How to Make Your Dog Walk Beside You

Dogs are fantastic beings that we as humans honestly don’t deserve. They are such sweet, innocent little creatures that it is sometimes truly hard to believe that we have such loving beings to spend so much of our time with. Dogs make excellent companions, and if you find the right one chances are you will be able to enjoy the love of a dog for many years (sometimes even over a decade). Something that is important to remember, however, is how necessary it is for you to properly train your dog. Learning how to make your dog walk beside you is one of many different things you can do in order to make your (and your dog’s) life much easier. Dogs have this amazing ability of picking up a lot of different commands that they can do to please you – and to get rewarded by treats too!

Dogs are honestly really smart little creatures. They can learn so much, and they can honestly figure out so much too –  without you ever really having to do anything. These smart little animals can pick up on your behavior, your reactions, and the like. In fact, they learn this so quickly that they can honestly change and form their entire behavior around things as simple as your reactions. To best form your pet’s habits and behaviors into something that you actually want them to do, it takes some research and some patience. Thankfully, these days there are so many different websites from which you could pick up a lot of things. There are articles, videos, and all that kind of stuff that can help you learn what to do.

What We Are Discussing Today

How to Make Your Dog Walk Beside You

There is honestly so much to learn when it comes to training your dog in all sorts of different behaviors. There are tips that can help you to keep your dog well-behaved at home. Plus, there are tips to help you make sure your dog remains well behaved outside. Some tips help you to make sure that your dog plays well with others (human or otherwise!). In fact, there is so much to learn for both you and your dog that at times it can get confusing and overwhelming. No wonder people say that dogs are huge responsibilities!

Don’t worry, though – today we are here to bring you a guide on how to make your dog walk beside you. This is something that many people take for granted, because to a lot of people as long as they can get their dogs  to walk on a leash, it’s all good. However, the simple fact is that if you teach your dog how to walk alongside you properly, you are going to have a much, much easier time. No tugging on the leash, no exhausted arms, and certainly no more needing to force yourself to take your dog on walks. You would never have to force yourself – at least not when your dog is such a pleasure to take along with you outside of the home!

So today, we are basically teaching you how to make your dog walk beside you. It can honestly be a revelation, something that can change your years that you’ll be spending with your beloved pooch. Are you ready for this step by step guide? Because we are!

How to Make Your Dog Walk Beside You

Before we get started, let us remind you that as you learn how to make your dog walk beside you, you must remember to use positive reinforcement. This is key in making sure that your dog remembers everything happily, and as a result your dog will be able to learn much better – and faster! Another thing to remember is the fact that just because your dog walks in front of you does not mean that they are trying to be dominant. Sometimes, your dog could just be ultra excited or curious about something! Therefore, you do not always need to punish your dog for this behavior (unless they are pulling hard on the leash as they try to lunge at someone/something and attack!).

Step One: Get Dog Treats and Snacks Your Pooch Will Love

It’s critical that you find your dog’s treats. It’s not always enough to buy just any treat and hope that it works – the fact is, some doggos are much pickier than others! In fact, we’ve had dogs where they wouldn’t touch anything except for chicken. We’ve met dogs that only like beef! Some even only like carrots, or strawberries. Hotdogs also come to mind – this is something that a lot of dogs we have met really get excited about!

We do want to say that you will likely want to get maybe two different kinds of treats. One that is “just right” – a small treat to give your pet when they did something right. Something to reward them if they are performing a behavior that you appreciate. This could be a piece of their regular dog food, or something that you know your dog likes but won’t go all wild and crazy for.

You will then also want a treat that your dog will absolutely go nuts for – a treat that they will do anything to get a taste of. For some, it’s chicken liver, or liver treats prepared a certain way. For others, it can be a piece of fruit, or a tiny piece of bacon. It’s all up to you to find a treat. However, once you find it, you can use it to help you train your dog for many different behaviors and tricks. Isn’t it exciting?

Step Two: Find a Nice, Quiet Place with Fewer Distractions

The next step in teaching how to make your dog walk beside you is basically finding a nice, quiet place that has fewer distractions. It can be your backyard at first, or perhaps the street your house is on. But either way, you want to find a place that won’t get too much of your dog’s attention –  it can prove to be far too distracting for you to properly train them if that is the case. We also want to stress that you will need patience, because some dogs (especially those that are exceptionally curious and excited) can be difficult to train when distracted. This is why it is so important to find a treat that will be sure to get the attention of your dog!

