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Walking On Left?


Guest AlanT
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Guest AlanT

I've read in a number of places that I should train my grey to walk on my left when on a loose leash. This is also a requirement for many therapy dog programs.

 

Why is this so? What makes the left side preferable to the right?

 

Alan

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Guest krystolla

Left is traditional -- from either walking holding a rifle when hunting or holding a horse depending on what source you look at. I'm guessing the theory is that since most people are right handed your dominant hand should be free to do non-dog walking stuff.

 

Personally, I think the important thing is to be able to control where your dog is walking rather than that it be the left side.

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Guest TeddysMom

I know that is is AKC show standards and trainers will always teach dogs to walk on the left. I would too if I thought I would ever show or do any more serious training. Spice always walks nicely on my right so I see no need to make her walk on my left. Mandy walks on my left as does Spencer. Teddy walks in front. When I walk Teddy by himself, he will walk on my right. I guess at this point in my life, when I take my dogs for a walk, I just want to enjoy the time and not always be trying to correct where they walk. I am sure you will get a lot of good comments from the folks here on this issue.

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Guest AlanT

Left is traditional -- from either walking holding a rifle when hunting or holding a horse depending on what source you look at. I'm guessing the theory is that since most people are right handed your dominant hand should be free to do non-dog walking stuff.

Makes sense, I guess. To me, though, it makes even more sense that my dominant (i.e., right) hand is used for holding onto the leash.

 

Personally, I think the important thing is to be able to control where your dog is walking rather than that it be the left side.

I agree. That's why I'm surprised to see "teach your dog to walk on your left" presented as the only option.

 

Alan

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I've always wondered about that, too. When in busy situation or on the street I feel like I have a lot more control if both dogs are on my right. When we walk in the park Claire just couldn't hang with walking on the right (I think she was annoyed bouncing between me and Carl), so she walks on my left and Carl to my right.

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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Left is traditional -- from either walking holding a rifle when hunting or holding a horse depending on what source you look at. I'm guessing the theory is that since most people are right handed your dominant hand should be free to do non-dog walking stuff.

Makes sense, I guess. To me, though, it makes even more sense that my dominant (i.e., right) hand is used for holding onto the leash.

 

 

I agree! When I brought Beth home -- my first greyhound and first dog -- there was no question but that I wanted my dominant hand holding the leash! There's nothing else I could be doing with my hands as important as that! So I got her used to walking on my right, and I still feel much safer that way. It's fine since I have no plans to compete in obedience with her. And it now feels most natural to pick up poop with my left hand, of course!

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Left is traditional -- from either walking holding a rifle when hunting or holding a horse depending on what source you look at. I'm guessing the theory is that since most people are right handed your dominant hand should be free to do non-dog walking stuff.

Makes sense, I guess. To me, though, it makes even more sense that my dominant (i.e., right) hand is used for holding onto the leash.

 

Personally, I think the important thing is to be able to control where your dog is walking rather than that it be the left side.

I agree. That's why I'm surprised to see "teach your dog to walk on your left" presented as the only option.

 

Alan

 

 

 

You DO use your right hand to hold the leash. Your left hand takes up the slack, if any. The leash goes across your body in the front. On me, typically it's at waist height. I use a leather leash that is almost exactly the width of the reins I used to ride with , so for me it's very comfortable to hold the loose end of the leash as if I'm riding again! Your right hand should to through the leash loop from the TOP, and grasp the length of the leash--you should not be holding the loop with your fingers. Hard to describe...but that way you have your strong hand holding the leash, your weaker hand holding the slack, and should your dog bolt, he's not too far ahead of you and you have BOTH hands ready!!

 

At least this is how I do it!

 

And yes, it is traditional--I find fewer and fewer people actually have any interest in tradition. And it's a royal pain in the butt to walk with those people who let their dog go back and forth and cross in front and behind--can't STAND it!


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

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Guest TeddysMom

Walking in public is totally different than going for a walk with my dogs out here in the country. When I am in town, at the vet's or in any public setting, my dogs are reigned close to me. I am not fond of people letting their dogs run around at the end of the leash either. I just don't care if they are on the right, left, front or back as long as we are out for a stroll as long as they walk nicely and behave.

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as others have said it is show standard to have your dog heel or gait on the left. if you have any inclination towards obedience showing in the future, do train to the left. if you just want to own and love and walk with your wonderful pet, teach your dog to walk where you and he are most comfortable. I'm right handed and I used to show obedience so my dogs are all trained at my left and slightly behind. I always us a 6 foot lead and hold it in my right hand. when I need to open a door (to enter it before my dog -- pack leader always goes first) I switch the lead to my left hand to open and hold the door, then switch it back.

Angie, Pewter, and Storm-puppy

Forever missing Misty-Mousie (9/9/99 - 10/5/15)
Fort Wayne, Indiana

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Guest AlanT

You DO use your right hand to hold the leash. Your left hand takes up the slack, if any. The leash goes across your body in the front... Your right hand should to through the leash loop from the TOP, and grasp the length of the leash--you should not be holding the loop with your fingers. Hard to describe...but that way you have your strong hand holding the leash, your weaker hand holding the slack, and should your dog bolt, he's not too far ahead of you and you have BOTH hands ready!!

