Is it a bad habit to let my dog lead on walks?

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Is it a bad habit to let my dog lead on walks?

This is a discussion on Is it a bad habit to let my dog lead on walks? within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; His previous owner let him offleash a lot or let him lead, not heeling. I keep him on leash when we are out. I want ...

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Old 01-12-2018, 04:52 PM
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Is it a bad habit to let my dog lead on walks?

His previous owner let him offleash a lot or let him lead, not heeling.

I keep him on leash when we are out. I want to find a place he is allowed off leash besides the dog park. That seemed too stimulating for both of us.

He likes to take the lead when we walk, and sniff everything. I can control him, like reigns in a horse. We don't have problems. But, i know peopke like their dogs to heel and stay with them. If I need him closer to me i grasp the leash closer to him to shorten it.

I don't know if I am doing something wrong.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:33 PM
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Talking ahead, behind, to one side - So long as they don't pull, i don't fret.

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originally posted by Lorib64


... I don't know if I am doing something wrong.

.

not in the least wrong - nor is he.

Dogs have 4 on the floor drive, mostly from the rear; they're excited to be out, generally moving a lot faster than the human handling the leash, who generally isn't excited, but who's toddling along wondering what the heck is so fascinating about a power-pole, or a shrub, or a stop-sign post, or a fire-hydrant?...
dogs LIVE for their noses, & scents are thrilling for them. Even non-hound types love to sniff & use their noses.

If U don't mind him ahead of U, fine - or parallel, or lagging slightly. It's all up to U, & what works for U & him.
If he walks ahead but doesn't pull, well & good! - loose-leash walking is a taught behavior, as "heel" is, & someone taught him.

I'd probly teach him a slightly more-formal "beside me" walk, but it wouldn't have to be a literal heel position - which is quite strict. I'd only teach a genuine heel if i meant to compete in something, or i needed tight control - say, if he was a therapy pet & we'd be moving thru crowded spaces, or if he traveled with me on public transit & i wanted him to stay JUST in that spot, so i could manage packages plus the dog's leash.

The only dog-walking habit that drives me nuts is the dog who *must* roam clear across the bike-path side to side, to explore scents, then lag, then come up on my other side, bringing the leash across behind me... the dog is either crossing directly in front of U, & liable to trip U, or crossing behind U, & fouling U in the leash.
I take that back! - there's another, even-worse habit: the nervous dog who jogs around U nonstop as U both move forward, like a sweating, jibbing horse, unable to contain themselves to a WALK, but trotting or pacing in circles as U walk along.
Their circling forces U to swap the leash from hand to hand & pass it behind yer own back, to avoid getting wound-up in it like a Maypole crisscrossed with ribbons.


I wouldn't be bothered at all by a dog who walked ahead of me to sniff, but who doesn't haul me along behind like a kite's tail, LOL. Especially if he's willing to be directed to turn, slow down, stop for a moment, & so on.
He sounds like a good dog.

- terry

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Old 01-12-2018, 05:46 PM
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He is a good dog. He does pull some. He wants to walk faster than I do.
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Old 01-12-2018, 06:15 PM
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Arrow I try to make walks "rewards for voiding at home" - then the dog's empty.

.

try to walk briskly, & look at a specific GOAL as U walk - dogs follow our gazes to determine where we're going & what our intentions are, so don't just dawdle along looking vaguely around -
pick a spot in the near distance as a visual goal, & when U get close to it, pick another, further along.

Of course, walking briskly assumes U don't have a cane, a limp, aren't 8-mos pregnant & 35# heavier than normal, or otherwise temporarily or permanently less-than-able. I don't know if U have any physical issues that slow U down, so if U do, please say so!
I'm speaking of the ideal situation, with an able-bodied human who's accompanying an able-bodied dog.

Anyway, back to the ideal scenario -
in between brisk point-to-point walks with intention, U STOP at places that look like good sniff-spots.
This is for the dog's benefit, so of course U know what spots he's been fascinated by, in the past - stop at his fave nose-riveting destinations. Give him a thrill. The whole point of the walk is his enrichment, right?
If it was just to pee or poop, U could do that by standing within 10-ft of yer door every time, every day, multiple times a day.

personally, i try to get the dog to void B4 we leave to walk - no pee?... & i mean the BLADDER-DRAINING 16 to 20-second urination, not "sprinkle & save a tankful for later".
If they don't drain the radiator, & then try to mark along the way, i just suddenly think of something urgent down the road every time he lifts his leg, LOL, & we're off! - he can hobble along on 3 legs, or get that 4th leg on the ground & move his bum.
Most dogs quickly learn to drain it rather than merely lower the liquid-level & reserve a tank for marking. // Plus, pooping B4 we depart means no carrying a bag of feces along, looking for a city trashcan to deposit it in. Win-win!


