Friday, January 28, 2011

The Right Way to Walk Your Dog

By Tamara L. Waters

Have you ever seen a dog walking a person? Perhaps you have even been walked by your own dog. If so, you know how exhausting it can be to walk a dog incorrectly. The ideal way is for YOU to be walking the dog. Check out a few of these tips to help you learn the right way to walk your dog and ensure that you aren't the one worn out at the end of the exercise.

Walk in Front

From my own experiences with walking my dogs, the proper way to walk a dog is with you in front and the dog following along. A better way to look at it is for you to lead the walk, not your dog. Putting yourself in the role of leader during a walk allows your dog to relax and follow along.

To help start the walk out correctly, do not allow your dog to go first out of the door or gate of his pen. Begin the walk in the position of leadership so your dog understands that his only job is to enjoy the exercise – not to lead you along.

Use an Anti-Pull Harness or a Chain Collar

If you have a dog that tends to pull when you are walking (my Chocolate Lab did this), I found that an anti-pull harness did a great job with helping her learn to not pull and to follow me. I also found that a pull chain (sometimes called a "choke chain") works well when it is put on properly. The proper method for using a chain as a walking lead is to form it into a P before putting it into place around the dog's neck. I make sure the chain is high on the dog's neck, directly behind the jaw and skull. This helps keep the dog from pulling (yes, it really does work) and also doesn't choke them if they do pull.

Keep Your Dog on a Short Lead

Yes, those long leashes might seem like a good idea, but when you are walking your dog you want to keep them close to you and under control. A long leash gives them too much distance, and what happens if they try to run while you are walking in traffic? Don't take a chance on having a tragic accident while walking your dog.

A short lead helps you maintain control and leadership as you are walking your dog. In the event of a problem (another animal, vehicle or person) that upsets your dog or puts him at risk, you have him close enough to take care of the issue.

Use a special lead or leash just for daily walks. My dog Scooby came to recognize her leash and knew that when I had it in my hand it meant we were about to take a walk. She would get very excited just to see the leash. Store your leash in a place where your dog can see it and he will probably let you know when it's walk time by standing next to the leash or even bringing it to you.

Walk Your Dog Regularly

Dogs of every breed need regular exercise to maintain their health and happiness. If your dog runs laps around your yard, living room or pen, chances are they aren’t getting enough exercise. Be sure to walk them regularly and you will probably notice a calmer attitude and demeanor.

Finish Your Walk with a Reward

After a proper walk (which includes your dog following and not leading), be sure to offer a reward. A reward can be as simple as a good session of belly scratching and affection, or a delicious treat like CANIDAE Snap Bits™. Remember to be consistent with your walks and with your rewards, and your dog will love the daily exercise and time spent with her favorite person.

For more dog-walking tips, check out Linda Cole's article, How to Teach Your Dog Proper Leash Etiquette.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters


  1. Great tips, indeed! I'm going to pass these along to some dog owners I know!

  2. Great tips. For dogs with that innate urge to pull a sled, we do pretty well for Mom.

    Thanks for your lovely words on our blog and thanks for visiting.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  3. Getting Gus to stay by our side while walking is always a least until he's worn out!


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