It’s one of the most common questions dog owners have: how to stop a dog from walking under your feet?
You know that at any moment, Rover might dart under your feet, causing you to trip and fall.
The potential for injury is great, and who wants to be responsible for hurting their precious pet?
Here are some solutions you can implement to nip this problem in the bud.
20 Ways To Stop Your Dog From Walking Under Your Feet
1. Reward good behaviour:
When your dog is walking beside you, praise and/or reward him with a treat.
2. Show him exactly where to go:
If your dog is repeatedly walking in front, try this exercise.
Stand still and say “heel” or “let’s go”, then gently pull on the leash so that the dog is forced to walk at your side.
Once he is at your side, release him and give a reward/praise.
If you do this exercise regularly, your dog will soon learn to associate the word “heel” or “let’s go” with walking at your side.
3. Use a walking harness:
If your dog is pulling on his leash he may be doing it for attention.
A walking harness can help lessen the pulling and makes it easier to control the dog.
Also, if you have a puppy that is not officially trained yet or just wants to explore the world around him, a harness can also help keep him out of trouble by giving you a better grip on him, so he doesn’t run into harm’s way and get hurt or run after something dangerous.
4. Give basic commands:
Teach him a few basic commands such as sit, stay, heel, and come.
Also, take him for a walk several times a week and practice these commands.
This will help get your dog used to the idea of walking on a leash and being in the outside world.
5. Place the dog on a leash or chain:
You can also teach your dog to walk at your side by making him place his body next to you while on a leash or chain.
If you come across another animal or person while walking your dog, he will stay at your side.
Leashes are great for when you go for walks or take your dog to the park and there are a lot of people around.
Choke chains and collars can also help make the walk more enjoyable by training the dog to walk next to you instead of in front.
6. Make sure he is under control:
If your dog is just a puppy, make sure he is completely under control at all times.
This means that even if there is something on the ground that he wants (like a piece of garbage), try not to let him get it.
When you are first starting out, keep an eye on him.
If you come across something that would interest him, take his leash and pull on it to tell him “no.”
If you see that your dog has been playing with something or chasing a ball or stick, immediately bring your dog to the side and prevent him from getting anything else by using a leash until he has calmed down.
If you find yourself constantly having to use the leash while walking your dog, try wearing your dog in a harness or running multiple leashes like a double leash and being sure to shorten them whenever your dog gets out of control.
7. Shorten the leash:
If you keep the length of your leash/choke chain long, it can cause more trouble than it is worth and make having your dog by your side more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Shortening the leash/choke chain will put a halt to any inappropriate behaviour.
For example, if your dog has been pulling on his leash or playing with something and it has made you very frustrated (for example, if he continues to play with an object and eventually takes it home with him) there is a simple trick that can help.
Just hold on to the end of the leash/choke chain that belongs to your dog for a few seconds before letting go.
Now consider what is happening. Each time your dog pulls on his leash/choke chain, you are doing the same, i.e. pulling on it.
If you are consistent with this and do it at every chance you get, your dog won’t have much of a problem with walking properly by your side because he will be more interested in what you are doing than what is happening around him at the moment.
8. Encourage the dog to walk beside you:
Like in school, you can also reward him when he does something good (i.e., walks beside you).
When he walks nicely by your side give a treat or encouragement for a job well done (i.e. “good boy!”). These will make him want to walk by your side more often.
9. Get Help:
If your dog isn’t listening to you, don’t get frustrated and try finding distractions to keep him occupied while walking beside you instead of in front of you.
If this doesn’t work, and he continually disobeyed, then find someone who can help with training or a professional trainer.
Even if the trainer will charge an arm and a leg for training, it is worth the money if your dog is behaving inappropriately on walks or really has no manners at all and requires serious attention.
10. Have the dog sit:
When your dog wants to go on a walk, it’s easy for him to get ahead of you if he decides he wants to play.
With the chance of him not walking nicely by your side, you may decide to force him to stay behind instead of letting him get out of control.
If you do this constantly, he will be scared away from wanting to go for walks with you in the first place and will be more likely to disobey when he did want to go for walks.
This method can work if your dog is pulling on his leash/choke chain or if he is chasing after something and gets out of control.
If you notice that he is out of control, try making him sit for a few seconds before moving him along.
If he refuses to sit or gets mad at you for trying to make him do this, find a distraction so that he can be occupied while you move along.
11. Walk at a slower pace:
When you are walking your dog, walk at a slower pace.
This will be less of a distraction for your dog and will make for a more enjoyable walk.
If you take this method seriously, it will help make your dog more interested in walking with you and your dog may learn to walk nicely by your side.
12. Be consistent and follow-through, they will get the idea soon enough! :
It can take some time for your dog to sink in what you are asking him to do, but he should get it soon (it took my dog only 3 tries before he stopped walking underfoot!).
If he doesn’t get it right away then try again every minute or so until he does!
13. Use a different type of collar during walks:
Many people think that trainers recommend using a choke collar for training purposes only, but this is simply not true.
There are several different types of collars (i.e. martingale collar, choke/nylon collar) and trainers use them for multiple different reasons during training sessions.
For instance, some dogs will try to pull on a leash or choke themselves and therefore need a collar that helps to teach them where they should be without being too harsh on their neck.
14. Use the leash as an incentive:
You can use a choke/nylon collar to give your dog an incentive to walk nicely by your side.
Simply attach the leash to it and have it in the open; this way, when he wants to play and get out of control, he will see the leash in his face so that he will not do it.
If you do this consistently enough, your dog will be more likely to follow the proper etiquette of behaving during walks by walking nicely beside you.
15. Teach your dog a certain cue word:
By teaching your dog a word (i.e., “stay”) that means he should stay put while you go about doing something else, you can make it easier to get him to walk nicely by your side.
This is especially useful if he is pulling on the leash or always does something as soon as you turn away from him.
16. Walk your dog in different areas:
Another technique that can be used with dogs is to walk them in places where they are less inclined to go out of control.
For example, if they are pulling on their leash because you got them excited at the park, try taking them for a walk in a park that is closer by.
You can also try taking him for walks in an area where there is lots of activity or where he usually sees other people so that it will be easier for him to act well behaved all the time.
17. Give your dog a time out:
When you notice that your dog has gone too far during a walk, try giving them a time out.
This is especially good for dogs that are young and disobedient, as they might not know what they have done wrong yet.
The time out will help them learn how to behave properly and avoid going out of control so that you can have more enjoyable walks.
18. Take your dog to obedience classes:
At obedience classes, you can use many different techniques (i.e., praise, treats, toys) in order to encourage the dog to walk properly by your side and not pull on his leash.
This will help him learn what not to do during walks and he will most likely enjoy walking beside you more because it feels good whenever he knows that he is doing the right thing each time.
19. Is your dog a puppy?
If so, then you may want to try the training steps above, but you need to be more patient.
You should expect a great deal of repetition (i.e. every time you tell him to stop walking underfoot he will probably ignore you).
However, these training steps should work eventually (again, it took my dog only three tries before he stopped walking underfoot!).
20. If your dog is a young adult:
….then continue with the steps – but he may not get the idea and you may have to backtrack a little.
There are many techniques that can be used to teach your dog how not to pull on his leash and walk nicely beside you.
While many of these methods are frequently used or recommended by trainers and people who own dogs professionally, they all have their own advantages and disadvantages.
It is important to remember that not all techniques will work for every dog, therefore you must find out what methods work best with yours.
You can also try out multiple techniques at once and see which ones help him walk best by your side.
With the right techniques and patience, you can teach any dog to walk nicely by your side in various situations.