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In this article (LINK) and other sources I read that the dog should NOT walk in front of you.

However since Sophie seems to not really enjoy going on walk with me I have been letting her lead (pace, direction) in hopes she would get more enjoyment out of it.

Is my idea flawed?
 

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The link you posted contains inaccurate information- I stopped reading after "If you allow your dog to walk in front of you while on a lead you are reinforcing in the dog's mind that the dog is alpha over you because the leader always goes first." The rest of the stuff about the dog becoming stressed by taking responsibility for leading the pack is just nonsense. Read over this sticky to see why it's wrong! http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/

If you're finding that she enjoys leading the way, setting the pace, and sniffing around, absolutely do let her do so! Making walks more fun is a fabulous idea. If you're worried about controlling her, you could work on keeping her responsive to pressure on the leash, so you know that she will respond at times when you do need to decide the pace/direction of the walk. Giving in to leash pressure.
 

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Early on I was mislead by the dominance thing, like many of us have.

Regardless, since day one, I've trained mine to walk next to me rather than in front. To me, this has multiple benefits, namely not having the dog dart back and forth, tangling the leash or getting between your feet.

To this day, I still have to reinforce the behavior of him walking next to me. He can stop and sniff and do whatever at his leisure, but he is discouraged from being further in front than his shoulders next to my legs.
 

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That article is full of misinformation, outdated crap, and just crap crap lol. Not only has the dominance/pack theory myth been proven false, but the dog's position during a walk has nothing to do with some sort of social hierarchy, or power over you, a human. There is quite literally no such thing as an "alpha" to a domestic dog, and 'dominance' is actually intra-species, not inter-species, meaning that a dog has absolutely no capability whatsoever to 'dominate' a human. Almost all of the behaviors that Cesar Millan and other uneducated handlers attribute to dominance, is nowhere near it. When a dog walks in front of a human, it's because a) It's self-reinforcing. Where do they want to go? Forward. What happens when they walk forward? They get to go forward, and sniff. b) We walk too slow, or too fast for them. Simple. c) A dog has no inherent capability of knowing why they shouldn't walk ahead of a human. Dogs live in the moment, and in the moment, they want to walk forward, and no one has taught them to walk more politely.

No dog automatically comes to someone's home knowing exactly what is expected of them, and that they are supposed to suppress their natural instinct to walk forward and explore their environment, and walk at a human's side. It's our job, if we deem it necessary, to teach the dog how to walk on a loose leash. Sometimes though, especially for fearful dogs like my little guy Reilly, it isn't necessary, as the dog does not drag you down the street, choke itself (which it won't anyways if you have it on a harness, which ALL dogs should walk on), and the dog needs more confidence. Dogs that need more confidence need to be allowed to walk ahead, explore, and relax. And really, any dog should be allowed to enjoy it's environment (at least at some point) while on a walk.

Teaching a dog to walk nicely on a loose leash and giving them breaks to sniff and explore their environment is the best way for both human and dog to enjoy walks. A dog has absolutely no clue what the walk means in terms of some sort of social status, so no, you are absolutely not wrong in your idea. :) Here is a thread on the subject, and if you'd like more links, I have plenty more than the ones in that thread. :)

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/dominance-dogs-4076/

You won't regret learning about this subject, as it will help you learn what to do and NOT to do to strengthen your bond with your dog. :)

ETA: Here's an article I had bookmarked that might interest you. I also (like most members here) have plenty more links to articles written by knowledgeable, reputable canine professionals (something Cesar Millan is NOT; he has no education whatsoever in the field of canine psychology, science, research, behavior or training. Literally.), which speak about why the types of articles you've been reading are promoting the most absolute wrong way to approach, handle and work with/train dogs.

When is it OK for Your Dog to Pull on Leash? | eileenanddogseileenanddogs
 

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That particular site is full of misinformation, specifically relating to dominance theory as applied to human-dog relationships.

I prefer for my dog to walk ahead of me - but not pulling - so that I can see what she's up to (e.g., trying to eat someone's flowers or pee in a nicely landscaped garden). The disadvantage is that she gets to all the special treats (dead mice anyone?) first, so I need to keep a sharp eye on the road ahead. :)
 

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@Timrf79 I usually use this comments on other forums as a warhammer, but in this case it maybe a valuable tool for analyzing an online article. The whole Alpha/Dom/pack thing is completely misunderstood and I don't support it at all but think about this everytime you read anything that contains Alpha, Dominant or rank in pack. "You supply the food, water, shelter and freedom (ignoring doggy door users) by default in the wolf world you would be Alpha, the only other challenge to Alpha you face is running me off your territory if I show up with a TBone :)
I do mean this comment in a jovial way, but it does pretty much sum it up :thumbsup:
 

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I personally prefer Frankie to walk slightly out in front. It means I can keep a better eye on him, because that dog is like a ninja when he sees something disgusting and wants to eat it (dead birds, poop etc). If he's in front, I can keep my eyes peeled for anything gross, but I can also notice if HE spots it - gives me enough time to avoid it or get in a "Leave it."
 

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As long as my dog isnt pulling on the leash and isnt 4 miles out in front if me then i have no problem with it. I think this alpha thing is... Ugh. Things have worked out well for me so far with that whole alpha mentality shuved in a dumpster somewhere.

I want my dogs to know i am safe, and if something is wrong or theyre scared ill be some hero of the day ;) so, i walk them on a 6 foot leash, usually only letting them infront of me about 4, just so if something were to happen (random dog, person or car) i can quickly get my dog away and where my dog needs to go. Thats really the whole purpose of keeping your dog close, so theyre easier to control. None of that alpha bs ahah


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I let charlie lead, he loves his walks, woke up at 3 am yesterday pawing at his leash. As long as his not pulling or trying to go some where iffy, like under a bush, we've good. He only really heels when he's tired, so I know its time to head home.
 
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