How to Train Your dog to Walk Alongside You
When a person goes for a walk with their dog, they want it to be a nice relaxing walk. They do not want to be pulled this way and that, having to stop continually for the dog to smell, etc. When this happens, neither you nor your dog is getting the exercise needed. At first, your dog might not like to be kept on a leash because they want to stop and sniff but once they become used to it, you both will start to enjoy these nice long relaxing walks.
To get started, you will need some supplies, which includes:
- Collar or harness —make sure that it is comfortable and fits your dog perfectly; not too loose or too tight. It should not be able to be slipped over their head. If you can get one or two fingers between the collar and their neck, that should be the perfect fit. A collar should not be used if your dog has back/neck issues.
- Leash—this needs to be a standard-length lease of 5 feet for maximum control
- Treats—these should be small healthy treats because when your dog does what you ask them to do they should be rewarded, either with a small treat, kind words, or a combination of both.
In addition to the above supplies, you will also need:
- Quiet place—when you are first training your dog to walk beside you, start in a quiet place with few distractions. This will help them learn faster.
- Patience—this is an important part of training your dog. It will take time to train your dog to walk beside you so make sure that you are not yelling or smacking your dog if they do not get it right the first time or even the second time. How long will depend a lot on the dog.
- Time—as with patience, it will take time for your dog to learn to walk beside you. Practice as often as you can because the more you reinforce the concept the faster they will learn.
My side method
With this method, you need to decide which side you want them to walk on before you start your training and stick with it. Traditionally, most will pick the left side. In the beginning, use a standard-length leash as this will give you more control. Make sure that you do not let your dog drag you along but do give them some room to maneuver. Use one of their favorite treats to lure them to your side. When your dog gets into the right position, praise them, and give them the treat. When the dog pulls the owner using the my side method – the first thing to do is immediately stop and stand completely still until the leash relaxes. When your dog turns around to focus on you or does not pull anymore – you can resume the walk. You will need to repeat this as many times as necessary. In time, your dog will automatically go to your side each time you get the leash. Always praise them for doing it. Once they learn to go to your side, then it is time to do the first walk. When they behave on the walk give lots of praise and treats. Start with short walks and slowly increase the length of the walk.
Tips and tricks
- Walk in front of your dog—when you do this, you are showing your dog that you are the leader of the pack. Always make sure that you are the first one out the door and the first one in. During the walk, your dog should be behind or beside you but never in front of you.
- Use a short dog leash—this will give you more control
- Reward your dog—make sure that you reward your dog during and after the walk. A high pitched, baby voice works great with dogs. They love the vocal affirmations that they have done something good.
Training your dog to walk alongside you will take time and patience so following these suggestions, you will soon have a well-trained dog that makes walking enjoyable for both. If you are having trouble training your dog to walk alongside you – contact a reputable dog trainer like Delaware K9 Academy to receive professional training.