Once you find a nice, quiet place, take your dog out there with you. And then, offer your doggo a treat! Yes, the one that you know they will go absolutely crazy for. Allow them to have one as a taste of the treats to come. This increases the chances that your dog will be paying attention while you train him.

Wait for your dog to start exploring a bit and allow him to do his business. Once they have, you can move on to the next step!

Step Three: Select a Word to Use as a Command

How to Make Your Dog Walk Beside You

Dogs need commands so that they better know what you want and expect for them. As a result, it’s important to find a short and easily remembered one for them to learn. Might we suggest the word ‘heel’, which is a common one used for this particular purpose? It’s short, it’s simple, and it’s absolutely easy to remember.

Step Four: Teaching Your Dog to Heel

Now comes the time that both you and your dog will need plenty of patience for. Remember that you should do a few rounds of teaching, with three to five repetitions each round. This allows you and your pupper to have a short mental break that will allow the lesson to be absorbed better. Don’t overdo it, either! There is no need to spend hours trying to teach your dog the same command, because if you stay on one thing for far too long chances are your dog will completely lose interest. When this happens, it will become far too impossible to actually teach them what you want them to do.

So once you’ve done all three steps above, make sure your dog is firmly secured to a leash. Then, begin walking with your dog. Hold a treat out in one closed fist and let your dog sniff it. Keep walking another 3 ft and then give the treat to them. Rinse and repeat. The reason for you doing this is basically the fact that you want the dog to realize that walking alongside you means getting rewarded. Do you see why it is utterly important to get tasty treats for them?

You’ll have to do this over and over until your dog realizes that walking next to you means yummy treats. As you begin to notice your dog picking up on this association, call out the word “heel” (or whatever your command word may be) as you repeat this cycle in order to also have them associate the command.

A Few Things to Remember

How to Make Your Dog Walk Beside You

As you teach your dog how to walk beside you, there are some extra things that come to our minds that may be helpful to you. So here are a few extra things to remember so that you can make this process easier – both for yourself, and for your loving pet.

Patience is Key

We’ve already mentioned this earlier, but we want to stress once more just how important it is to have patience. This is especially important if your pet is still a young puppy, meaning everything will still distract them and grab their attention. Puppies are still essentially babies, after all – and as a result everything is still brand new to them. You need to be able to be patient with your dog, at least to the point where you will still remember the importance of using positive reinforcement.

Try to avoid yelling at your dog or hitting them if they do not do exactly as you wish. The best way to teach a dog is through positive reinforcement, and not through fear. Trust us – if you want to avoid future behavioral issues, this is the way to go! Besides, wouldn’t you rather your dog do the things you tell them to do out of love rather than out of fear?

If You Have a Hard Time Getting Your Dog’s Attention

Sometimes, it can be extremely hard to get a dog’s attention even if you’ve already found a place that you deem quiet and less distracting. You see, even when this is the case your dog can still be distracted, especially if the place is new to them. If you take your pet somewhere and you still struggle to keep their attention, you can try looking for other places to begin from. This way, you can be sure that your dog has a better chance at actually picking up the things that you are teaching them.

Sometimes if you still struggle to get your dog’s attention, it could also mean that the treat you have offered them does not interest them enough. Try looking for more exciting treats!

Additional Information

  • Note that some dogs may not respond all to well to treats. After all, there are some dogs that are ‘play-motivated’ rather than ‘food-motivated’. What that basically means is that some dogs aren’t as interested in food as others. Instead, they like playing with you or with their toys. So, if you find that food does not interest your dog at all, you can see if they enjoy playing with you or with their favorite toy as a reward. You can then substitute the toy as the reward that you give.
  • Also remember that in order to teach your dog how to walk beside you, you truly must practice regularly. And we don’t mean once weekly! For the lesson to stick, practice daily. It’s more important that you spend half an hour daily on this instead of spending a couple of hours on the weekends trying to catch up on the lesson! Daily practice will surely allow your dog to remember the lesson because it is fresh in their minds daily.
  • Another thing to remember is that you should allow enough slack on the leash to let your dog walk alongside you without getting strangled. However, you must not allow too much slack that your dog is able to walk towards distractions.

Conclusion

It’s not really all that difficult – training your dog, that is. All you need is patience and frequent repetitions. We hope that you learned how to make your dog Hwalk beside you! Finally, we hope that remember to purchase collars and leashes that will not be cruel to your pet.