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Is There A Correct Way To Walk?


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Okay, so I never had a dog until last year when we adopted Capri. (Well, we had them growing up but they were yard dogs and never got walked. Ugh) One of the things that I thank the racing kennel people for every day is how well they leash trained her. She's an absolute dream and makes going for daily walks a pleasure. However, I know that dogs will test the rules from time to time, and since I'm less well leash trained than she is... I don't want her to gradually learn bad habits. So:

 

Is it generally recommended to keep the dog on one particular side or is it entirely up to the person? Does it depend on your handedness? Do you keep the dog on the same side as your leash hand?

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

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Guest caelanarcher

I think generally the way it's taught (or the way it was taught when we did obedience for my childhood dog) is like this:

 

Hold the loop of the leash in your dominant hand. Your wrist should be through the loop, hand gripping just below it.

 

Have the dog on your non-dominant side. You'll notice that you have an excess of leash between the dog and your dominant hand. Pick up that slack with your non-dominant hand.

 

Of course, I'm terribly non-strict about using this form. Mostly, I put my right hand through the loop, then loop the excess leash around my right hand. I'll only make Aaron "heel" to my left side if (1) there's a person/dog approaching, or (2) he's being a turd and tugging, or just generally being a rude walker.

Edited by caelanarcher
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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

Yes. Which-ever way works best for you! :colgate

 

I teach my dogs to walk right at my side when asked, but for a casual walk, as long as they don't pull, switch around (I have several dogs), stop to mark every little thing, etc, then I am fine if they walk ahead of me.

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I don't worry about correct form. I walk 4 together, and I want my stronger hand and arm in control of them, so I hold the leashes (looped around my wrist and fist) in my right hand with the dogs walking in front, on my right and behind, depending on sidewalk space, and I scoop poop with my left hand. If a cat pops out of the bushes or Spinner goes nuts when he sees another dog, I want them close to my right hand so I have the best control over them.

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Guest mcsheltie

Dogs are supposed to walk on your left side. Watch a dog show, go to an obeidence class or performance event and that is what you will see. Lead outs walk the dogs on their left side also. Dogs heel on your left.

 

There is nothing wrong with letting them mosey around and enjoy themselves. But when you are need to go somewhere or something is going on where you need control, it is good to teach them need to stay on one side of you. Otherwise they will be crossing in front of you and tripping you up.

 

Of course if you are walking multiple dogs you have to adapt. If I have two, they stay on my left. More than that and I divide them on up on either side.

Edited by mcsheltie
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I just do whatever feels comfortable and affords better control of the situation, since I'm barely 5"1 and my two boys are large and strong.

 

I often start out the walk with both dogs on my left, holding the leashes as described by caelanarcher. This is mostly for when I'm walking on a side-walk and there isn't that much space. However, when we reach a neighborhood away from the road I usually relax more and have a hound on each side. They are usually very good and the leashes are loose and they heal (mostly), but only because I've put a lot of work into training them to. Sagan heals naturally when I'm walking him alone (which is rare), but Merlin used to pull quite badly when we adopted him and we practiced loose leash walking with a clicker until he learned to walk by my side.

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Kerry with Pippin (Paid Vacation), adopted 4/15/2017
Missing the best wizard in the world, Merlin (PA's Paris), the biggest Love I've ever known, and my sweet 80lb limpet, Sagan (Leon B) :brokenheart :brokenheart, every single day.

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Okay, then I guess I'm doing it right, except for a bit backwards. I loop the leash around my right hand and hold the excess in my left with Capri on my left... but I'm left-handed! :lol Or rather ambidextrous-ish. But there are times when I let her walk on my right, too. Will it confuse her too much if I let her pick which side she wants to walk on? I guess the reason I ask is that it seems a little awkward to have the leash draped across my body when she's on my left.

 

The only time I'm strict about where she is, is when we walk on the W&OD bike trail, because of bike traffic. Then I wrap most of the leash around my hand, giving her about 2 feet of slack, and keep her on my right. She's very good about this, though. Good bike trail citizen. :-)

Edited by jetcitywoman

Sharon, Loki, Freyja, Capri (bridge angel and most beloved heart dog), Ajax (bridge angel) and Sweetie Pie (cat)

Visit Hound-Safe.com by Something Special Pet Supplies for muzzles and other dog safety products

:gh_bow

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Guest SillyIzzysMom

I've walked mine on the left for so long that when I took them to a "2 way" walking trail where i needed to stay right, they wouldn't walk on my right. Half the time I ended up walking in the grass while they walked on the sidewalk!

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I walk mine on the right as it's safer to keep them away from the kajillion off-leash dogs in our local park. Claire likes to walk on the left, so when it's quiet I let her walk on the left and Carl on the right. Both loops are over my right wrist.

 

I think the only real right way to do it is the way that works for you unless you have some regimented reason, show dogs, etc.

Sunsands Doodles: Doodles aka Claire, Bella Run Softly: Softy aka Bowie (the Diamond Dog)

Missing my beautiful boy Sunsands Carl 2.25.2003 - 4.1.2014

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Guest Scouts_mom

My timid Mindy is most comfortable walking behind me--I think so the dangerous garbage can/boogie man will attack me first and I will protect her! That is fine with me as my other dog, Henry, likes to walk in front of me. If we are meeting someone on the sidewalk, I do shorten their leashes and make Mindy walk beside me (with Henry slightly in front).

