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I'm just curious about this, as I found a Dog Whisperer book in the library and read it. Having the dog's default behaviour to be walking behind or beside the handler seemed to be an essential part of the method.

As I've rarely seen any but old dogs, tired dogs, lame dogs or dogs under command (ie. heeling) walk in a rear/beside position, I'm curious and asking about training or handling methods that would cause a dog to default to the rear position.

So I'm not asking where does your dog walk when you say heel. I'm asking where does your dog walk when you're out for a romp off-leash, or when, on leash but not under command (just walking).

On leash, Dynamo walks ahead or beside me. Sometimes she slows up into a heel (hoping to earn a treat) but mostly ahead.
Off leash, she roams in all positions (within sight as allowed) but mostly ahead, checking out great smells or crittering (when allowed). That said, my preference is to have my dog walk ahead or parallel to me as I can see what she's up to, and 'read' her as I go along. When she is behind, I always have to look back to see what she is up to, and she's realized I don't have eyes in the back of my head, and will use the opportunity to eat horse poop or do other illicit things. Obviously, Dynamo is occasionally using the rear position to avoid my authority and other times positioning herself according to what is most interesting at the time.

What is your preference, and why? If your dog defaults to the rear position (and is healthy) what training method did you employ to achieve this. (as most dogs I've seen walk ahead, I'm assuming healthy dogs naturally prefer being ahead when humans are moving at a walking pace (and that's up for debate too!))
 

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It's a given that dogs naturally walk ahead of us, simply because they have a different pace. It's very unnatural for a dog to walk at the pace we do.
When we go for a walk on leash the dogs are walking a bit ahead, on the way back they usually walk beside me or even behind since they're tired and familar with all the smells around. I also don't like when they are behind and rather prefer them ahead so I see what they're up to.
If they're off leash they're ahead, but no further then up to 20-30feet and usually wait until I catch up, but they're also occasionally behind if they're sniffing around. So if they're off leash you can say they're basically going back and forth (and doing double the mileage I do
). Overall I prefer walking with the dogs off leash since thats more natural to them.

What dog whispering book are you talking about? Milan or Owen?
 

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My dogs walk ahead of me. For a while after reading Cesar's book I tried to force them to walk behind me but we were all miserable.
 

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I don't ever want my dogs behind me. When they do that, they are always stopping to sniff and I can't see what's going on.

Kenya has various positions and commands based on what we are doing at the time. If I give no command, that means she can walk on my left or out front but NOT pulling, no zig-zagging, no stopping to sniff and jerking me. Basically your average loose leash walking. If I ask for "heel", that means I want a formal heel - right at my left, looking at my face, responding to my changes of direction and pace without any commands or correction on the leash. If I say "Ok get out!" that is her release and reward for good heeling and means she can go ahead of me, sniff around, and not pay very close attention. At no time is she allowed to pull, zig-zag, circle me, etc. It's either loose-leash walking, formal heel, or walking with good manners out front.

Walks do not give Kenya sufficient exercise so I use them for training. I usually start with a formal heel for the first mile, then let her go out front or sniff around as the reward for a 1/2 mile, then another formal heel for a 1/2 mile, then release her again and do loose-leash walking for the last mile. She is on a 4' leash during our walks. For real exercise we play fetch, do agility, and let the dogs play off lead.

My preference in general is having both dogs on my left, not more than a foot or two ahead of me. This is how they are when I walk both at once (Kenya right next to me, Coke on the outside). I do not like having any dog behind me and I'm fine with them in front as long as there is NO pulling and they will do a "heel" when I ask for it.
 

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Originally Posted By: LiesjeI I'm fine with them in front as long as there is NO pulling and they will do a "heel" when I ask for it.
Agree.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was reading Cesar Milan's book, but forgot his name when I posted...oops. He seemed really big on the concept of walking behind, and I've heard this dominance theory elsewhere, so I just had to ask.
I thought maybe there were some people who actually do this. Thanks, Emoore, for telling us you tried it and it made you all miserable. I was wondering about that. It's always interesting to hear from someone with firsthand experience.
 

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on leash my boy is right beside me. we're starting to work off leash. when off leash i want him to hold a heel position/command. when in the woods he has freedom. if he's behind me i turn to keep an eye on him or call him to me. when other dogs, joggers, horses, bikers approach he stays to my right. he's starting to stay to the right on his own. he doesn't approach whom ever or whatever is coming our way. the other day he was walking on an angle, going straight but angling off to the left. all of a sudden this jogger was passing. Loki was clearly in his path. the jogger just reached out with his right hand and put it on Loki's shoulder and said, "watch it boy". Loki just looked up and the jogger kept going. as the jogger was in passing he gave us a thumbs up. when in the woods i give him lots of freedom as long as he doesn't approach people, dogs, etc. he's learning and so am i.
 