You describe it well, and what you say makes a great deal of sense. Thanks!

 

Alan

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Walking Beth tonight, I realized too that I was very involved with horses when I was younger, and you always keep a horse to your right when you're leading her, etc.. So that is what feels natural to me -- having a sizable animal on my left just feels like the "wrong side"!

With Cocoa (DC Chocolatedrop), missing B for Beth (2006-2015)
And kitties C.J., Klara, Bernadette, John-Boy, & Sinbad

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Walking on the left is traditional over here too. However, as we drive on the left and should walk facing oncoming traffic, this means the dog is on the 'traffic-side' of the walker when walking along country roads etc. without pavement. I quickly teach all mine to walk on either side, whichever I put them on so their walking position can easily be changed depending on the situation.

Sue from England

 

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Guest SusanP

Tradition be darned; I walk mine on my right because it's simpler and I feel I have better control, and that's what it's all about for me. All I'm carrying is a poop bag, and my left hand can do that just fine. I can't imagine why a therapy dog program would specify this. I'd ask them why.

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Guest Jubilee251

Another one here that doesn't side with tradition. Unlike Sue, we drive on the right, which means we tend to walk on the right and oncoming foot traffic is on my left. So I always keep Molly on my right, and that way she doesn't get in the way of other people.

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Guest Wasserbuffel

I only walk Jayne on my left because I'm left handed and its much more comfortable for me to have her walking on that side. I hold the leash as described above in my right hand and hold the slack with my left. I don't feel my right hand is much weaker than my dominant hand.

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Guest Fluffy

I walk Badger with him to my left and his leash in my left hand. I had no idea it was "traditional"...I just do it because I find it far easier to hold a leash with my left hand than I do to scoop poop with my left hand - heck, some days I can hardly manage to scoop poop with my (dominant) right hand without near-disaster. And if I were to hold the leash in my left hand but have him walk on my right, well, let's just say I can manage to trip over everything just fine by myself without the added help of a leash/trip-wire setup.

 

Not that I tripped over the baby gate last night and sent half my living room crashing down in a chain reaction, or anything. Nope, not me.

Edited by Fluffy
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Guest greytgrandma

Hot Rod walks on either side ,most of the time slightly out in front of me.I like him out in front of me a little so I can see what he is doing ,not that he ever does anything but I keep an eye on where he is looking and how alert he is looking at whatever.When a car is coming I bring him in close to me so I am between him and the car. We stroll down both sides of the street depending on where his fav sniffing spots are. And like this morning , most times we dont even see a car.

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Two of our greys (Celeste and Darcy) prefer to walk on the right. Our third grey (Bonny) prefers to walk on the left. It works for us - each one has their spot, so no tangles.

 

Left is traditional though.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Guest AlanT

Goodness, I had no idea my question would generate such a lot of responses!

 

Thank you all for your replies. I've learned a lot!

 

Alan

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If anyone has watched the dogs walk out and get ready for a race, they're walked on the left side of the lead out.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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As mentioned earlier, one of our greys (Bonny) walks on the left while the other two (Celeste and Darcy) walk on the right. Now that we have foster grey Fay, I tried walking her on the left with Bonny. Nope... Fay prefers the right with Celeste and Darcy. Honestly, I don't care what side they walk on as long as they are controllable and don't cross in front of me or get tangled with each other.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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I walk Monty on my right side, and the boulevard is on the right, because he only lifts the right leg and I want him to pee on trees and telephone poles on the boulevard instead of on lawns. Walking him on the other side would mean waiting for him to turn around to pee on something, and that's too much hassle for me.

 

Now if anyone had any tips for how to teach a dog to be ambidextrous with his peeing leg, I'd be happy to hear them....rolleyes.gif

 

 

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I broke my right shoulder in a freak accident so I walk the dogs with my left hand. They walk on the left of me. One of them likes to go back and forth behind us. When we are out in public, I keep the leashes shorter so they cannot wander as Ziggy likes to do. I walk them that way because after my surgery, I couldn't hang on tight enough with my right hand. Dawn broke 2 different leashes when we first got her. Now, we have a double leash we use for her.

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Guest chaoran22

yeah...i trained my first grey to walk on the left, and regret it. he's almost fanatical about it now, he ALWAYS has to be on the far left and sometimes, it's just not a good spot for us, that's usually the side closest to other people when we're walking and he walks nicely enough on leash that it really was unnecessary for us to train him to be on the left.

 

my girl, we didn't bother with and she's so much easier to handle because she'll walk nicely on the left or right, whatever works best for you, whereas my boy is constantly fighting to be on the left side if we try and put him on the right. i think if you have to train him to be on the left for therapy programs, it's worth it to spend an equal amount of time having him walk on your right side - as someone else said up here, it's just better for you and the dog if he can learn to walk nicely on both sides.

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