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if you are just walking your dogs for exercise and pleasure there is no one single way to 'do it right'. Just do what is natural for all of you.

Personally I walk with my greys on my left because they walk on lead nicely and that leaves my dominant right hand available for whatever I need to do (pick up poop etc). When I used to walk a little Bichon that was exuberant I walked her on my right side so that I could easily scoop her up if I needed to.

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Guest ctgreylover

I keep Tony on the outside of the sidewalk. I think he even understands cross walks and waiting for the white person vs the red hand to cross a busier intersection. He can not pull me , he will walk ahead but there is slack. He is mostly other breed friendly but there are some dogs on our walks that set him off. small black pug or black and white ** zu, fine. Tan Chihuahua, no freaking way. So I have a leash with an extra short loop so I can stop the spinning and barking when needed. My personal feeling is you have to feel that you have control when walking so whatever feels right to you is right.

If you were going to compete , then you would need to follow the rules of the game!

Edited by ctgreylover
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This is a "depends who you ask" question!

 

People like me, who grew up with hunting and show dogs would answer YES, there is a "correct" way. The dog walks on the left. The answer to "why" is just tradition, mostly, and because most people are right handed, and when carrying a shotgun, it's in their right hand, therefore the dog is on the left to avoid any issues!

 

Also, in the show ring, there is only one acceptable way to prance your dog around the ring--also on the left. Any any training book will tell you -- dog goes on the left!

 

However, if you're not a hunter, don't show your dog, and don't care too much about tradition, the truth is NO. I'd just pick a side and train that way.

 

I've been on a few group walks with only hounds, and noticed I'm pretty much the only one who has their dog on the left!


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest AboveTheClouds
Is it generally recommended to keep the dog on one particular side or is it entirely up to the person? Does it depend on your handedness? Do you keep the dog on the same side as your leash hand?

Like the others said, it's really up to you. Mine heel very well and are trained to both walk on either side of me, either side of each other or one on each side of me.

 

If we're on a walk, I loop their leashes in my belt for hands free walking (one each side). When going to the car or to the bark park, I can hold their leashes between my index finger and thumb (both dogs, one side--really it's just draped over my finger and I use my thumb to keep from dropping the leashes). I wouldn't recommend this for everyone.

Edited by AboveTheClouds
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Guest RocketDog

I loop the leash handle around my right hand (dominant hand) but hold the dogs on my left side, using my left hand to hold the slack on the lead. When I walk multiple dogs, I usually hold one leash between my thumb and index finger and the second leash goes through my index and birdie finger (and the third another finger down, if I'm walking three). Holding the leashes between different fingers allows me to have better 'contact' between the dogs, so I know instantly if someone's slowing down or pulling away. I usually have them walk slightly ahead of me so I can see where their heads are - if they start doing the potty sniff or see something delicious I can respond immediately. If we're on a leisurely stroll and I'm walking a single dog I usually let them walk ahead of me with 3-4' of slack on the leash so they can sniff whatever they want, but at the same time stay close enough to me to be protected if a stray dog comes towards us or we need to scootch in to let someone pass.

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I know that there is a "proper" way - but I choose to use the way that works best with my dogs. I have Sobe, my easy walker. His leash goes on my left wrist (my weaker wrist) and he walks beautifully with me, and knows voice commands like "stop" "turn" "left" "right". Diana is my "busy" girl. So... she get my right (stronger) arm. Generally .... she walks pressed against my hip...while Sobe is a couple feet ahead (totally "improper") roaming about. But - if Diana sees a rabbit - I have my stronger arm to "correct" her. Our walks are usually easy. Sobe has more slack - and does fine with it. Diana stays close ... and is fine with it. Sobe, as a male, wants to "squirt" on stuff...Diana.... doesn't potty until she get back in her yard. Our walks are totally recreational. They have a big yard for "needs".

 

The "RIGHT" way - IMHO - is what works well for you. :colgate "Technically" - I walk my dogs backwards. But - I'm not in a showring. And - I've had many people comment on how "nicely" my dogs walk. :)

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if you ever intend on taking some obedience classes, stick w/ the dog on the left, but do sitck w/ one side. a dog who weaves in front of you can easily trip you...mmmm....not fun lying on the side walk. all you have to do is look at something else, maybe getting ready to cross the street, the pup weaves in front of you and slam you are face first. been there!!! so, stick w/ one side, the leash in the hand of the opposite side and the walking side controls the lenght of lead. yes, then there is picking up poop....shorten the lead with the hand holding the loop and pick up w/ the slack hand, and teach stay...so you don't get pulled over. practice makes perfect. also giving your dog treats and talking to them while you are walking keeps them focused on staying next to you. soon enough all of you pockets will have plastic bags and bits of dog treats in them- always check all pockets before you clothing goes in the wash!

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Each has their own idea, hunting dogs here, and yes they are trained to walk on the left, and our grey walks on the left,guess it is because of all the training we do with hunters, So I say left

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