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On leash, there are 2 sets of "rules" (aside from heel). The dogs are expected to walk beside me unless they're in "sniff mode" (which I designate by the command "go on"). Even in sniff mode, pulling isn't allowed.

Off leash, I only do that in fenced areas and they go everywhere.

Originally Posted By: MaedchenIt's a given that dogs naturally walk ahead of us, simply because they have a different pace. It's very unnatural for a dog to walk at the pace we do.
I see this a lot... But if the dog is on leash, he's not walking any faster than the person. Even if he's 10 feet ahead, he's walking at the same pace, just in front of the person. So, I don't really understand this argument...
 

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Depends on the circumstance.

On lead, we have 2 sets of rules. Formal heel used in training/trial and also on occasion when we're in a really crowded area out in public. And informal walk, where the dog more or less stays at our side but is free to get a bit behind, stop and sniff, get a bit ahead, etc... The only rules are no pulling and no tangling the leash around us.

Then when we walk off lead (though usually with ecollars as a safety net) in the woods or fields, the rules are different. They can pretty much do whatever they please when we go for off leash walks like that, and they're usually ahead of us, bounding around and sniffing animal trails. Of course they still need to pay attention to where we are and what we're doing and respond to commands to stop and wait, or come back to us, or come closer because they're getting too far. Though generally they tend not to get more than 20-30' away, on their own accord. Once they reach that distance they'll usually stop and wait for us to catch up without being told to do so.
 

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I am having a problem with my GSD pulling me. How do you stop this? I was told when walking her that is she goes pulling on me to stop her and make her set for awhile. That doesn't seem to help. I am taking her and my family to the trainer tomorrow for some help, but I find these threads really helpful. So I have been reading a lot on her. I wanted to thank everyone on here for their help. You guys do a wonderful job.
 

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I just make a sharp turn and go the other way. I've never needed more than that. But I was using a pinch collar also.

My dogs walk ahead of me, and I call them to my side when we pass someone on the street. In the woods their on the long line, and never go more than 20 ahead of me. Chae will always stop and wait for me.
 

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on leash my pup walks in front mostly. sometimes to my side or behind..however he gets tangled up in my feet a lot when he does that so I dont mind him in front.(he doesnt really pull)

Out in the woods with no leash he runs ahead waits for me...and yea when hes tired he's right by my feet.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaedchenHis "dominance therory" is just that- his opinion. Not based on any valid observed dog/wolf ethology.
YOU are so correct. If the dogs are obedient and will heel when commanded there shouldn't be any issue with them up front
 

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I did have one dog who often wanted to walk behind me when off leash. Altho he would go out ahead to play with his companion or explore when off leash, he would often fall into position behind me. He had a very strong herding instinct and I always put it down to that. Him herding me along the trail! On leash he walked where I wanted him to, he had the best heel of any dog I have ever had. My current boy always wants to be out front, bless his heart!
 

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Heh. Benedict's the opposite: in front on the way home, behind or to my side on the way out.
He's young, so his apprehension is understood. I'm careful to not let him pull, and he seems to know right now it's uncomfortable to try.
 

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I agree it depends on the situation. When we are "working" it is a good "fuss" withhis fore-legs next to my legs and watching me.

When we are just relaxed walking she stays on leash but can go where she wants as long as she isn't pulling and yankig.

IF she pulls and yanks, we go into "working mode" and I require a formal fuss for awhile - then give her the "free dog"so she can do her own thing.

When we are out romping and playing in the wilderness- she is free to run and roam and go anywhere as long as she stays within about 50 ft or so. That said - my parents have 2200 acres and a small lake on their property so I tend to let her roam pretty freely as long as she stays in sight and responds to my whistle.
 

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Dwayne walks just a tiny bit in front of me...and I mean a tiny bit because if his hind legs get in front of me we trip each other up.

It's funny to see that neither one of us can walk a straight line but together we keep each other straight.

Since Dwayne was raised to be a guide dog sniffing on walks have never been allowed so he's find just walking.

Now when we go on the trails, that's a different story but I also use a much longer leash. I'm not a fan of people walking their dogs on the sidewalk with a long leash.
 
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