While training a dog last week here in sunny Miami Florida we got asked probably one of the most popular questions our clients like to ask us when we begin teaching heal work and leash skills… “Do I have to walk my dog on the left?” or “Aren’t we supposed to walk our dogs on the left side?”
The answer is. No! You can walk your dog on whatever side you want to! There is no rule that says you have to walk your dog to the left. This is something that is totally based on owner preference and comfort. Then why do we always hear all this dog on the left business anyway?
Historically dogs were not kept as pets, but instead as hunting and or protection companions. The dogs went with us while we worked, and because most people are right handed it was only natural that we’d want our dog opposite our weapon. I’m sure over time it just became common practice to maintain our dogs at the left, which makes sense for most of us since most of us are right handed, gun or no gun. But this is not a hard and fast rule. You can walk your dog however you want while keeping a few rules in mind:
- Do not allow your dog to walk ahead of you if you want to keep his focus on you
- Do not allow your dog to overcut or undercut you while walking
- Reward all good eye contact from your dog. If he looks up while walking at your side praise him!
- When you’re walking, WALK. This is not time for your dog to explore. If you want him to explore you can pull over and allow him to go sniff around
- Always make sure you have the best tool to walk your dog. We recommend the Gentle Leader or Sensation Harness.
If you need help learning how to walk your dog in Miami, Florida we’d be happy to help you!