- terry

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Old 01-12-2018, 06:42 PM
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If you are ok with it and don't have any problems handling him, then I don't see any issue with it.

I am similar. I often let my dogs explore around me the length of the leash on hikes and walks in open areas when no one is nearby. In busier areas and/or when needing to pass someone, I have them walk close at my side.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:00 PM
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@leashedForLife how do you get a dog to pee on command? I let him out often, but he still wants to pee on walks. I try to keep moving until we get to a convenient space, like you mention.

At first he would not go in our yard at all.

I have no physical ailments.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:15 PM
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I teach my dogs a go pee command for when I'm in a hurry. When I first take them out and I know they have to go after overnight or a long time I say go pee. They do and I say good pee. If they don't pee after a few seconds we walk quickly to another tree or good pee spot that they've gone in before. I say go pee again. If they don't pee by the second or third time they lose their chance for a little while. We either get in the car and go to the dog park or do errands or go back in. Same with go poop. They always pee first.
They don't get to leisurely sniff and linger until basic bathroom needs are taken care of first.
You can use whatever words you want. The key is using the word you want them to learn and praising them so they learn the word and that it's good to do what you're asking.
My current dog will sit down if he doesn't have to pee or poop. Then I know he's telling me he doesn't have to go and to stop nagging him lol. He does lie sometimes though lol.
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Old 01-12-2018, 08:25 PM
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Walking the dog is a subjective thing for many. If you enjoy the time with your dog out walking then mission accomplished. If you encounter situations where you feel the situation would be more enjoyable if the dog was in a tighter heel position then train it appropriately. I've never felt that a dog in the heel slot at certain times is a negative.

I know you didn't ask me but training a dog to pee on command is pretty straight forward. You capture the behavior and devise a verbal cue to mark the event. You repeat the cue at the obvious times and when they pee, you enthusiastically say whatever your positive marker is, maybe "YES ! good Bob, good pee" or whatever but use the cue word with the marker and praise/reward. You associate the cue with the event and then start to say " Bob, you wanna take a pee", Bob is gonna tilt his head eventually and you respond in kind taking the dog to it's peeing spot(s). It's all about association and reward/praise when they perform on cue and consistent repetition when the moment is in your favor.
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Old 01-12-2018, 09:02 PM
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I'm with the crew who really doesn't care where the dog is, so long as they aren't wrapping me up, pulling like a freight train, or tripping me. I don't mind light "contact" on the leash, but hard pulling is a no-go. I really don't want them walking directly in front of me, or far/directly behind me (I can tell much more about their intentions if I can see them ), but anywhere from 1-4 on the right, and 8-11 on the left is good. I have minimal tolerance for cris-crossing and wrapping around me or anything else, that will earn a dog a short leash faster than anything else. Both the dogs I currently walk (1 mine, 1 my parents') are big markers, and would both stop every 50 feet to mark, so we keep a pretty businesslike pace and I keep them toward the middle of the road where they aren't tempted to try to stop.

I do have cues that either allow the dog (mine, anyway, my parents' dog has minimal training) freedom ("go ahead", "free" gesture with hand) to pull/range out/stop and sniff/whatever. Also, a multitude of cues to gain further control if I want him closer ("here" or "heel", wave in), or slower ("wait", usually no hand gesture because he's ahead), or more attentive ("name" or "heel", point at face). He also takes cues from the environment- he stays pretty close to "heel" on his own in public, but if we are at the park or something where he's expecting to be let off leash and do his own thing, he's more apt to show excitement by weaving (thankfully on one side or the other), pulling, etc. He gets out a lot, so he thinks he has a pretty good grasp of the way things work
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Old 01-12-2018, 11:50 PM
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We are working on sitting on walks. He is fine at home, but gets distracted when we are out. I want him to sit while we wait to cross streets.
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