Good walking with the whole "pack" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2008, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Good walking with the whole "pack"

I have questions about walking a dog with more than one person. We're a family of three; myself, my spouse, and our 12 year old daughter. I guess Bailey makes 4, he's 17 weeks old now.

For his evening walk we often like to go out with more than one family member, and sometimes when we have a special field trip with the dog we all like to go. We're not really sure what the right approach is to walking the puppy when there's more than one of us.

- Should one of us take the role of 'alpha' and always walk ahead?
- Should Bailey have to walk behind all of us or just the lead person?
- Should just one person hold the leash or can we pass it around?

Just generally, how does walking with a group work? Does one person need to be in the lead? Should it always be the same person?

I've seen the topic of walking covered many times here and in books, but I've never seen a reference to walking in a group.

Many thanks!

Amy, mom/poop-scooper/walker/chef/chew-toy to Bailey (4 months)

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 04:31 PM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

Bailey should walk behind all humans. Sometimes it's easier with multiple people because you can position yourself in a way that prevents the dog from walking past you. They are left with no choice but to follow which, at an early age, is very helpful for the owners to establish a leadership role.

All humans should take turns holding the leash. You should see no difference in the behavior of the dog when the leash is controlled by another member of the family.

You may also try letting your daughter walk in front of the entire pack and this will help her establish her position as a leader. This will benefit her when the pup grows into an adult.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

It's great that you're making Bailey's walks a family affair!

There's no reason why Bailey needs to walk behind anyone unless that's something that you really want to do. A well-behaved dog walks on a loose leash, without pulling, but the whole concept of being "alpha" by walking ahead of your dog is really a misconception.

No one needs to be in the lead, per se, but it will be easier to teach your pup not to pull if no one is ahead of the person holding the leash. Bailey would naturally try to catch up to whoever's in front and that would work against you. Keeping the group together or with the person holding the leash in front is going to be easiest as far as training goes. Lots of positive reinforcement for not pulling is going to work wonders, too, and stopping all forward movement any time the pup gets ahead will help Bailey realize that the only way to continue the walk is to stay with the people.

It's a good idea to have everyone participate in the training, as long as everyone does it the same way. Since you're walking as a family, you will probably be pretty consistent as a group (which benefits the pup considerably).

There are many ways to help establish leadership roles that just require patience and consistence. You can read up on this on my website ( - go to "pack hierarchy" for ideas on building leadership). Everyone in the household should use the same rules and boundaries, and once leadership is amicably obtained, some rules and boundaries can be relaxed (depending on the temperament of your particular dog).

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 06:27 PM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

My dogs have two positions when they are on leash - a heel and anywhere-else.

It doesn't matter how many people are walking with me - the dogs are either in a heel position or they are wandering around where they want (as long as the leash is loose). And if they are off at the end of the leash somewhere and I say HEEL - they come back to heel position.

I rarely make the dogs heel when we are out for walks. The whole purpose of the walk (for us) is to let the dogs explore. They get their exercise in the yard. Walks are for fun.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 09:42 AM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

I do what lauri does. We are walking on heel or they are exploring with a loose leash. When off leash we work on recall. We have 5 of us walking and 3 pups. We let the kids take the leash too, well not my 1yo son.
I do not follow the whole I am the leader so I have to be first.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-17-2008, 08:47 PM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

Here's my thoughts, let the dog enjoy the walk, in front, beside, behind where ever. Take turns holding the leash or not, remember he is a baby and he needs to explore and learn he is safe and the safety comes from you. You will have lots of time to train after he is social, happy and well adjusted. Too much forcing him to stay behind will give you a dog hiding behind you or fearful. But out front he gets to greet and see new things and people and you control him so when he is fearful, you stop, let him look then you approach and show him nothing bad happens when you are there.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-03-2008, 01:59 PM
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Re: Good walking with the whole "pack"

When loose leash walking, I don't feel it necessary for the dogs to keep in place behind. Its supposed to be enjoyable. As long as the dog isn't pulling me, he/she can be in front, beside or behind me...their choice.

And, I don't feel a family walk needs to be so structured either. Everybody can take turns walking the dog. If the dog just happens to walk better with one particular person...well, there you go.

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