K8's Gr8 K9s

fun for both ends of the leash

LET’S GO (walking side-by-side)

GOAL:            Our goal is for our dog to stay near us while we walk together.


WHY: It is annoying to walk with a pulling dog.  It is harder to get the attention of a dog that is ahead of us. 


Dogs pull because they can.   They think they’re the leader (the BIG DOG) by being in front.    This is not good.  You need to be the BIG DOG; you need to control the walk.  You have the bigger brain!  The MAIN IDEA HERE IS: WHEN THE DOG PULLS IT DOESN’T GET ANYWHERE.  It won’t take long for the dog to understand and stop pulling.



1.     Begin with no distractions.

2.     Have a treats handy (Put a bunch in your right hand but FEED YOUR DOG WITH THE LEFT).

3.     Use a 6-foot leather leash (leather won’t hurt your hands as nylon will).

4.    Use a collar appropriate to your dog’s size, age, and temperament (ask Kate for help with this choice if you wish).

5.     Put most of the leash in your right hand and grasp the leash close to the collar with your left hand.  Your left hand will be the control.  Try really hard not to wrap your hand up in the leash.  You need to be more mobile than that allows

6.    Most dogs respond with to a good combination of Method 1 and Method 2



In this exercise you will BAIT (coax) and pay your dog to walk at your left side.

1.   Say dog’s name and “LET’S GO”, “CLOSE”

2.   Use your left hand and waggle a treat near your dog’s nose.  Bring the treat near your left side (be sure your hand is actually touching your leg).  Allow the dog to have some, but not all of the treat.

3.   Keep your left hand on the leash near the dog’s collar for control, but try very hard not to nag or drag.

4.   Click and treat ONLY WHEN THE DOG IS BY YOUR SIDE! 

5.   Practice only a few steps at a time.

6.   After you have your dog nibble/walking at your side, begin to bring your hand up near your shoulder for one step.  Build SLOWLY to 5 steps.  Build SLOWLY to half a block, then a whole block.  Go back to baby steps when you add distractions.


It is unreasonable to ask your dog to walk at heel for an entire leisure walk.  Your dog would like to sniff, pee and enjoy his walk.  Method 2 is for that looser kind of walk.


1.   Say dog’s name and “LET’S GO”.

2.   If the dog is at your left side, praise and give a bit of the treat on your left side near your left leg. 

3.   The minute your dog pulls, stand utterly still holding the leash close to your body. 

4.   As soon as your dog ceases to pull, take a step ahead.  Don’t talk!

5.   The minute your dog pulls, stand still again.

6.   If your dog actually comes back to your side THROW A PARTY!  Let the dog know how pleased you are, give treats, chest rubs, toy throws.


Be quiet while doing this (except for the party part).  Let your dog figure this out without



Your dog goes ahead and waits for you to stop to bounce back:

So your dog has learned a new trick!  One we would have wished hadn’t been learned. 


Now you need to take a few steps while your dog is looking at you BEFORE you give the treat.  Increase this time until you the dog gives up being a YOYO.




PRACTICE:  Every time you go for a walk; the minute the dog pulls STOP!  If you truly do this EVERY SINGLE TIME your dog pulls you’ll only have to do it for a week or two.  If you allow your dog to pull successfully occasionally then you may very well be standing still for a very long time. 

REMEMBER:  Treat and praise when your dog is at your side.  BAIT your dog to your side!

The most important idea is: DO NOT LET YOUR DOG GET WHAT IT WANTS BY PULLING.  Letting the dog get ahead by pulling only trains it to pull.  The dog doesn’t get to pull you to a tree, car, or other dogs.  It is just not acceptable.