this is a lot like the "heel" command, but the behavior you want from your pup is not quite as restrictive. Instead of sticking to within a couple of inches of your leg, your pup will have a little more latitude in how much he can move around. While you can give him a little space, you should never let your pup pull on his leash.
Keep in mind that during the time you are training your pup to walk beside you, every walk you take should be considered a training session. At the same time, be sure to make the first few training sessions relatively short until he becomes comfortable walking at your side. Be patient and have plenty of his favorite treats on hand to reward him every time he gets it right.
In order to train your dog to walk at your side, there are few supplies you need to lay in. Thankfully, other than a few nice days, you don't need much. Here is a short list of things that might come in handy:
Korra often walks ahead of me more often than not. I've been consistent with treating her every time she looks up and walks besides me. I've got her to the point to do so with the cue "heel," but I'm only successful about 40% of the time. I also use the turn-around method, where I turn around everytime she walks ahead of me. Still, she hasn't consistently walked beside me the whole walk. What should I do?
Hello Jeremiah, Check out the article below. Follow the "Turns" method and focus specifically on turning directly in front of her at a ninety degree angle as soon as her head starts to move past your knee. To be able to do so you must turn in front of her right when she begins to move ahead or she will be too far ahead of you for you to do so. Pick up your space to get in front of her for the turn if you need to. When she does get too far ahead, then turn completely around, but turning in front of her will not only teach her the position better, and teach her to follow you better, it will also build respect for you and for following and paying attention to you in general during a walk. You will likely bump into her the first few times when you do this. That is okay, just try not to step on her paws. She needs to learn to pay attention to your movements and should learn to pay better attention in the future and adjust her movements when you move. You can practice this on longer walks by using open spaces like driveways and culdesacs. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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In the future, when I teach my dog to walk by my side, I also want to teach him to leave my side and have the freedom to wander and not say besides me during the WHOLE time, just on command. How do I teach both ways? Is it even possible?
Hello Eda, Yes, I commonly teach my dogs exactly that so that later they can heel off leash and run on trails within sight at other times. First, just focus on teaching heel. When you get done with your walk, when you go to unclip the leash, tell pup "Okay" or "Free". Each time you end a heeling session, give pup their release word so he begins learning that that word means that the heel command is over. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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